Summary: Consecrate yourselves, set yourself apart to God, and expect God to do great and mighty things in you and through you.
There was once a jockey who had an unbelievable winning record. Just before the end of any race, the jockey would lean way over and seemingly speak to the horse and then almost instantly the horse would have a sudden burst of energy and win the race. A reporter asked the jockey what he did that made such a difference in the horse’s speed. He replied: “I simply quote a little verse in his ear: ‘Roses are red, violets are blue, horses that lose are made into glue!”
We all need a little extra motivation at times. Joshua was a great leader who knew how to motivate people. Let’s look at Joshua 3 and see how Joshua motivated the Israelites.
1 Early in the morning Joshua and all the Israelites set out from Shittim and went to the Jordan, where they camped before crossing over. 2 After three days the officers went throughout the camp, 3 giving orders to the people: "When you see the ark of the covenant of the LORD your God, and the priests, who are Levites, carrying it, you are to move out from your positions and follow it. 4 Then you will know which way to go, since you have never been this way before. But keep a distance of about a thousand yards between you and the ark; do not go near it."
5 Joshua told the people, "Consecrate yourselves, for tomorrow the LORD will do amazing things among you."
6 Joshua said to the priests, "Take up the ark of the covenant and pass on ahead of the people." So they took it up and went ahead of them.
7 And the LORD said to Joshua, "Today I will begin to exalt you in the eyes of all Israel, so they may know that I am with you as I was with Moses. 8 Tell the priests who carry the ark of the covenant: ’When you reach the edge of the Jordan’s waters, go and stand in the river.’"
9 Joshua said to the Israelites, "Come here and listen to the words of the LORD your God. 10 This is how you will know that the living God is among you and that he will certainly drive out before you the Canaanites, Hittites, Hivites, Perizzites, Girgashites, Amorites and Jebusites. 11 See, the ark of the covenant of the Lord of all the earth will go into the Jordan ahead of you. 12 Now then, choose twelve men from the tribes of Israel, one from each tribe. 13 And as soon as the priests who carry the ark of the LORD-the Lord of all the earth-set foot in the Jordan, its waters flowing downstream will be cut off and stand up in a heap."
14 So when the people broke camp to cross the Jordan, the priests carrying the ark of the covenant went ahead of them. 15 Now the Jordan is at flood stage all during harvest. Yet as soon as the priests who carried the ark reached the Jordan and their feet touched the water’s edge, 16 the water from upstream stopped flowing. It piled up in a heap a great distance away, at a town called Adam in the vicinity of Zarethan, while the water flowing down to the Sea of the Arabah (the Salt Sea) was completely cut off. So the people crossed over opposite Jericho. 17 The priests who carried the ark of the covenant of the LORD stood firm on dry ground in the middle of the Jordan, while all Israel passed by until the whole nation had completed the crossing on dry ground.
The Hebrew people had been in bondage for four hundred years until God delivered them through Moses. The people knew Moses and they knew that he was chosen by God to lead them. They were about to enter the Promised Land and decided to send in twelve spies to investigate the land and the people living there. They came back and reported that it truly was the Promised Land but there were giants in the land that could not be conquered. The people became afraid and distraught thinking that they were going to die and even considered going back to Egypt. Two of the spies, Joshua and Caleb, spoke out saying that the people should trust in the Lord and that God would lead them into the land. The people were in such frenzy that they considered stoning both Joshua and Caleb. For their lack of faith God sentenced the Israelites to wander in the desert for forty years.
Now, once again, the Israelites are about to enter the Promised Land. The land is still filled with milk and honey and giants are still in the land. To complicate matters even more, there is a change in leadership. God told Moses that he would be able to see the Promised Land but he would not enter it. God selected Joshua to be Moses’ successor.