Intro: Our relationship with God is likened to a walk of faith (2 Cor 5:7). It is an image of movie through the good and bad times of life in trusting obedience to God. Sure, we understand God never asks us to follow Him without providing the way, but our eyes sometimes only see the natural and we loose sight that our Supernatural. In Joshua Chapter three we'll see God provides all we need to follow Him.
Consider the Children of Israel have been waiting for three days to finally cross over the River Jordan and posses the Promised Land. As they have waited three days for the report from the spies they have been preparing and sanctifying themselves, but surely their eyes have seen the swollen river (Vs 15) and in their hearts they wonder how more than a million people and livestock can cross over. The land across from them is their promise, it is assured, but now they will have to obey in great spiritual and physical steps of faith.
Title: Crossing Over.
Object: keep your eyes on God.
I. Vs 1-6, Follow for Victory.
The Children of Israel had been waiting the three days to cross over the presumably dangerous River Jordan into the Land, but now it was time put their faith into action. Faith in action is not foolish but faithful following in the steps and works God has already prepared for you (Ephesians 2:10). It may seem dangerous and counterintuitive, but there is nothing more secure than following God on His path.
In the case of Joshua, and us, this is a spiritual battle. Our natural inclination is to follow self and determine what is best. Joshua tells the people to follow the very presence of God and it is good advice for us today. The command to follow God into the Promised Land includes the warning to keep a distance of 2,000 cubits (about 915-meters). This distance forces God followers to keep the Ark (God Himself) in sight, keeps God followers from getting before God, and yet honors the holy nature of God.
II. Vs 7-13, Stand in Victory.
God tells Moses that He has already assured the new leader to have victory, "This day I will begin to exalt you in the sight of all Israel, that they may know that as I was with Moses, so I will be with you." Joshua only had to stand and allow God to work. In this Joshua could confidently tell Israel that though they are entering a season and land of war, that their living God would drive their enemies out from before them.
As the soles of the feet of the priest rested in the swollen River Jordan, God held up the water so it piled up in a heap. Many theories have been suggested for exactly how God stopped the river in this miracle, but it does not matter. God did it by His methods. Even if the angels held back the walls of water, it was God responding to the faithful obedience of Joshua, the priests he commanded and the Children of Israel that had sanctified themselves.
III. Vs 14-17, Go in Victory.
It is notable that the priests were the first to cross. Sure, they are carrying the Ark and God in their presence, but it takes a step of faith to go into the dry bed of the River Jordan and thereby be the first to walk into known hostile territory. It shows us that with God we go in security. Some would die in the months ahead, but they are no less secure. Our prayer should not be for safety, but to be right where God would have us, which is secure in His presence.
The final verse of this chapter is profound. The promise is being fulfilled. It is Siku Kuu and it is fitting the next chapter begins with building a memorial. The Children of Israel are all in the Promised Land. Surely there will be great and magnificent battles as they take possession, but the promises to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob are being fulfilled in their eyes.
Conclusion: Besides Joshua and Caleb, a whole generation of the Children of Israel had died in the wilderness wanderings. They had not walked in faith and they did not have the opportunity for celebrate Verse 17. If we have received Christ you did that by faith and God has works planed for you two walk with Him in in His promises (Eph 2:8-10). When you received Christ you crossed over into the Promised Land, but like the Children of Israel there are people that do not like that you walked by faith with God into His love. The enemy of our souls still seeks to defeat us and make us ineffective in this land. As we follow God, keep Him in sight. Do not go before Him, or lag behind. As children of the New Covenant, we can be bold and like the priests to carry the Ark. Only then do we have victory.