"When you see the ark of the covenant of the Lord your God…you are to move out from your positions and follow it. Then you will know which way to go, since you have never been this way before."
- Joshua 3:3-4 NIV
If you have been walking with the Lord for any length of time, then you probably already know how He likes to call upon His followers to accomplish things that are “over our heads” in our estimation. Often, as soon as we get comfortable doing the works He’s assigned us to do, He presents us with a new assignment that challenges us even further. This happened to me recently when the Lord began speaking to my heart about a new project that He wanted me to begin working on. Not only was it something that I had never done before, but I wasn’t even sure I knew where or how to begin. As I turned to the Lord in prayer with my misgivings, He led me to a passage in the Book of Joshua which encouraged me, and helped alleviate my fears. “When you see the ark of the covenant of the Lord your God…you are to move out from your positions and follow it. Then you will know which way to go, since you have never been this way before.” (Joshua 3:3-4 NIV)
“When you see the ark of the covenant of the Lord your God…” Here, the Lord was speaking to me about my focus. If I was going to overcome the fears and misgivings attached to doing something so new and challenging, then I was going to have to keep my eyes on Him. I thought of Hebrews 12:2 (TLB), which says “Keep your eyes on Jesus,” as well as the Amplified translation which says, “Looking away from all that will distract”. When we set our mind to follow the Lord’s will, and especially to accomplish something that will impact the lives of others in His name, the dark forces are going to do everything in their power to distract us and get us off course. But if we determine to stay focused on the Lord and His will for us, nothing and no one can keep us from the success and rewards He has in store for us.
“You are to move out from your positions and follow it.” This was God’s way of telling me that even if I was feeling fearful, I should still move forward, trusting Him to lead me. Jesus said, "My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me." (John 10:27 NKJV) The Lord is always there, ready to offer us His guidance and help every moment of every day. When He assigns us a task, He doesn’t say, “Here’s your assignment. Get started, and just do the best you can.” No, He comes alongside of us, and wants to be with us every step of the way, with words of wisdom and encouragement, and with all the strength and power we need to succeed for His glory. And for those times when we fear that we aren’t hearing clearly from Him, we can choose to believe that God is true to His Word and declare, “Thank You, Lord, that I always hear and follow Your voice!”
“Then you will know which way to go, since you have never been this way before.” God assured me that as I kept my eyes on Him, and as I determined to follow His lead, I would know which way to go, even though I was traveling through new territory. The Lord’s promise to us is: "I will lead the blind by ways they have not known, along unfamiliar paths I will guide them; I will turn the darkness into light before them and make the rough places smooth. These are the things I will do; I will not forsake them." (Isaiah 42:16 NIV) You and I don’t have to be afraid when the Lord leads us “along unfamiliar paths”—not when we have the presence and power of a mighty and merciful God. He longs to use you in new and exciting ways for His glory. Will you answer His call?
Prayer: Lord, help me to never shrink back from any of the new assignments You have for me. Teach me how to keep my focus on You, and to follow Your lead with Christlike confidence. Thank You that as I travel along unfamiliar paths with You, I will have everything I need to succeed!
- J. M. Farro