4/28/2020 – Crossing the Jordan River
After forty years of aimless wandering, the nation of Israel is finally ready to enter the land God promised Abraham He would give them. But in order to enter that land, they have to cross the Jordan River. They have consecrated themselves. They are determined to do whatever the Lord says. They and God are finally on the same page.
Joshua 3:9 – “Joshua said to the Israelites, ‘COME HERE AND LISTEN to the Words of the Lord your God.’” My sinful, human nature wants to do all the talking. It wants the Lord to come and listen to MY words; listen to my grumblings, my complaints, my excuses, and my fears.
But in order for Israel to BE where the Lord wanted them to be, to HAVE what the Lord wanted them to have, and to DO what the Lord was telling them to do, they had to be willing to LISTEN to what the Lord wanted them to hear. The only way they could cross that river was by faith and faith comes from hearing the word of God. (Romans 10:17)
The Jordan River was at flood stage. There was only one way to cross that river right now. There was only one way the Lord would bless, and it took a willingness to “come…and listen to the words of the Lord.” The redeemed nature, the renewed nature is thirsty to hear and is eager to go wherever the word of God is being spoken. If we’re not hearing the word of God where we’re going, we should be going somewhere else.
Joshua 3:10 – “This is how you will know that the living God is among you and that He will certainly drive out (your enemies) before you.” This will erase all your doubts. This will remove all sense of being able to do this on your own. This is something you’ll never be able to forget. You’ll know the Lord is with you and know you’re going to make it all the way.
Joshua 3:11 – “See the Ark of the Covenant of the Lord of all the earth will go into the Jordan ahead of you.” Wherever the Lord is leading us, whatever difficult obstacle or impossible situation might be in front of us, we can have the assurance that the Lord our God is not only with us, but He has also gone ahead of us. He has made a way for us and He is waiting for us.
Joshua 3:12-13: “Now then, choose twelve men from the Tribes of Israel, … And as soon as the priests who carry the Ark of the Lord… set foot in the Jordan, its waters flowing donstream will be cut off and stand up in a heap.” WOW! Really? That’s exciting. I can’t wait to see that happen.
But Joshua, where did you get that part about the waters being cut off and standing in a heap as soon as the priests step foot in the river? I can’t find where the Lord ever said that. In chapter 1, He said He was giving us the Land. He promised He would always be with us and would never leave us or forsake us.
But I don’t see where He ever said anything about the water in the river. All He said was, “Go and stand in the river.” To me, that sounds like the priests are going to be standing under water and the rest of us are going to be in over our heads. But Joshua believed the Lord was going to do “amazing things among” His people. (v.5)
For the past forty years, Caleb and Joshua were both unshakably convinced that, regardless of how difficult or how impossible their situation seemed to be, they were going to live in that land because the Lord had promised to give it to them.
The first time the ten spies came back and told Moses what they had found, eight of them began listing all the reasons why they shouldn’t go there. “Caleb silenced the people before Moses and said,’WE SHOULD GO up and take possession of the land FOR WE CAN CERTAINLY DO IT.” (Numbers 13:30)
Now, forty years later, when Joshua gets to the bank of the Jordan River and sees how deep it is and how strong the current was, he must be thinking, “I know this is what the Lord wants us to do. He’s promised to be with us and to go before us, so I’m not going to be afraid and I’m not going to worry about it. I don’t understand it, but somehow God will make a way.
God has a plan. He knows the end from the beginning. He sees the complete picture. I don’t understand how or why, but I know we’re not going to die in that river. It’s not all going to end in that river because I believe the power of God is greater than the power of that river and the grace of God is deeper than the depth of that river. Somehow our God will make a way. Have you ever stared into the face of a frightening, seemingly hopeless, and impossible situation and said, “I don’t know HOW, but I know I CAN, because God WILL?”
Joshua 3:14-15a: “So when the people broke camp to cross the Jordan, the priests carrying the Ark of the Covenant went ahead of them. Now the Jordan is at flood stage all during the harvest.” The river is at flood stage but that doesn’t matter to the Lord. All things are under His control. When the Lord is in charge, it doesn’t matter how deep it is or how impossible it looks.
Joshua 3:15b-16: “Yet as soon as the priests…reached the Jordan and their feet touched the water’s edge, the water from upstream stopped flowing. It piled up in a heap a great distance away…while the water flowing down to the Sea of Arabah…was completely cut off. So the people crossed over opposite Jericho.” Their feet never even got wet. Is that “amazing” enough for you?
We have to be willing. We have to trust God enough to get INTO it before we can find out what He’s going to do ABOUT it. It’s not going to STOP until we STEP in it and discover that it’s not nearly as bad as we imagined or feared.
My fearful, sinful nature looks at the future, sees what lies ahead, and says “What’s going to happen to me when I get into that river?” But Promised Land Faith says,” I can’t wait to see what the Ark of the Covenant is going to do to that river.”
Joshua 3:17 – “The priests…STOOD FIRM ON DRY GROUND IN THE MIDDLE OF THE JORDAN.” Everyone who has repented of their sin and accepted Jesus as their Savior is like those priests who were carrying the Ark. God is present in us. We have “this treasure in jars of clay.” (2Corinthians 4:7) His love has been “poured into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, whom He has given us,” (Romans 5:5)
His word is living in us. His power is at work in us. Nothing can possibly stop us. Nothing can harm us No mountain is unclimbable. No river is uncrossable. No battle is unwinnable because Jesus Christ is living in us. Wherever we go, whatever we may step into, we’re always carrying the presence of the Lord.
Consecrate yourself. Disconnect yourself from everything that’s competing for your attention and devotion and attach yourself completely to Jesus and watch Him do amazing things in your life.
Lord willing, we’ll meet here again next Tuesday. I’d love to hear your comments and questions. Invite a friend to get In God’s Word with Pastor Buj.