Wednesday - September 7, 2016
Woodlawn Family Bible Study
BIBLE READING: Joshua 3
Their eye witness accounts had become legendary. To someone who had not been there, it must have sounded a bit exaggerated or embellished. I am sure that everyone knew the story of the Israelites had crossing the Red Sea, but there were few that had actually witnessed it. Lo and behold, they find themselves in a very similar situation. A large body of water stands between them and their promised destination. Could it be that God was about to do it again? As the nation of Israel listened intently to their new leader announce that in three days we are going to cross that river, I am sure there had to be a few butterflies in their stomachs. How do you prepare for an event like that? What kind of things must be done to ensure you are ready for God to do something incredible like that? Of course there was some packing up that was involved, but their new leader gave them another task to ensure they were ready. Then Joshua said to the people, "Consecrate yourselves, for tomorrow the LORD will do wonders among you" (Joshua 3:5).
What does that even mean? It isn’t a word that we use very often in our everyday language, in fact the only time we typically see it is when we are reading the Bible. The word “consecrate” means to “sanctify or be holy.” It also entailed a washing to make sure that you were clean and “set apart.” The word came from some other cultures, such as Phoenicia and Ethiopia. Maybe the most interesting comes from some Old Babylonian text where “to consecrate” meant “to shine” (Vine’s). One can’t help but think of the words of Jesus in the Sermon on the Mount "You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden. Nor do people light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a stand, and it gives light to all in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven” (Matthew 5:14-16). In Joshua 3, the Israelites were able to experience something amazing as they crossed the Jordan on dry land.
What if I told you that the words of Joshua to the nation of Israel had just as much meaning for us today as they did back then? Jesus said that if we let our lights “shine” we can see God do wonders among us, “…In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven” (Matthew 5:15-16). Let’s all let our lights shine and just watch and see what God can do!
Application: Discuss how we can let our lights shine in our everyday lives.