That You May Know

Scripture Focus: Joshua 3:3-4, 7, 9-13
“When you see the ark of the covenant of the Lord your God, and the Levitical priests carrying it, you are to move out from your positions and follow it. Then you will know which way to go, since you have never been this way before. But keep a distance of about two thousand cubits between you and the ark; do not go near it.”

And the Lord said to Joshua, “Today I will begin to exalt you in the eyes of all Israel, so they may know that I am with you as I was with Moses. 

Joshua said to the Israelites, “Come here and listen to the words of the Lord your God. This is how you will know that the living God is among you and that he will certainly drive out before you the Canaanites, Hittites, Hivites, Perizzites, Girgashites, Amorites and Jebusites. See, the ark of the covenant of the Lord of all the earth will go into the Jordan ahead of you. Now then, choose twelve men from the tribes of Israel, one from each tribe. And as soon as the priests who carry the ark of the Lord—the Lord of all the earth—set foot in the Jordan, its waters flowing downstream will be cut off and stand up in a heap.”

Student Writers Month:
This month, The Park Forum welcomes college and seminary student writers pursuing ministry careers. For more info about our yearly Student Writer program, see our website.

Reflection: That You May Know
By Karen Chen Kallberg

My children were once afraid of our bathroom. Even though we live in a small bungalow and assure them that the bathroom is perfectly safe, the only reassurance they want is for a parent to go with them. 

In Joshua 3, we encounter a fledgling nation also in need of reassurance. This was the generation that grew up on manna and followed a pillar of cloud through the wilderness. Everything, however, had changed. Moses had died. The pillar was gone. The manna was also about to stop. Which way should they go? Was Joshua ready to lead? How should they launch this military campaign? 

The Lord anticipated their questions with reassurances of His own.

First, in lieu of the pillar, he sent the ark of the covenant to lead the way. The ark represented God’s presence. It had always traveled in the center of his people. Now, however, he sent the ark to the front to provide direction for his people. “Then you will know which way to go…” (Joshua 3:4)

Second, how could anyone replace Moses? Joshua saw what God did through Moses in Egypt and the wilderness. Would God work through him in the same way? The Lord gave his new leader this reassurance: “Today I will begin to exalt you in the eyes of all Israel, so that they may know that I am with you as I was with Moses.” (Joshua 3:7)

Third, the Israelites were nomads, not seasoned warriors. It seemed that they needed better weapons, training, and strategies. God said all they needed was him. He would defeat their enemies. “This is how you will know that the living God is among you and that he will certainly drive out before you the Canaanites…” (Joshua 3:9)

In every dilemma, we want reassurance of success. God’s reassurances, however, are actually revelations. Don’t know where to go? He will show you. Don’t know what to do? He will help you. Don’t know how to do it? He will do it for you. God is the answer to all our questions. He reveals himself to us in our dilemmas, because he wants us to know him. That is why, in answer to the dilemma of sin and death, the Creator and Sustainer of life wrapped himself in human flesh and became an infant…so that we might know him and find life.

Divine Hours Prayer: The Greeting
Save us, O Lord our God, and gather us from among the nations, that we may give thanks to your holy Name and glory in your praise. — Psalm 106.47

– Divine Hours prayers from The Divine Hours: Prayers for Springtime by Phyllis Tickle

Today’s Readings
Joshua 3 (Listen – 2:45)
Psalm 126-128 (Listen – 1:58)

Read more about Readers’ Choice 2021
It is time for us to hear from you about the posts from the past eleven months (September 2020 through July 2021) that have challenged and comforted you and helped you find new meaning in the scriptures.

Read more about Presence is Precious
Practicing the presence of God means living as a tabernacle of the Holy Spirit, making everywhere you set your feet holy ground.

Over Jordan

Joshua 3.17
The priests who carried the ark of the covenant of the Lord stopped in the middle of the Jordan and stood on dry ground, while all Israel passed by until the whole nation had completed the crossing on dry ground.

Psalm 126.2-3
Our mouths were filled with laughter,
    our tongues with songs of joy.
Then it was said among the nations,
    “The Lord has done great things for them.”
The Lord has done great things for us,
    and we are filled with joy.

Reflection: Over Jordan
By John Tillman

Crossing the Jordan has been a spiritual metaphor for centuries, but it took special meaning for slaves in the American south. It symbolized an escape from slavery, shelter in place of homelessness, and fruitfulness in place of a barren desert.

In the story of Israel’s failure to enter due to fear, and their return in faith after wandering for 40 years, the Jordan symbolizes a place at which faith and courage are required. 

In the story of the transition from Moses to Joshua, from Elijah to Elisha, and from John the Baptist to Jesus, the Jordan symbolizes a change in leadership.

And of course, the Jordan represents entering the promised land, with Canaan standing in as the eternal land we are destined for in Heaven.

On one side of the river is the desert, the unforgiving land, the land of trials, the land of sin, the land of rebellion, the land of suffering.

On the other side of the river is the land that is promised, the land of blessing, the land of freedom, the land of rest, the land of satisfaction and plenty.

The Jordan also represents the final crossing of death—both a time of judgment and a time of cleansing. For Christians, the waters of the crossing hold no terror. We do not enter them alone. Someone else marches in with us. His nail-pierced feet touch the waters and they pile up, inviting us to cross without muddying our clothes.

We cross the Jordan not with priests carrying the Ark of the Covenant, but with Christ, our High Priest. When we cross over the Jordan with Christ, the land has no enemies to be defeated. It has no cities to march around and no battles to be fought. For, there too, Christ has gone before us, preparing a place for us. It is there that we will be fed by the tree that grows in the river that comes from the throne of God. It is there that we will take from that tree healing for the nations.

Our home is over Jordan.” “Deep River” — Marian Anderson

It is over Jordan that our tears will be wiped away.

Prayer: The Morning Psalm
On the holy mountain stands the city he has founded; the Lord loves the gates of Zion more than the dwellings of Jacob.
Glorious things are spoken of you, O City of our God. — Psalm 87.1-2

– From The Divine Hours: Prayers for Summertime by Phyllis Tickle.

Today’s Readings
Joshua 3 (Listen – 2:45) 
Psalm 126-128 (Listen – 1:58)

Readers’ Choice Submissions
It is once again time for us to seek out the voices of our readers and hear from you about posts from the past eleven months that have challenged and comforted you and helped you find new meaning in the scriptures.

Readers’ Choice posts will be republished during the month of August and periodically throughout the Fall.

Follow the link to fill out the form. Feel free to fill out the form multiple times for multiple submissions. Please limit your submissions to posts published this calendar year, between September of 2018 and today.

For any questions about The Park Forum, or to make suggestions of posts via email, contact John Tillman at

Thank You!
Thank you to our donors who support our readers by making it possible to continue The Park Forum devotionals. This year, The Park Forum audiences opened 200,000 free, and ad-free, devotional content. Follow this link to join our donors with a one-time or a monthly gift. 

Read more about Christ: Temple, River, and City
Christ is our river, flowing as the Holy Spirit into our lives, into our cities, into our dead, dry, and poisoned environments.

Read more about The Staggering Dead and the Glory of God
One day, as Lazarus and our dear Christ, himself, our grave clothes will be untied (or “set aside” lyō in Greek). We will leave our grave clothes behind. That is the glory of God.