"When ye see the ark of the covenant of the Lord your God and the priests and the Levites bearing it, then ye shall remove from your place and go after it. Yet there shall be a space between you and it...come not near unto it that ye may know the way by which ye must go, for ye have not passed this way before." (Joshua 3:3-4)
It was a new era for the Israelites. They were about to cross Jordan after years of wandering in the wilderness.
It was new territory, they had not come this way before. There were thousands of them and no doubt there were many mixed emotions - fear, excitement, anticipation. But there was a clear instruction - don't be distracted by your emotions, don't be taken up with the people around you and what they are feeling or saying - keep your eyes on the Ark.
The Ark foreshadows Christ Himself . Inside it there were three things - the Law (the Ten Commandments), speaking of the holiness of God; the manna, speaking of the bread of life ; Aaron's rod, speaking of the miracle working power of God. And on top of the Ark there was the mercy seat - the place where we are accepted by God. All of it points to Jesus, and our salvation. The Israelites were told, 'Keep you eyes on the Ark and you will find the way through '.
Just after this, the Ark was taken down into the river Jordan - read the rest of chapter 3. The waters parted and they crossed over.
The crossing of Jordan is often seen as a picture of crossing over from this life into eternity, and the one who opens the way and gives a safe passage is Christ. Keep your eyes on the Ark and a safe passage is assured.
But while we are still in this life difficulties face us, difficulties we have not faced before and the answer is the same - keep your eyes on The Ark - on Christ Himself - and there will be a way through. He is very near, very accessible in these troubled times.
If you seek him, you will find him if you search for him with all your heart. (Paraphrase of Jeremiah 29:13)
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Struthers Memorial Church is a registered Scottish Charity No. SC 006960 | Struthers Memorial Church is a company limited by guarantee incorporated in Scotland Company No SC335480 | Registered Office: 33 West Stewart Street, Greenock, PA15 1SH.