“Consecrate Yourself” is a phrase you don’t hear every day. (In fact, you may have lived your entire life without even considering it!) Archie Bunker often said, “Stifle yourself, Edith!”, but he never said, “Consecrate Yourself, Edith!”
Have you ever consecrated yourself? How would you do that? Just what, exactly, does that mean?
“Joshua told the people, “Consecrate yourselves, for tomorrow the Lord will do amazing things among you.” (Joshua 3:5, NIV)
As the Israelites prepared to take the Promised Land, they were operating for the first time without their leader Moses, who had brought them out of Egypt, led them through the wilderness, and given them the law. He had challenged them to obey the Lord, and yet they (who had seen amazing things!) were not always consecrated, even though it was apparently pretty important to Joshua. I’m sure they asked themselves, “I wonder what he meant by that?”
The word consecrate means “to make sacred, to dedicate to a higher purpose.” The Israelites had failed to do that, and in fact they failed so egregiously that they had to wander in the wilderness for years and years. (You may remember the whole “golden calf idol worship” thing that vividly illustrated how un-dedicated they were. Even though they were going to the Promised Land, they were still far short of their goal.
Now they stood on the banks of the Jordan River, ready to start the campaign that would ultimately create a home for these wanderers, these skeptics, these idol-worshippers, these former slaves… Moses had brought the people out of Egypt; now Joshua told them they still needed to bring Egypt out of the people!
“Consecrate yourselves”! He challenged them to separate themselves to God, to assume His holiness and character, and to be devoted to His purpose. If they consecrated themselves, Joshua said, they would see the Lord do amazing things among them on the following day.
What can we glean from this one simple, challenging verse? First of all, good leadership is visionary. It looks ahead to the future and sees amazing things. Second, leadership recognizes that in order for us to experience “amazing things”, we need to be dedicated, and we need to make sure that nothing else keeps us from being part of God’s work. What competes with God for your time and attention? What is it that prevents you from being consecrated? I bet if you followed the same advice Joshua gave the Israelites, you would start seeing “amazing things”!
Think about being dedicated to the Lord above all things: Put your name in the blank: Consecrate yourself, ____________, for the Lord will do amazing things around you!” What amazing things would you like to see? What victories await? What giants will you slay? Consecrate yourself today. Get results tomorrow!
Joshua Said It, But Maybe it Applies to US
If the Lord commands, obey it. Don’t you wait, don’t hesitate,
Don’t obfuscate, prevaricate, don’t act on it a little late,
Or wait for it to resonate, and don’t you dare procrastinate.
Don’t meditate or vegetate, or even try to delegate:
If God tells you to consecrate, then consecrate, and calibrate
Your life so you can dedicate what once was unregenerate.
Just consecrate your heart to the King of Kings,
And you will see Him do amazing things.
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