Summary: Have a heart to follow God, a faith to believe, and the courage to act on what God says.
Joshua 3:1-17 Don’t Lose Sight of Him ES 7Aug11 2015
God has promised to give His people the land of Canaan and to guide them there.
• It does not mean, however that the journey will be smooth and easy. In fact, the opposite is true - there are many obstacles and troubles.
• God did not airlift them and drop them into the land “flowing with milk and honey”. God led them through a very challenging journey.
• But if the people are willing to trust God and obey what He says, they will surely inherit what God has promised them.
This is easier said than done, because people wants God’s will to be “simple and neat, smooth and easy”, with few obstacles and no sacrifices needed.
• But the truth is, life is not as easy as we expected it to be, even after knowing God.
• We are often discouraged when they face problems and difficulties. We complained and criticized, and for some, they gave up too soon.
• We have to be prepared to tackle problems WITH GOD. We must trust that God will give us the strength and wisdom to overcome them.
• We cannot LOSE SIGHT of God, however adverse our circumstances are.
Joshua was about to learn this first-hand. The whole nation was now camping out by the side of River Jordan.
• Joshua faced a big obstacle – River Jordan. It was an insurmountable problem by any human standards.
• And the timing was not good. Verse 15 says “the Jordan is at flood stage all during harvest”, spring time.
• It was impossible for them to cross over UNLESS God helps them.
And God did, and they crossed over, the entire nation. Everyone was safe.
• Without God, it will be impossible, but with God, everything is possible.
• We learn from this event 3 principles about overcoming obstacles in life.
(1) Have a Heart to Follow God
Don’t lose SIGHT of God. You must be determined to follow Him fully.
• When faced with a problem, we often hear these words, “I do not know what to do.”
• This is not unusual. Many of us have similar experiences. But this is not the problem. Even experts, politicians, lawyers, doctors, experienced surgeons, have to admit this.
• The problem is really not that “we do not know what to do”, but rather, we “do not do what we know”.
If you are feeling unwell, you should look for a doctor. If you are tired, you should rest. If you are given medicine, you should take them as instructed.
• As believers, we must seek God. This is what WE KNOW. We know we NEED Him.
• We may not know everything – like how to cross the river Jordan – but we do know we need God’s help. We need to seek God and pray for His help.
Joshua instructed the people: “When you see the ark of the covenant of the Lord your God… move out from your positions and FOLLOW IT.” (v.3)
• God is going to guide them, but they must not lose sight of Him.
• The Ark was built at the command of God, according to the instructions given to Moses on Mount Sinai (Exo 25:10-16).
• The Lord said to Moses: “There, above the cover between the two cherubim that are over the ark of the Testimony, I will meet with you and give you all my commands for the Israelites.” (Exo 25:22)
That’s where the Lord dwells when He meets with Moses. It represents His presence.
• The instruction was clear – follow God! Where He leads, we follow.
• How do you know which way to go? Follow the Ark, “then you will know which way to go, since you have never been this way before.” (v.4)
• It does not matter if you have never travelled this way before, or you’ve not experience it before. God is there to lead you.
You see, the focus was not the river, not the leaders, not even Joshua himself.
• The people were asked to “look at the Ark of God and follow Him.” That’s where the Lord is.
• The Ark was mentioned 17 times in chapters 3 and 4; 10 times in chapter 3 alone – the critical crossing of the river. Everything revolves around the Ark.
Note the position of the Ark during the entire crossing. It was described as being in 3 places.
• The Ark was ahead of them (vv. 6, 11 and 14) – the Lord leads the way.
• And then the Ark was moved to the middle of Jordan (v.17) – the Lord was right in the middle of that difficult crossing. In the midst of the crisis, God is there with His people.