Three Translations of Joshua 3:5
Joshua told the people, “Consecrate yourselves, for tomorrow the LORD will do amazing things among you.”, NIV
Then Joshua told the people, “Purify yourselves, for tomorrow the Lord will do great wonders among you.”, NLT
Joshua told the people, ” Make yourselves acceptable to worship the LORD, because he is going to do some amazing things for us.”, CEV
The three translations of the same verse in Joshua each contributes a thought that adds to the whole. Very often we need to make a comparison like this to speed our understanding. There is a common theme of spiritual preparation. Also anticipated is a direct intervention by God Himself.
Joshua is charged with not only the physical, but spiritual condition of the people. He has sensed that God is going to amaze everyone, and He is on the verge of taking this mass of people through the river and into the Promised Land. This will be the fulfillment of an awesome covenant promise.
Joshua has taken the initiative. He declares the need of the people to prepare. They are about to be led by God. He builds anticipation for the grand things imminently approaching. But the Israelites have got to prepare. They must get ready. Effort needs to be made.
We have a strong tendency to see God’s promises apart from our efforts to prepare for them. We think God saves us by grace. But a faith that doesn’t work, cannot save.
“We are not made righteous by doing righteous deeds; but when we have been made righteous we do righteous deeds.” –Martin Luther
We cohabit with a Holy God who is like a strange roommate insists on sharing everything. (Everything He does, in some way He does for us.) “He picks up the tab” for everything! Joshua, on the other hand, has 12 hours to get Israel ready. The people must adjust. He declares that everyone make themselves decent, to cleanse themselves from sin and give themselves to God. Israel must do some things to get ready.
We must not enervate our faith to turn it into some religious jello— a blob with no backbone. Our faith must work, and sweat. If it doesn’t, we are in trouble. I’m thrilled to be saved by grace through faith. It is a precious marvel to me. But I must remember that the grace that saves is a grace that works. I don’t want my faith to be jello faith. I want it to be a living faith.
“As in the candle I know there is both light and heat, but put out the candle, and they are both gone.” Unknown