I’m reading a daily devotional on the YouVersion Bible app called, “Presence Carriers” by David Shearman. Day 2 described how in Joshua 3 God gave specific instructions for the Israelites to follow the priests as they carried the Ark of the Covenant across the Jordan River. The Ark was the visible representation of the presence of God with the people, a constant reminder that He was with them, leading them. Joshua and his leaders gave specific instructions to the people for following behind the priests and the Ark, and they were to keep focused on moving forward (v.3).
What struck me was the realization that in the Ark, the priests literally “carried” on their shoulders the very manifestation of the presence of God. The priests bore the Ark out front, where all could see, and they led by example, literally (v.6). When faced with a daunting obstacle, the Jordan River at “rage stage” (v.15), God promised to roll back the waters like He did for their ancestors at the Red Sea, if they would trust Him.
But the priests, carrying the Ark, had to go first.
When they, in faith, swallowed their fear, and stepped into the waters, God’s presence with them suddenly parted the river, and all walked across on dry ground. The priests had made the first steps, and before that, they had placed faith in God’s instructions and promises. They reaped the rewards, the miracle, and as a result, so did the people.
In the New Covenant, we are the priests.
As Christ-followers, we not only bear His image, we carry His presence in this world. In reality, all humans are created in God’s image (Genesis 1:26-27), whether they acknowledge their Creator or not. But as true believers, we are the new “chosen generation, a royal priesthood” (1 Peter 2:9), showing, speaking, and demonstrating the very presence of God in this age.
We are His Presence Carriers.
The world is watching. Some will follow our lead and follow Christ, whose presence we carry. Many will not. But we are to carry His presence carefully, not merely on our shoulders like we can set Him aside, but within us, permeating all that we are, every day, on dry ground or through the waters.
“But we carry this treasure in earthen vessels, that the surpassing greatness of the power may be of God and not from ourselves.” (2 Corinthians 4:7)