“Sanctify” means “separate yourself.” Get rid of the things that are extra, added weight. Get rid of the things that are not the image of Christ. Let go of attitudes that don’t fit Kingdom thinking. Elders, deacons, bishops and presbyters won’t be able to help you on this one because none of us have been this way before. (Cf. Josh 10:14 and there was no day like that before it or after it.) I heard a speaker say, “The Lord of life leaves enough mystery to be intrusive, disruptive and surprising in order that He might shatter our tendencies to predictability; and yes even boredom. Saints die of many things but to die of boredom is an insult to the God of an ever-expanding glory.” Though some of us desperately long for the routine of our lives to be radically changed, long for the condition of our nation to be totally changed, we are disturbed and consequently resistant when confronted with the acts of God’s power which are required to change them. (According to Jesus, Lazarus had to be in the tomb for four days for the purposes of God before he could be resurrected. Jn.11:4-7) In order for God to radically change the present state of our lives, we must allow Him to forcefully break in upon us. (Nahum 1:3) “…the Lord hath His way in the whirlwind”. That means that we will not escape the Whirlwind.
We may very well need to separate ourselves in anticipation of what we do not see in this moment so that we might see it in the next. We will need to separate ourselves from what we have not seen in the past year. In order to see what we need to see in the next moment (or the next year) we must separate ourselves from the distractions, interferences and disqualifiers of the present. Joshua’s instruction for the people to “separate themselves apart from” could include separating from such practical and mundane things as (1.) cynicism (2.) unbelief (3.) opinions of others (4.) from past disappointments (5.) from past events that never culminated in the desired outcome and (6.) from people who never followed through with influence or promises. Joshua’s words that seem to really stand out in 3:5 are, “Consecrate yourselves for tomorrow.” Anticipation is not an emotion but a matter of wise adjustments and preparation.
We can allow our anticipation for the future to be destructively fueled or to become toxic by various and sundry reports or we can separate ourselves from embracing and/or practicing superficial and culturally accepted norms. Josh.3:5 — “Then Joshua said to the people, “Consecrate yourselves, FOR tomorrow the LORD will do wonders among you.” We could, just as well, use here the word “sanctify”. It basically means “to set apart from”. That “setting apart from” is not so much an attempt to keep us from becoming “soiled” by someone or some thing, it is that we are being set apart for a purpose so that we can walk that purpose out without being tripped up or unnecessarily loaded down.
Let us commit ourselves to more efficient demonstration of the Kingdom this year. More Kingdom demonstration will require less debate. More fathers being fathers will require fewer jail cells. More exemplary lifestyle will require less correction. More redemptive action will require fewer words.
”Thus I shall magnify Myself and demonstrate My greatness and sanctify Myself, and I will be recognized and will make Myself known in the sight of many nations; they will know [without any doubt] that I am the Lord.” (Eze.38:23, Amp)
The guy hurried from the garage to the kitchen brushing past his wife who was just coming out of the laundry room. Grabbing her dishpan, he headed back out to the garage without so much as a howdy do. “Where do you think you are going with my new dishpan?”, the wife demanded. Obviously on a mission, the husband yelled over his shoulder, “To change the oil in my pickup!” Even more vehemently and quickly headed in his direction, she yelled back, “Not with my good dishpan, you’re not!” at which point he demanded to know why not. She firmly replied, “Because that pan is sanctified! It is sanctified for dishwashing and nothing else!” In Josh.3:5, Joshua’s instruction to the people of Israel was “Sanctify yourselves, for tomorrow the LORD will do wonders among you.” He well might have been instructing them to separate themselves from things like cynicism, unbelief, opinions of others, past disappointment or from anger. Anger and disappointment are anticipation busters. Joshua did not suggest the Israelites find a knock-em-down prayer line to get in. He instructed that they sanctify themselves. Sometimes we fail to sanctify ourselves today and end up wondering why we don’t get to experience God’s wonders tomorrow.
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