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Go After the Ark “Then Joshua rose early in the morning; and they set out from Acacia Grove and came to the Jordan, he and all the children of Israel, and lodged there before they crossed over.”  Joshua 3:1 Now was the time. The word spoken 40 years earlier to a people chosen of God to enter the promised land was spoken again, this time to a generation whose ears were ready to receive and whose faith was activated to move forward.  “Moses my servant is dead. Now therefore arise, go over this Jordan, you and all this people, to a land which I am giving them…(Josh. 1:2)”   God never forgets His word, but He waits to speak it again until we able to hear it.  Wandering in the Egyptian wilderness worked a faith-filled desperation in a generation that could not remain in that barren place.  The last place Moses set up camp as they wandered was the launching pad for the people, led by Joshua, into a land of hope, purpose, and promise.  Acacia Grove was this place of transition This grove was not a beautifully lined cluster of ornately set trees and fruit blossoms, but by the definition, was a place deemed uninviting.  Acacia Grove means a place of thorns, points, and spines.  From this place of harsh abrasiveness, painful piercing, and difficulty they set out.     Jesus spoke to the crowd a parable about the seed and the soil in Mark 4.  The thorns in that story choked the seed to unfruitfulness.  The thorns, the cares and deceitfulness of the world, abound increasingly in our time.  The thorns grow quickly. They fiercely grip at us with direct and unrelenting entitlement.  “...come out from among them and be separate … (2 Cor. 6:17).” To those consecrated to God, the worlds pulls have no effect.    On the cross, the crown of thorns was placed on Jesus’ head as onlookers mocked.  Was not the journey Joshua and the nation of Israel walked in the natural, like the journey our Lord travelled to obtain for us the promised land as overcomers here and beyond? For three days the children of Israel waited in the Grove. On the third day, Jesus arose in the Spirit.  We, at Jordan’s shore, are beginning to walk forward into the fullness, into the prophetic third day.  In all cases, there were and are “ites” to overcome.  Jordan means descending, to get low.  “Humble yourselves before the Lord and He will lift you up (Jam. 4:10).”   There was an order, a process for proceeding in Joshua 3:  Vs. 3 - When they saw the ark, they set out from ‘their place’ and went after it.  Vs.4 - They remained at a distance so they could watch the direction, because they had not passed this way before.  Vs. 5 -  They set themselves apart, for among them the Lord was about to do wonders. Vs.6 - The leaders crossed over before the people. The Ark, the symbol of God’s presence, now also symbolized God’s leadership to be followed. Vs. 7 - The Lord told Joshua that this day He would exalt him the sight of Israel.  Vs. 17 -  The Ark of the Lord stood firm on dry ground in the midst of the Jordan and all crossed over completely Joshua, a Hebrew name meaning Yahweh saves (salvation) in Greek is “Jesus.”   We are entering the day when the Lord Himself will be exalted and He is about to do great wonders through “His body.”   From a thorny place,  to a place of consecrated death of self, to a resurrection of displaying His glory, we as the children of Israel, and of the Lord Himself, are crossing over.  And He is faithful to lead !       In Him,                                                                                                Pastor Sharon Carlson