13 principals that help us succeed
By Teresa A. LeNeave
I don’t know about you, but I’d like to cross life on dry ground without a lot of problems. Trouble is it just doesn’t happen that way for most of us. We are living in an uncertain and “at risk” world. We would all like assurance that the outcome of our decisions be desirable. In Joshua, we find a nation in the same predicament. Moses had just died and the nation of Israel was feeling uncertain and “at risk” about going into a place they’d never been. They had a raging river to cross before they could possess the land God had promised them. Would they swim and risk losing possessions and many people or would God let them cross on dry ground? Joshua got the people together and gave them 13 principals that would assure the outcome would be desirable. The same 13 principals work thousands of years later for us as well.
In Joshua chapter 3, Joshua tells the story of the nation of Israel on the edge of change. Joshua rose up early; moved the camp of over 600,000 people close to the water and then, “lodged there” before they passed over in one big group. What was before them was monumental and they would need rest and unity.
Principal #1: Be rested. Stress of the unknown can deplete your strength. To make decisions that end up desirable, be rested and trust God. Don’t make important decision when you’re exhausted.
Principal #2: Have clear communication with all involved. After resting for three days “the officers went through the camp” so the people would know exactly what was expected of them and what was about to happen. All the people had a clear understanding of what they were about to do.
Principal #3: Timing is important.Move at the right time. If they got ahead of the ark, they’d never cross the river on dry ground. Moving at the right time takes patience and trusting God.
Principal #4” No rushing ahead. Joshua told them to leave a specific space between the Ark of the Covenant and each tribe, “So you will know the way because you’ve never passed this way before”. They couldn’t rush, push or get in a big hurry if they wanted to follow the right path. They would be moving a group 16-miles wide. Order was mandatory for success.
Principal #5: Expect something good. Joshua told them to sanctify themselves and to expect a miracle. “Tomorrow,” he said, “the Lord will do wonders among you.” Expect God to do wonders.
Principal #6: Follow an orderly plan. Joshua warned against being haphazard. He told the priest to “take up the ark; and they took it up”. They had a plan to follow and they followed it.
Principal #7: Rest in God’s power. “This day,” God told Joshua, “I will begin to magnify you so the people will know I am with you.”
Principal #8: Stand. He told the priest to “stand still” in the Jordan. Sometimes we have to stand in the face of discomfort, but God had a plan and he has a plan for you too. Don’t give yourself room to doubt.
Principal #9: Assemble together. Joshua thought it was necessary that the people assemble together TO HEAR THE WORDS OF THE LORD. Having a close church family is beneficial in keeping depression, doubt and temptation away.
Principal #10: Believe God delivers. Joshua said, “God is about to show you that he is with you and he will drive out your enemies.”
Principal #11: You need a visual. The Bible is the best visual one can have. The visual for the Israelites was the Ark of the Covenant. For us, it is His Word; the sword of the Spirit.
Principal #12: Take responsibility. Care about the outcome. Joshua knew the people would be more inclined to follow if they took some responsibility for the outcome. He chose one man for each of the twelve tribes and the man they chose would lead their tribe forward. Participation helps us own the event.
Principal #13: Place your faith in God’s promises. The water was standing in one heap, but would it recede while they were crossing? It may take days to march 600,000 people across. Looking at that heap of water, I can imagine it took faith to walk across that river bed on dry ground. I wonder if they were a little fearful that the invisible dam might break. But, as promised, God held back the water until the last one was safely on the opposite side of the river.
In all situations, hold to God’s promises and he’ll take you safely to the other side.