After that entire generation had passed away, God gave their children another chance to possess that same land. In the Old Testament book of Joshua, the new generation passed over the Jordan River and into the land of promise. This last great miracle, wherein God dried up the Jordan for them to pass over on dry ground and reminiscent of what He had done when their forbears came up out of Egypt at the Red Sea, no doubt bolstered their faith.
But it also terrified their enemies, who had not only heard of Israel’s God, but had now also witnessed His power firsthand. The logical thing for Israel to have done, therefore, would have been to attack the city of Jericho right after this crossing – to have struck while the proverbial iron was hot. And yet, that is not what God told them to do.
Rather, He had them hold up or two and a half weeks at a little place called Gilgal and spend some time alone with Him. Here, according to the Book of Joshua, chapters 4-5, they were consecrated to Him. Here, they were circumcised. Here, they kept the Passover. Here, for the first time in forty years, they ate produce instead of Manna. Here, they met the enigmatic “Commander of the Lord’s Army”, who gave instructions on just how to defeat Jericho.
And there you have it! Yes, the wisdom of the world is to launch out and immediately jump on the task at hand. But the wisdom of God is to stop, spend time alone with Him, and then and only then, to proceed. How does this apply to our lives? Simply put, how do you start your day? How does each bold new venture unfold for you? Should it not be in prayer and consecration to God? And if not, how can you or I as believers ever expect to have full and victorious lives?
I thought I would share a little poem in closing. First written back in 1960, I Didn't Have Time To Pray by Grace L. Naessens is now considered a classic in the poetry of spirituality.
I got up early one morning
And rushed right into the day!
I had so much to accomplish
That I didn't have time to pray.
Problems just tumbled about me,
And heavier came each task.
"Why doesn't God help me?" I wondered.
He answered, "You didn't ask!"
I tried to come into God's presence;
I used all my keys at the lock.
God gently and lovingly chided,
"Why, child, you didn't knock!"
I wanted to see joy and beauty,
But the day toiled on, gray and bleak.
I wondered why God didn't show me.
He said, "But you didn't seek!"
I woke up early this morning,
And paused before entering the day.
I had so much to accomplish
That I had to take time to pray!
Source: http://coachdelmonte.com/2014/07/21/the-difference-prayer-makes/. Often titled The Difference, Ms. Naessens’ poem is available widely on the internet and has also been included in numerous published works as well. See, for instance…
Ronald Rolheiser, The Sacred Fire (New York: Crown Publishing, 2014), Chapter Six.
As well as...
Roger C. Edwards, The Little Things and Such: Motivational Poems You Know and Love (Ft. Myers, Florida: Edvardson (sic) Publishing, 2014), p. 44.