Summary: A Father's Day message concerning importance of being a responsible and godly man.
Joshua 3:15-17 KJV And as they that bare the ark were come unto Jordan, and the feet of the priests that bare the ark were dipped in the brim of the water, (for Jordan overfloweth all his banks all the time of harvest,)  That the waters which came down from above stood and rose up upon an heap very far from the city Adam, that is beside Zaretan: and those that came down toward the sea of the plain, even the salt sea, failed, and were cut off: and the people passed over right against Jericho.  And the priests that bare the ark of the covenant of the LORD stood firm on dry ground in the midst of Jordan, and all the Israelites passed over on dry ground, until all the people were passed clean over Jordan.
I. INTRODUCTION—THE RACE
Defeat! He lay there silently, a tear dropped from his eye.
“There’s no sense running anymore—three strikes, I’m out—why try?”
The will to rise had disappeared, all hope had fled away,
So far behind, so error prone, closer all the way.
“I’ve lost, so what’s the use,” he thought, “I’ll live with my disgrace.”
But then he thought about his dad who soon he’d have to face.
“Get up,” an echo sounded low, “Get up and take your place.
You were not meant for failure here, so get up and win the race.”
With borrowed will, “Get up,” it said, “You haven’t lost at all,
For winning is not more than this—to rise each time you fall.”
So up he rose to win once more, and with a new commit,
He resolved that win or lose, at least he wouldn’t quit.
So far behind the others now, the most he’d ever been,
Still he gave it all he had and ran as though to win.
Three times he’d fallen stumbling, three times he rose again,
Too far behind to hope to win, he still ran to the end.
They cheered the winning runner as he crossed, first place,
Head high and proud and happy; no falling, no disgrace.
But when the fallen youngster crossed the line, last place,
The crowd gave him the greater cheer for finishing the race.
And even though he came in last, with head bowed low, unproud;
You would have thought he won the race, to listen to the crowd.
And to his dad he sadly said, “I didn’t do so well.”
“To me, you won,” his father said. “You rose each time you fell.”
And now when things seem dark and difficult to face,
The memory of that little boy helps me in my race.
For all of life is like that race, with ups and downs and all,
And all you have to do to win—is rise each time you fall.
“Quit! Give up, you’re beaten,” they still shout in my face.
But another voice within me says, “Get up and win that race.”
-That little story bears out the power of a watching father, whose voice we may not hear, but whose spirit we can sense, when there is a stumbling attempt and effort at this thing that God calls life.
-If ever a generation needed fathers who were willing to impart that kind of wisdom to their sons and daughters, it is now!
II. FATHERS BEARING ARKS
-The text also paints a similar picture for us. In Joshua 3:15 we are told that the Jordan was overflowing its banks at the time of the harvest. They had faced challenges in the past and now this was just another one in the long list of them.
-We find the priests were faced with a great challenge on that day, one that is elaborated on in this chapter and the next one.
-Jordan at flood stage was a dilemma in itself. But when they stepped down into the water, the power of God went into overdrive.
• The waters that were rushing from up the river were dammed up.
• Downriver it was if someone had turned off the faucet.
• The huge volume of water on the north side formed a large wall and stood in a heap.
-Again, we cannot forget that his river was literally whipping in a frenzy of a raging flood. The banks were overflowing. Then to consider that these priests stepped down into the edges of this frothing and boiling water is almost beyond belief.
-Just to do this was a test of their faith and of their obedience. Every father will soon discover that being a competent and spiritual father in our days will be a test of our faith and our obedience. We also have to grasp that we will never make it unless we are given to becoming spiritual men! A few good men. . . men full of compassion. . . men full of faith. . .