For the priests which bare the ark stood in the midst of Jordan, until everything was finished that the LORD commanded Joshua to speak unto the people, according to all that Moses commanded Joshua: and the people hasted and passed over. – Joshua 4:10
The LORD instructed Joshua to lead the Hebrews across the Jordan River, which always flooded its banks during the rainy season. The river was a large and wide and deep river. Seemingly there was no way across this deep river, but the LORD had the priests carrying the Ark of the Covenant march into the middle of the water and stand there. When they did, He miraculously stopped the flow of the water upstream, as He had done in parting the Red Sea. The priests stood there in the middle of the river holding the Ark until everyone had passed. Once everyone was across, then and only then did those priests proceed out of the river bed and onto the other side.
The task of carrying and holding the Ark on their shoulders until nearly 2-3 million people crossed the Jordan River was no doubt a strenuous task! Could you imagine holding a heavy wooden box covered in gold and filled with rocks until that many people passed through before you could pass over? To get a small sample of the strain on their bodies holding up something for that length of time, try this – hold one book of average size in each hand with your arms stretched out. See how long you can hold that position with a minute amount of weight. Then remember what the priests had to do on the eventful day!
Often times, we exaggerate and even over exaggerate the simplest of work that God gives us to do. We think that leading a small group or being an usher or serving in the nursery or other tasks are such a strain!! Bah! The One who carried the biggest burden was Jesus!!!! He had to carry your sins and mine and that of the entire world upon Himself to that death stake called the cross. He didn’t want to drink the cup if it were possible, yet He said, O my Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me: nevertheless not as I will, but as thou wilt (Matt. 26:39). Do you notice how Jesus, as human, didn’t want to have to go through the agony; however, He stayed the course and did not stop until the job was done.
Can you imagine what would have happened if those priests carrying the Ark had stepped out of the riverbed or even just set one leg of the Ark down on the ground because one of them became tired. The entire nation of Israel might have been swept downstream and drowned because of the disobedience of just one person. Remember that there were only four (4), that’s right – 4! – priests holding that Ark up off the ground on the staves on their shoulders until the entire nation passed over. Then and only then did they get to cross over.
What would happen in your church or local assembly if everyone pulled his or her weight in the church and used the gifts God has given them for the betterment of the entire local body and in concert with the church body universal???? Massive works for God could be accomplished! Now look on the other side, what if one person fails to do the work God gives that one to do? Is it possible that a hole in the wall might occur that could lead to a massive breach in the entire structure? Fortunately in this age of Grace, we have the Holy Spirit empowering us to the work to which we are called. However, we still have our duty to be obedient to the LORD and do the work to which we are called. How many people are making it across the Jordan into the Promised Land because you are shouldering your duties? Or, are people drowning in the river because you gave up?
Father, I pray to You in the wonderful, mighty name of Your blessed Son, Jesus. Help me to see the vast importance of never giving up or ever quitting on an assignment from You. The consequence of doing so is just too great! There are lives at stake and hang in the balance of all that we, the believers, do for You in advancing the kingdom of God by being Jesus’ witnesses to this dying world. We all have a responsibility to You first and to our neighbor second to shoulder our share of the load and not stop till the job is complete. Then we may enter into the Promised Land and enter into Your rest! Amen!