“And Joshua said unto the people, Sanctify yourselves: for to morrow the LORD will do wonders among you.” (Joshua 3:5)
Did you know that there are said to have been “Seven Wonders of the Ancient World”? They were: The Great Pyramid of Giza (in Egypt), the Hanging Gardens of Babylon (in Iraq), the Temple of Artemis (in Turkey), the Statue of Zeus at Olympia (in Greece), the Mausoleum of Maussollos (in Turkey), Colossus of Rhodes (in Greece), and the Lighthouse of Alexandria (in Egypt). The only one of these wonders that has not yet been destroyed (by earthquakes or fires) is the Great Pyramid in Egypt. If you wanted to see one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World, you would have to go all the way to the continent of Africa!
There are also Seven Wonders of the Natural World, and Seven Wonders of the Modern World. Human beings like to make lists of unique, amazing things around them. All of these “wonders” are called “wonders” because they are unusual and hard to believe. It is difficult for us to imagine the amount of work and planning that must have gone into making a monument as large and long-standing as the Great Pyramid of Giza. To stand in front of it, or to reach out and touch it with our hands – this structure that was built over 2000 years before Christ was born! That would be something very special. We would probably look up in wonder and awe at the Great Pyramid.
When the LORD explained to Joshua how He was planning to bring the children of Israel over the Jordan River and how He planned to help them conquer the wicked people living on the land there, Joshua understood that the LORD was going to fight for them and do great miracles for them. He was right. God was preparing to do great wonders on behalf of this group of people. They were not a large nation (in comparison to the nations they were fighting, their armies were small). They were not trained soldiers. And there were many things they could not do on their own – like crossing rushing rivers without drowning or losing all their belongings.
God told Joshua to lead the people across the Jordan River, and He told him how to do it. The evening before the crossing, Joshua got up in front of all the people. He told them they needed to sanctify themselves (consecrate, purify, prepare themselves spiritually), because the LORD was going to do great wonders for them!
How would you have felt if you were an Israelite the next day? What if you waited in a crowd and watched the priests set their feet in the river’s current? What if you were able to see the waters start to pile up into a giant heap? What would it have felt like to walk across the riverbed on dry ground while God Himself – the same God Who created the universe and you yourself – held back the entire river? Surely you would agree with your leader Joshua: The LORD was doing wonders for you.
One reason the Old Testament tells us stories like this one is to remind us that the God Who created the world, and the God of the Israelites, and the God of all the prophets and poets and kings – He is the same God we have today. The God of the Bible is a wonder-working God. His wonders are more numerous and more marvelous than anything ever thought of or created by mankind. What a good and great Creator-Redeemer we have!
The God of the Bible is a wonder-working God.
» Do I believe the stories I read in the Bible about God’s greatness and goodness?
» Do I prepare myself spiritually when I am praying for the LORD to do great works?
» How can I magnify the goodness and greatness of my God in front of other people?