The place 'Acacia Grove' (also called 'Shittim' in Hebrew) simply means 'a group of Acacia trees'. But what is the significance of 'Acacia trees' here? These trees are known to have sharp, scourging thorns. In fact, the word 'Shittim' comes from this word 'shotet' in Hebrew, which means 'to scourge, to flog, to cause suffering, to beat severely'.
So here was Joshua, and on that day, he (and all the children of Israel) set out from Acacia Grove ('Shittim') and came to the Jordan, and lodged there before crossing over to the land promised to them - the land flowing with milk and honey. By the way, the word 'Jordan' is derived from this word 'yarad' in Hebrew, meaning 'to overcome, to subdue'.
People of God, have you been 'taking a beating' or 'going through a time of scourging (or suffering)' in life recently? It may be in your health, finance, career, or even ministry. But the good news is no matter how 'difficult' it has been for you, linger in it no longer, because this is a time the Lord is giving you a new authority and anointing to overcome and subdue! In fact, the Lord even gave these words during a time of prayer recently: "Tell My people this is a time to cross over from 'beating' to 'breakthrough'!" Believe for it (in any area of your life), and receive by faith!
Let's continue with Joshua chapter 3 now. Joshua 3:3 says, '...When you see the ark of the covenant of the Lord your God, and the priests, the Levites, bearing it, then you shall set out from your place and go after it'. 'The ark of the covenant' here speaks of 'Jesus Himself, who is the very presence of God'. Notice the command for the people of God at that time was to 'go after it'! Indeed, this is a time to go after Jesus who is your righteousness and sanctification (1 Corinthians 1:30), and let Him lead you into a new realm of breakthrough and victory in your life!
The Lord spoke further, and I duly released these words to the congregation last Sunday:
"This is a time to sanctify yourselves, as I prepare you to cross over into the realm of breakthrough and victory! Just as Joshua was told to do so before he crossed over the Jordan into the Promised Land!"
In Joshua 3:5, Joshua said to the people, "Sanctify yourselves, for tomorrow the Lord will do wonders among you." The word 'sanctify' here is 'qadash' in Hebrew, and it means 'to be clean, to be cleansed, to be consecrated, to be set apart (for God's work in your life), to be holy'.
"Holiness is the work of the Holy Spirit!" These words dropped on my mind spontaneously the other day. Many people have a mistaken idea that holiness is the work of human beings, and that what we need is to have a program or method to achieve holiness and perfection on earth. But the truth is this 'task' (of 'sanctification') is beyond our own power or self-effort! What we need is the power of the Holy Spirit!
Here in the Scripture, one can see that 'sanctification' comes before a breakthrough, victory, or even an increase. In Joshua 3:7, the Lord said this to him, "This day I will begin to exalt you (i.e. 'increase you', or 'make you great') in the sight of all Israel, that they may know as I was with Moses, so I will be with you." Let Scripture interpret Scripture now. In 2 Timothy 2:20-21, the apostle Paul wrote, 'But in a great house there are not only vessels of gold and silver, but also of wood and clay, some for honor and some for dishonor. Therefore if anyone cleanses himself from the latter, he will be a vessel of honor, sanctified and useful for the Master, prepared for every good work'.
Holy Spirit is all-knowing, and He will also show you the potential pitfalls in your life, the unique weaknesses in your life, and the specific changes that you need to make in your life (or lifestyle). Let Him begin to teach you and prompt you this day. Different people are different. So, let's not compare with one another. What it takes is your yieldedness to the Holy Spirit and His work in your life.
Take youthful lusts as an example. This has been one of the main 'killers' of ministry through the centuries. So, how do you deal with it? The apostle Paul did write about it to tackle this issue. In fact, he taught his spiritual son Timothy to never have confidence in his own flesh, and the way to fight youthful lusts is to flee! (i.e. to run away from it, or to avoid it at all costs). In other words, you trust the Holy Spirit, but never your own flesh! In 2 Timothy 2:22, the apostle Paul wrote, 'Flee also youthful lusts; but pursue righteousness, faith, love, peace with those who call on the Lord out of a pure heart'. Notice this verse comes right after 2 Timothy 2:20-21 that I mentioned above, and was written in the context of being 'a vessel of honor, sanctified and useful for the Master, prepared for every good work'!
This message of holiness may not be the most popular topic to write, but it's necessary and important if you want to see radical breakthroughs in your life! (just as in Joshua's time) Why? Because sin hurts! Because sin destroys! (not just your life, but your loved ones will suffer too!) Because sin blocks God's blessings from free-flowing in you and through you!
Therefore, people of God, let the fire of the Holy Spirit fall upon you and cleanse you this day! The Holy Spirit is the HOLY Spirit! Receive this impartation of the fire of God's holiness in your life right now! Not by might, nor by power (of men), but by the Spirit of the Lord! And you too will begin to 'cross over' into a new realm of breakthrough and victory in life! In Jesus' name. Amen!