significance is there to the Ark
of the Covt in Joshua 3?
this event an opportunity to exalt Joshua?
the meaning of crossing the Jordan on dry ground?
Often in our life situations the
only way to go on is by faith. Unbelief says No, let’s go back to where it is safe. Essentially,
that is what the Israelites said 40 yrs ago when they decided to not enter the land
of Promise because of the giants in
the land. That faithlessness cost them 40 yrs in the wilderness and a
generation lost there. Now, 40 yrs later, the people are tested the same way
again. But faith says,Let’s go forward to where God is working. You walk biblically
when you act on the promises or commands of God. All people must walk by faith.
The object of your faith determines the validity of your faith. It is not how
much faith you have but what you put your faith in that determines it’s validity. God
has built ‘commitment before knowledge’ into the fabric of existence. So whenever
we take a prescription drug or fly on an airplane or get married—we are forced to walk by faith. God places
the highest premium on walking by faith. In Joshua 3 God wants His people to
move ahead in faith.
1. IN FAITH WE FOLLOW GOD INTO THE UNFAMILIAR 1-4
God does not walk by faith for He
knows the end from the beginning. God requires people to walk by faith to teach
dependence upon Him.
A. Joshua brings people to the Jordan1Here is a man
of action. The spies have reported in and immediately preparations are made to
cross the Jordan
and invade Canaan. So Joshua, not knowing yet how this
would happen, moves the people and their baggage 7 miles to the Jordan
and they lodge there at its banks. The theme’
crossing over’ (not referring to the
popular Tv series) occurs 18
times in Chps 3-4. The crossing of the Jordan
river represents a new starting point for
the nation of people. Once this happens, there is no turning back. It is the
point of no return. The past will be behind them, the battles before them, the
enemy prepared for them. So much ahead will require faith in God.
B. They prepare, organize and
give instructions 2-3The leaders helped Joshua after three days of waiting at rivers
edge. You may have heard the expression ‘Hurry
up and Wait” common in the military.
That is what Israel
is experiencing here on the riverbanks. Time to mobilize,
given instructions and prepare to cross the Jordan River. We also
receive a hint that something more must need to happen if they are to continue.
In vs 16 the writer informs us that the Jordan
river is swollen at this time of year,
running rapid, upwards of even a mile across in some places and there they sit
C. They must follow the Ark of Covt4The people were to follow the Ark
just as their ancesters did at Mt.Sanai.
When the Ark set out the people
traveled. When the Ark rested the
people camped. In the Ark was a
second copy of the ten commandments. After refusing to
enter Canaan they followed the Ark 40 yrs in the
wilderness. Now we actually see the ark leading the people again into new and
unfamiliar territory. The ark was holy and the people were not to come close to
it. They had to see it but it was separate from them (Ex 33:17-23). The point
is they can move forward into the unfamiliar and do so because the presence of
God is leading them. It was new territory and with God’s presence leading them they could go forward into the
threatening and unfamiliar set before them. The new, the unfamiliar, the
threatening is never an excuse to not follow God. If it is new, unfamiliar, &
threatening then that is probably where God would have you go. (Look at Noah,
Abe, Jacob, Moses, Ruth, David, Mary, Disciples). We describe faithfulness as
oldness but God defines it as newness. (3 levels of
newness & maturity each diminishing in value).
2. FOLLOWING GOD REQUIRES SPIRITUAL PREPARATION 5-6
The word ‘consecrate’ is to be
set apart, prepared and dedicated. Here it carries the idea setting yourself apart, prepare yourself. So the point is to take
personal responsibility for yourself before the Lord,
making themselves holy. The preparation for crossing the Jordan
and beginning a new campaign was spiritual and not physical. We would have
expected Joshua to declare ‘Sharpen
your swords and polish your shields’.
This spiritual preparation was necessary since the Lord was going to
demonstrate Himself to the people. They were not to lose site of their God who
can accomplish the impossible. Sin and unbelief grieve and quench the work of
the HS. Everyday we must make ourselves holy by confessing our sin and unbelief
and removing anything that hinders us from moving forward infaith into unfamiliar and removes the
barriers to God’s power and our faith.
3. WE FOLLOW GOD BECAUSE WE BELIEVE HE IS CAPABLE OF DOING WHAT HE
Our faith is not based on faith.
It is not some sort of blind faith. It is based on the work of God evidenced in
A. God exalts his leader 7-8God will exalt
Joshua in the site of all Israel
this day. It is time to establish his credentials as God’s servant by crossing the Jordan.
The reason was so that the people would know God was with Josh as He was with
Moses. Heb 11 calls attention to 2 things characterized Moses’ life (1) Man of conviction. Author begins
by describing what his parents did but moves to what Moses did. He refused Id
choosing rather banishment. He believed same thing parents did but for his own
set of reasons. (2) Had eternal perspective looking at ultimate rather than
immediate reward. Looked for eternal inheritance thus abandoned hope of short
term wealth, comfort Egypt
offered. God has no grandchildren. Joshua had to develop his own convictions
and perspective. God would see that the people saw that. In fact the people
revered Josh after this (). Our
job is to exalt God. We are not to seek to be exalted. If God wants us to be
exalted He will do it (James ).
Josh gives Words from God to people 9-13 God’s Word assures the
people of 3 things thru the crossing: (1) Certify that the living God was
leading them vs 10. (2) That He would drive out 7
groups of people inhabiting the land 10. Significant since gives
assurance of work on the other side too. (3) He would open a way across
the flooded Jordan 11-13. Here Josh is prophet giving the people
opportunity to verify such and validate his leadership as being from God. So
godly leadership recognizes that God is capable of doing what He says He will
do and verifying that with the people you are leading and teaching.
4. GOD DEVELOPS OUR FAITH THROUGH
conflict, the crossing of the Jordan, invites further conflict, So the people crossed opposite Jericho 16. (1) Crossing the Jordan meant Israel irrevocably committed to a struggle against armies,
chariots, fortified cities, determined enemy.(2) Crossing Jordan committed to further walk of faith in living God
capable of meeting future conflicts about to face. The xian
life is like that. A spiritual warfare where one step of faith after another we
claim what God has promised and know that He alone can bring any victory. Our
task is to follow Him into the unfamiliar, spiritually prepared, believing He
is capable to manage the conflict and warfare my walk of faith engages me in as
I am determined to please Him in all.
First requirement of ministry is consecration of myself
to the Lord.
Never attempt to exalt self. If God does you will be respected as a servant of
God. If you do you will always look silly. So make sure God gets the glory.
Invite people to believe in God because of the evidence He has given us
throughout history not blindly (Reason, persuade, give evidence).
If you have a new way to do a godly thing then do it.