Summary: God is always faithful to His promises. The only hindrance to their fulfillment is our unbelief.
Faith Fostered By A Flood
Text: Joshua 4: 9
Intro: Most of us are fully aware of the events that preceded Israel’s arrival and encampment at the bank of the Jordan River prior to their entry into the Promised Land. They had just completed a forty-year trek through the wilderness, which was characterized by much spiritual instruction, as well as a number of on again/off again experiences in their dedication to God. But finally, for the second time during their forty-year sojourn, they find themselves at the brink of the Jordan River.
No doubt, as the Israelites looked at the swollen river that stood between them and their promised possession, it appeared to them to be an insurmountable obstacle. However, as we will see, seemingly insurmountable obstacles do not nullify the promises and power of God. If God has made a promise, there is nothing or no one that will prevent its fulfillment, except one thing—UNBELIEF. What God promises, He is able to perform (Rom.4: 21). “Faithful is he that calleth you, who also will do it” (I Thess.5: 24), Paul told the Thessalonians. That must be the attitude of every saint who would see magnificent things from the hand of God.
Anytime a person or a church determines to walk with God and trust His promises, obstacles will without fail, arise, and will seem to declare everything that God has said to be a lie. But the presence of an obstacle is actually an opportunity for increased faith. The sad part is that we almost never seem to realize that fact at the time we face the problem. However, that mindset is developed over a period of time, by repetition.
There are three things that I find in Joshua 3: 9-4: 9 that God engineered to develop unswerving faith in His people. God used a flood to teach His people some principles of faith. Let’s examine this situation to see what we can learn from it as well.
Theme: In seeking to mature Israel’s faith:
I. THE LORD PRECEDED THE PEOPLE TO JORDAN
Joshua 3: 11 “…the ark…of the Lord…passeth over before you…”
A. The Lord’s Intent.
1. He wanted to demonstrate His presence.
Joshua 3: 9 “And Joshua said unto the children of Israel, Come hither, and hear the words of the Lord your God.
10a And Joshua said, Hereby ye shall know that the living God is among you…”
2. He wanted to demonstrate His power to protect.
Joshua 3: 10b “…he will without fail drive out from before you the Canaanites, and the Hittites, and the Hivites, and the Perizzites, and the Girgashites, and the Amorites, and the Jebusites.”
NOTE:  The point of everything God was about to do at the Jordan River was to demonstrate to Israel God’s ability and availability to His people, even in the midst of a flood tide of enemies.
 The Lord is still able to protect His people, as illustrated by this true story.
John Paton was a missionary in the New Hebrides Islands. One night hostile natives surrounded the mission station, intent on burning out the Patons and killing them. Paton and his wife prayed during that terror-filled night that God would deliver them. When daylight came they were amazed to see their attackers leave. A year later, the chief of the tribe was converted to Christ. Remembering what had happened, Paton asked the chief what had kept him from burning down the house and killing them. The chief replied in surprise, "Who were all those men with you there?" Paton knew no men were present—but the chief said he was afraid to attack because he had seen hundreds of big men in shining garments with drawn swords circling the mission station.
Today in the Word, MBI, October, 1991, p. 18.
B. The Lord’s Illustration.
1. God was about to illustrate His preparatory presence, regardless of the obstacle.
Joshua 3: 11 “Behold, the ark of the covenant of the Lord of all the earth passeth over before you into Jordan.”
NOTE:  The ark was the visible representation of the very presence of God to the Israelites. The ark going before them into the floodwaters of Jordan represented the fact that God’s presence would go before them to prepare the way for their deliverance. The Lord does the same for His people today. Whatever problem you find yourself headed for, you’ll see Jesus coming back from. He goes before us to prepare the way for our deliverance.
 It isn’t uncommon to feel alone and forsaken when going through the trials of life. But God has promised, “…I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee” (Heb.13: 5b). Whether is appears so or not, God is present in every problem.
2. God was about to illustrate His ability to cut-off all opposition.