“You have never been … this way before.”

I was once speaking with someone on a remote trail, leading to a remote mountain. They were nervous about the steep and slippery terrain ahead.

Recognizing that they were not inexperienced in the backcountry, I encouraged them to keep going. While the trail was unknown to them, it was not unknown to me; and I knew that they had been through much worse trail conditions than they would meet ahead.

They continued on … by the word of a stranger.

Joshua 3:3-5 is a beautiful source of comfort as we face uncertainty in life:

“And they commanded the people, saying, “When you see the ark of the covenant of the Lord your God, and the priests, the Levites, bearing it, then you shall set out from your place and go after it. Yet there shall be a space between you and it, about two thousand cubits by measure. Do not come near it, that you may know the way by which you must go, for you have not passed this way before.” And Joshua said to the people “Sanctify yourselves, for tomorrow the Lord will do wonders among you.”

“For you have not passed this way before,” and because of that you need a bit of perspective. The Ark and the priests will be out in front, just as they had been for 40 years in the wilderness, give space, pay attention, and follow the presence of God attentively.

At this point, what’s ahead is unknown; but Joshua and the elders of Israel are reminding a worried people that the same Lord who has led them, will do so again tomorrow; the same Lord who has done wonders among them, will do so again tomorrow. They need only “sanctify” themself, or commit themselves to His leading.

With the uncertainty of tomorrow ever before us, we need to remember how the Lord led us in our yesterday’s, even to this moment.

In Numbers 23:19 we read, “God is not a man, that He should lie, Nor a son of man, that He should repent. Has He said, and will He not do? Or has He spoken, and will He not make it good?” (cf. Heb. 13:8; II Cor. 1:20).

Everything I teach can easily be traced back to this verse. God will not lie. He will not change. He said it. He will do it. And, blessed be His name, all of the promises of His Word, radiating out from eternity to the present, are guaranteed in His Son.

Messiah Yeshua/Jesus commanded those following Him: “Don’t worry about it,” a paraphrase obviously, and He did so by directing us to the faithfulness of the Father (Matt. 6:25-34). He was urging us to continue on, even over the rough, uncertain terrain – even in the distress of life.

We continue on … by the word of the Savior. O praise His name!

The question will then become: Are you sure we haven’t been this way before? It seems familiar, very familiar.

The closer you are drawn to the Lord, by His grace, the more the uncertain, and unfamiliar, will feel familiar. Not because we have been “this way before,” but rather, the Lord who is ever with us, is leading us through the uncertain, as He always has, and will.

Be well. Shalom.

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