“You have not been this way before”

Men have been learning to navigate forever. At first navigation was only necessary for those hunter gatherer types as they ventured further and further away from their families and their folds. As relationships grew more complex and began to challenge our circumstances; navigation became necessary as we learned to navigate life as well.

Technology would soon add another element of this learning as men would eventually tame the seas, while aiming for the skies. Of course navigation is only relevant to the one who wishes to travel unchartered territory. For those who desire to chart their own course and walk in paths that we have not walked before…it is for us that navigation becomes critical.

Knowing how to navigate is essential to mitigating fears of the unknown…that primal fear of being lost and disoriented. Most of us have an intimate knowledge of this fear; we learned it as a toddler the moment we allowed that toy in the local dept. store to distract our attention long enough for our parents to abandon us one aisle over. That fear that rushes over us is indescribable as it fills every fiber of our being.

That same fear still strikes at the heart of men even now. We might have been foolish enough to have thought we could outgrow these fears, experience however has taught us otherwise. Given the same analogy of a child lost in the toy aisle and overcome by fear, we are reminded in parenthood that there in the next aisle over is a father who has just realized his child is no longer beside him…while the child is overcome, the father is in panic as his heart is gripped by fear.

Life offers up some very simple truths, perhaps the most common among them is the variable…the unknown. What will tomorrow bring? Will it bring hope or despair, joy or sorrow. The unknown hour has morphed into a monster…it is the thing that haunts us in our dreams. In order to navigate this unknown thing we orchestrate every event in our lives, micro-managing every detail in order that we might evade and escape this monster.

With so many unknowns that faced the children of Israel, there was one simple truth that was to be enjoyed by them all. If they would simply follow their God, things would always work out for their good. In Joshua Chapter three the children of Israel were about to embark on a journey that would take them down an unknown path. Joshua having been elevated after the death of Moses gave these instructions:

 “When you see the ark of the covenant of the Lord your God, and the Levitical priests carrying it, you are to move out from your positions and follow it. Then you will know which way to go, since you have never been this way before”

What are we to conclude from such statement? The Ark which was to symbolize the very presence of God was to be followed at all times, for they had not been that way before. Thereby we are to follow that same example as so often we are charting a course that we have not been before.

The second truth is that while the Ark was to symbolize the presence of God-there were those Levites who carried it; the Priests of God. These were the men tasked with great purpose; men whom God entrusted himself to; they were men who carried the truth. should they falter in understanding, or give ear to other voices they ran the risk of leading the whole flock astray…in this there is grave consequence.

We are a holy priesthood navigating a holy path of righteousness that others may look upon our lives and know that we are following the only one who knows the way. Jesus said as much himself when he said “I am the way, the truth, and the life and no one comes to the father but by me.”

Perhaps you have found yourself in unfamiliar territory, and maybe it is that your heart is gripped by fear. The simple solution is to look for the presence of God and follow it, the path may seem unclear or even a little dangerous at times but rest assured that you are safer here than anywhere.

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