Summary: This message details the necessity of crossing over into new spiritual territory.
“Crossing over” Joshua Ch. 3
We’re on this journey through the book of Joshua. Joshua was a great leader at a time in Israel when they really needed leadership. Last week I talked to you about how the people he was leading, the Israelites, overcame fear and faced up to the challenge of conquering the promise land. We talked about fear driven pitfalls and the paralyzing effect they have on us. This week we get to unfold yet another exciting portion of the story. Joshua Ch. 3 is a turning point in the early History Israel. Joshua at the time, had the recipe for success, God gave him the ingredients for victory. It was because of His fine leadership that the children of Israel were brought right to the brink of blessing. But there was yet a couple things that stood in the way, and I want to describe each of them to you. But let us first hear the story...(read Joshua Ch. 3: 1-13)
Have you ever been excited about a vacation or trip and then for some reason experienced a delay? If you fly the friendly skies very often you probably know something about flight delays. We’re very fortunate here in the NW, our skies aren’t as crowded and we don’t have many weather delays when it comes to travel. But that’s not the case in other parts of the country. It’s not unusual to fly threw Chicago and hit an ice, wind or thunderstorm. There are all kinds of incliment conditions that prevent on time departures. I’ve flown through a couple of those situations myself. Experiencing delays and facing obstacles are an acceptable part of life. I love the flashing electronic signs on the highways that you see when there is construction that read, “Expect delays.” Those signs are a very fitting description of life. Expecting delays is a life truth! We ought to expect delays, and predict obstacles that’s part of our existance. Even when things are going well and when we are right where God wants us to be, you can expect delays.
Some of you know, that we’ve been working on this parking lot project for sometime now. For uhum, quite some time now. And guess what, we’ve experienced quit a number of delays trying to get that project in motion and make sure it’s going to be funded. Delays are a part of process, difficulties and obstacles can be expected.
And so it was for the children of Israel when they faced the prospect of entering into the promiseland. They woke up early in the morning to this new and exciting possibility. Anticipation filled the camp. Joshua, their revered leader, woke everybody up with a really loud wake up call. So they broke camp there at Shitim and proceeded to move West toward the great river of Jordan. When they got to the Jordan river they camped and prepared to crossover into the promiseland. But there was only one problem...There was a huge obstacle in the way, it was the river itself. The Jordan river flowed into the dead sea, during the harvest season or the rainey season the water levels were extremely high, in fact, at the time the Israelites arrive water in the river was at flood stage. And that was a problem. Because there was only one way into the land of Canaan and that was either over or through the river. Under normal conditions the river is crossable by foot, in many places it is only waste deep. But during the harvest time of the year the river rages! And that was a problem, that was an obstacle. This was Joshua’s first true-to-life test of leadership. How to convince the children of Israel to crossover. Half of them could easily get swept down stream and end up drowned in the dead sea?
That was the first obstacle they encountered on their journey into the Promise- land, the raging river of difficulty. It was staring them right in the face. So what about you have you ever faced a raging river of difficulty? The rivers of difficulty often rage especially when something good is about to happen. If you haven’t faced them you will, it’s part of life.
The second obstacle they faced was the unknown. This was a new generation, they had never been this way before. They didn’t know what to expect. They had never followed God like this before, it was all brand new. Notice what verse 4 says, “you’ve never been this way before!” That’s Joshua speaking, He described what was ahead. He acknowledged the newness of it, and the strangeness of it. He admitted they had never tried it before. They had no idea what was ahead of them. They were facing the great unknown. You know what this reminds me of? I’m reminds me of the Star Trek mission to boldly go where no man has gone before. That’s a fair way to sum up what they were facing in Ch. 3, they were facing the great unknown. God was calling them to go where they had never gone before and to do something they had never done.