Summary: The Lord has personally invited you to enter His rest and discover His strength. But you will have to “cross over the Jordan” in your spiritual life to experience the reality of that truth.
HAVE YOU CROSSED THE JORDAN?
Text: Joshua 3
Dr. Larry Petton
SCRIPTURE TEXT – JOSHUA 3:5-17
5 Joshua told the people, “Consecrate yourselves, for tomorrow the Lord will do amazing things among you.” 6 Joshua said to the priests, “Take up the ark of the covenant and pass on ahead of the people.” So they took it up and went ahead of them. 7 And the Lord said to Joshua, “Today I will begin to exalt you in the eyes of all Israel, so they may know that I am with you as I was with Moses. 8 Tell the priests who carry the ark of the covenant: ‘When you reach the edge of the Jordan’s waters, go and stand in the river.’”
9 Joshua said to the Israelites, “Come here and listen to the words of the Lord your God. 10 This is how you will know that the living God is among you and that he will certainly drive out before you the Canaanites, Hittites, Hivites, Perizzites, Girgashites, Amorites and Jebusites.
11 See, the ark of the covenant of the Lord of all the earth will go into the Jordan ahead of you. 12 Now then, choose twelve men from the tribes of Israel, one from each tribe. 13 And as soon as the priests who carry the ark of the Lord—the Lord of all the earth—set foot in the Jordan, its waters flowing downstream will be cut off and stand up in a heap.”
14 So when the people broke camp to cross the Jordan, the priests carrying the ark of the covenant went ahead of them. 15 Now the Jordan is at flood stage all during harvest. Yet as soon as the priests who carried the ark reached the Jordan and their feet touched the water’s edge, 16 the water from upstream stopped flowing. It piled up in a heap a great distance away, at a town called Adam in the vicinity of Zarethan, while the water flowing down to the Sea of the Arabah (that is, the Dead Sea) was completely cut off.
So the people crossed over opposite Jericho. 17 The priests who carried the ark of the covenant of the Lord stopped in the middle of the Jordan and stood on dry ground, while all Israel passed by until the whole nation had completed the crossing on dry ground.
Chuck Swindoll once said, “God never asked us to meet life’s pressures and demands on our own terms or by relying upon our own strength. Nor did He demand that we win His favor by assembling an impressive portfolio of good deeds. Instead, He invites us to enter His rest.”
Rest sounds really inviting. And the Lord has personally invited you to cross over into His rest and discover a new life. But you will have to “cross over the Jordan” in your spiritual life to experience the reality of that truth.
I grew up singing the hymn, “On Jordan’s stormy banks I stand and cast a wistful eye, to Canaan’s fair and happy land where my possessions lie!” We thought we were singing a song about Heaven, but, unfortunately, the experience for Joshua and the people of Israel at Jordan was not a symbol of Heaven. It is the portrait of the victorious Spirit-filled life right now! There are no battles in Heaven. But Canaan was full of battles from the Enemy and tests of faith from the Lord. The first test started in chapter 3 when God challenged the faith of His people and asked them to step into the water and walk!
As we examine the Exodus journey in the Old Testament, we discover that there are three types of people spiritually as described in I Corinthians 2:13-3:3.
This is what we speak, not in words taught us by human wisdom but in words taught by the Spirit, explaining spiritual realities with Spirit-taught words. 14 The person without the Spirit does not accept the things that come from the Spirit of God but considers them foolishness, and cannot understand them because they are discerned only through the Spirit. 15 The person with the Spirit makes judgments about all things, but such a person is not subject to merely human judgments, 16 for, “Who has known the mind of the Lord so as to instruct him?” But we have the mind of Christ.
Brothers and sisters, I could not address you as people who live by the Spirit but as people who are still worldly—mere infants in Christ. 2 I gave you milk, not solid food, for you were not yet ready for it. Indeed, you are still not ready. 3 You are still worldly. For since there is jealousy and quarreling among you, are you not worldly? Are you not acting like mere humans? 4 For when one says, “I follow Paul,” and another, “I follow Apollos,” are you not mere human beings?