Follow the Presence of the Lord

One morning as I was sitting with Jesus, He brought to mind a passage in Joshua 3. I love the book of Joshua and find myself in it often. After Moses died, Joshua found himself taking on an incredible mantle—He was to lead the people of Israel into the land God had promised them.

The Israelites spent centuries enslaved in Egypt, and then the Lord performed miracle after miracle through Moses willing hands to free the people from Pharaoh’s grasp. They had seen Him do so much on their behalf, yet in their grumbling, complaining, and forgetfulness, they spent 40 years wandering around the desert before they could enter their promised land.

When Joshua steps in as leader after Moses’ death, the Lord tells Him to get the people ready to cross the Jordan River, because He is about to lead them into the land He promised. Joshua 3:1-4a says it like this…

“Early in the morning Joshua and all the Israelites set out from Shittim and went to the Jordan, where they camped before crossing over. After three days the officers went throughout the camp, giving orders to the people: ‘When you see the ark of the covenant of the LORD your God, and the Levitical priests carrying it, 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.’”

Back in the days of the Old Testament, before Jesus ever lived and walked among us, the ark of the covenant is where the presence of God would dwell. Sacred and holy, this ark was carried with the people wherever they went, and as they made their way toward the promised land, the presence of God was their lead! As the officers went throughout the camp, they literally called to the people to “follow the presence of God, then you will know which way to go, since you have never been this way before.”

We don’t always know where we’re going. This year, I think we’ve found ourselves in that place more times than we counted on. But the Father knows. He’s always known, and if we will just follow His presence, we’ll know too!

Life in Thailand is filled with twists and turns, and not just because this is the year 2020 and twists and turns seem like part of the territory. But it’s simply life on the foreign mission field. There’s so much we don’t know, no matter how many years we have under our belt. We’re constantly learning—new languages, new customs, new foods, new ways of doing things. Sometimes the simplest tasks feel like the most difficult, yet if I can lean on others to help me understand their culture, even where to find the shop that used to be in one spot but now moved down the street—the task becomes that much easier!

How true that is for each of us walking through this life. The Father has given us this time here on earth, to be a part of seeing His Kingdom come here and now! And no one knows better how that is accomplished than Him!

“From one man He made all the nations, that they should inhabit the whole earth; and He marked out their appointed times in history and the boundaries of their lands. God did this so that they would seek Him and perhaps reach out for Him and find Him, though He is not far from any one of us.” —Acts 17:26-27

He knew we would be here now—for such a time as this! It’s no surprise to Him. And while things in this world haven’t made a lot of sense to us, His call to us, His hope for us remains the same. Lean in close to Me. Reach out and find Me. Follow My presence, then you will know which way you should go, because you’ve never been this way before!

May we be people who learn to lean a little more, reach a little higher, and follow a little closer where the presence of the Lord is going—because He knows where we’re going, and we’ve never been this way before!

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