God Lifts Up His Leaders

Joshua 3

Jerry A Collins




*               What significance is there to the Ark of the Covt in Joshua 3?

*               Why is this event an opportunity to exalt Joshua?

*               What is 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, lets 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, Lets 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 its 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 marriedwe 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.


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 Jordan 1 Here 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 2-3 The 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 observing this.

C. They must follow the Ark of Covt 4 The 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 Gods 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).


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 in faith into unfamiliar and removes the barriers to Gods power and our faith.


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 history.

A. God exalts his leader 7-8 God will exalt Joshua in the site of all Israel this day. It is time to establish his credentials as Gods 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 with Egypt 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 (4:14). 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 4:10).

B. Josh gives Words from God to people 9-13 Gods 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.


One 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.

1. First requirement of ministry is consecration of myself to the Lord.

2. 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.

3. Invite people to believe in God because of the evidence He has given us throughout history not blindly (Reason, persuade, give evidence).

4. If you have a new way to do a godly thing then do it.