Then the priests who bore the ark of the covenant of the Lord stood firm on dry ground in the midst of the Jordan; and all Israel crossed over on dry ground, until all the people had crossed completely over the Jordan. – Joshua 3:17
The LORD told Joshua it was time to lead the people over the Jordan River into the Promised Land. They were to prepare themselves to cross over and enter the land. Joshua instructed the priests, who carried the Ark of the Covenant, to enter the river and stand there until all Israel had passed over. According to the LORD, the riverbed would be completely dry ground during the crossing. Once all of the people crossed over, the priests were then permitted to come out of the river.
The priests, who had to carry the Ark, manually supported the Ark on their shoulders whenever the Ark was moved. They were not allowed to use anything but the holy, gilded staves that ran through the hoops external to the Ark. When the LORD ordered the priests to carry the Ark across the Jordan River and stand in the middle of the riverbed, they had to endure the weight of the Ark until all Israel had crossed over into Canaan. They stood there like statues supporting the Ark and feeling the burn in their shoulders, arms, backs, and the rest of their bodies while millions of people passed by and crossed the river. Can you imagine the strain they felt???
What has the LORD asked of us to do? We, who are the children and chosen of the LORD, are destined to do a given work within the kingdom of the LORD. Are you a teacher, giver, encourager, server, clergy, food worker, driver, or whatever position the LORD has assigned? Do you do it to the best of your ability and through the grace of Jesus? How taxing is the work you’re assigned? Do you feel it? Do you bear it? Does it take all you have within you? What are your limits? What are your results?
The priests endured agonizing hours of strain and pain supporting the Ark while Israel marched across the river. Let us not complain about the little things we are called to do in this age of comfort and ease. We cannot even begin to imagine the strength and encouragement those priests needed to succeed. There were a finite set of men who could carry out that mission. Anyone else who attempted to do so would have died. There were unauthorized! You have been given a specific mission that only you can complete, no one else. Therefore, let us get to the task at hand fulfill the mission that the LORD has given us and do so without complaint but express joy instead!
Father, Forgive me for not carrying out my duties to the fullest and creating excuses along the way. The priests who carried the ark were not allowed to complain or faced death. That was harsh, but it was necessary for them to worship and serve in your presence. I have grace, but it’s not an excuse for laziness and inefficiency. Help me to do what you’ve called me to do and do it without regret or complaint. It should be a joy to serve you in any and all capacities. Give me the grace to do so. I thank you. In Jesus’ name, Amen.