Ready for Amazing Things?

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The excitement builds. The moment has arrived when the Israelites will cross the Jordan River and enter the land that God had promised their ancestor, Abraham, so many years earlier. Strict orders were given. The tribes were to follow the ark, carried by the priests. Only by following the ark would they know where to go (Joshua 3:4). That in itself is heavy with meaning. The ark carried the Word of the Lord to His people—the Ten Commandments.

But it is the next statement, so easily passed over, that grabbed my attention this morning. Joshua 3:5 says: “Joshua told the people, ‘Consecrate yourselves, for tomorrow the Lord will do amazing things among you.’” The King James Version of the Scriptures uses the word “sanctify” in place of “consecrate.” The nation was to set apart, to dedicate, to treat as holy, to honour, to treat as sacred, both themselves and the occasion. They were to prepare themselves for God’s blessing.

Back in the early days of their journey, the children of Israel had found themselves at the foot of Mount Sinai. Here the Lord had descended on the mountaintop to speak to Moses and to deliver the Ten Commandments. In preparation for that momentous occasion, the people were given specific instructions about consecrating or sanctifying themselves. Exodus 19 describes what they were to do. The ritual involved washing their clothes, abstaining from sexual relations and not touching the mountain itself. In other words they were to be physically clean and mentally and emotionally without distractions. They were to be totally focused on what God was doing and treat what was happening with respect.

It seems like such a small thing.

But then I wonder how many God-things, how many amazing things I miss, or that God chooses not to do, because I am not prepared for them. I think of how ill-prepared I am on a Sunday morning. We design our pre-services and services to be user-friendly but don’t design them for preparedness to see God do amazing things. We are distracted from watching out for God while we are watching out for everyone and everything else.

How did we move so far away? Our intentions are good, but are the results really what we want?

When Israel did what she was told and prepared herself to follow God’s Word, to sanctify or consecrate herself corporately and individually in preparation for the movement of God, she witnessed the beginning of a series of miracles that started with the parting of the waters of the Jordan River—something that a past generation had seen at the borders of the Red Sea (Exodus 14) but that most of the current generation had not experienced.

I pray that God will revive His church, but do I come prepared for Him to do that—an experience that would be as amazing as the parting of the water in both Exodus and Joshua? Am I ready and praying for people to spontaneously beat a path to the front of the church seeking forgiveness? Am I looking for that burdened someone to whom God would lead me if I wasn’t thinking of what I needed to do next or who I needed to talk to before they left the building?

I confess that I am not ready for God to do amazing things. Will He do them anyway? Perhaps He will, and maybe He won’t. If He does, I may just miss them because I’m too preoccupied with other “stuff.” If He doesn’t, I may not even notice that He isn’t working because I am!

Consecrate yourselves, for tomorrow the Lord will do amazing things among you.” It’s such a little phrase, but there is nothing little about its significance.

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