In Joshua 3:4, the Lord told Joshua and the nation, as they prepared themselves to pass over the Jordan River, to make sure there is a distance of about 3,000 feet between the Ark of the Covenant and the first man to follow behind the lead of the priest carrying the ark. The reason for this distance is two-fold: first, the ark was holy and no man could get close without the Lord bringing judgment upon the perpetrator; second, “Do not come near it, that you may know the way by which you must go, for you have not passed this way before.”
Jesus said that He is the way the truth and the life; no man can go to the Father, but by Him (John 14:6). Earlier in His ministry to the nation He appealed to all who could hear His voice, “Come unto me all you labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest” (Matthew 11:28). In matters that pertain to righteousness it is so easy for us to think that we can replace our own way of thinking for the Lord’s. This is a catastrophic mistake. Are we so strong that we can create the heavens and earth? Are we so wise that we can make a plan even before the earth was created? Have we so much knowledge that we can tell the end from the beginning and all things that happen in between? Since we can do none of these things, isn’t it best that we follow the path the Lord has lain for us—having already gone Himself?