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Summary: This sermon about the Hebrew people crossing the Jordan River is a symbol of the crossing we must make from this life to the next.

Crossing Jordan

Joshua 3:14-17

[14] So it was, when the people set out from their camp to cross over the Jordan, with the priests bearing the ark of the covenant before the people, [15] and as those who bore the ark came to the Jordan, and the feet of the priests who bore the ark dipped in the edge of the water (for the Jordan overflows all its banks during the whole time of harvest),

[16] that the waters which came down from upstream stood still, and rose in a heap very far away at Adam, the city that is beside Zaretan. So the waters that went down into the Sea of the Arabah, the Salt Sea, failed, and were cut off; and the people crossed over opposite Jericho.

[17] Then the priests who bore the ark of the covenant of the Lord stood firm on dry ground in the midst of the Jordan; and all Israel crossed over on dry ground, until all the people had crossed completely over the Jordan.

In Christian music

the Jordan River is often mentioned in the lyrics.

The river represents the crossing we must make

from this life to the next..

Here are a couple of examples:

I looked over Jordan, and what did I see

Coming for to carry me home?

A band of angels coming after me,

Coming for to carry me home.

Johnny Cash sang this song:

When I come to the river at the ending of day

When the last winds of sorrow have blown

There'll be somebody waiting to show me the way

I won't have to cross Jordan alone

I won't have to cross Jordan alone

Jesus died all my sins to atone

In the darkness I see he'll be waiting for me

I won't have to cross Jordan alone

The people of God, Israel, had to cross that river

to enter into the Promised Land.

Joshua chapter 3 tells the story of the Jordan River crossing.

Joshua tells the people in Chapter 1 verse 2.

"Moses My servant is dead. Now therefore, arise, go over this Jordan, you and all this people, to the land which I am giving to them--the children of Israel.

There’s a great lesson for us here in Joshua chapter 3.

God’s work must be done God’s way

in order to receive God’s blessing.

It must be done in such a way that God receives the glory.

God will bless anyone who does His work His way.

Joshua records the miracle of the crossing in 7 steps.

First) They waited 3 days.

[1] Then Joshua rose early in the morning; and they set out from Acacia Grove and came to the Jordan, he and all the children of Israel, and lodged there before they crossed over. [2] So it was, after three days, that the officers went through the camp;

Waiting is not easy to do.

I hate to stand in line waiting for something.

God makes His people wait on the bank of the Jordan.

What would have happened on Day 1 or Day 2

if Joshua had decided to go ahead on his own?

It would have been a total disaster.

Waiting time is never wasted time if you are waiting on the Lord.

Second) Joshua put the ark in front of the people.

[3] and they commanded the people, saying, "When you see the ark of the covenant of the Lord your God, and the priests, the Levites, bearing it, then you shall set out from your place and go after it. [4] Yet there shall be a space between you and it, about two thousand cubits by measure. Do not come near it, that you may know the way by which you must go, for you have not passed this way before."

The ark of the covenant was a chest

with a gold top called the Mercy Seat.

The ark contained the Ten Commandments,

Aaron’s rod that budded, and a pot of manna.

It represented the presence of God with His people.

God instructed Joshua to keep a distance of 2,000 cubits

(about a half-mile) between the people and the ark.

That emphasizes the holiness of God.

If Israel truly wanted God’s guidance,

the people must treat God with respect.

Now, why must the ark go before the people?

Look at the last part of Verse 4:

that you may know the way by which you must go, for you have not passed this way before."

We make plans and have some idea about the days ahead.

Only God knows which way we should go.

Like the Israelites, we have not been this way before.

We think that we know the future and where we should go.

Jesus knows where we need to be tomorrow and the next day.

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