Summary: Having lost their leader, Moses, how do they CROSS THIS JORDAN! Then Joshua describes God’s plan.
NOT I, BUT CHRIST
Last week, we read Joshua 1. We talked about crossing this Jordan. We read what God told Joshua. We read where God told Joshua to cross this Jordan and lead the people to the land which God had promised. About what he should do in the face of this tragedy. This loss of their leader Moses. We read how God had a plan.
Throughout Joshua 1, we read about how God would be with them. How God would protect them. That God would walk with them every step of the way. The one thing we didn’t talk about was HOW TO CROSS THIS JORDAN!
This past two weeks, I’ve been asking that question over and over again. I’ve been seeking answers. I have been searching far and wide for the answers. I’ve been looking deep inside myself for something that can help me understand how to cross this Jordan. Trying to figure out what it is we are supposed to do now. Asking the question, God, why did this happen? Why are we in this situation? I’ve asked it over and over again and still, no answers.
When Charles Spurgeon died in 1892, his son spoke these words… “What my Father has been to me, to many thousands, and the world at large, none can ever fully estimate. There was one trait in his noble and godly character which, among many others, always shone out... His humility. Words of eulogy concerning himself were painful to him; his creed in this, as in all other matters, being "Not I, but Christ."
After asking all of these questions of Why? Trying to figure out God’s plan in this loss, it hit me when I read this quote by Charles Spurgeon Jr., that we are not going to find the answers. Why, because it is not up to us to figure out these things, in our humanity, in our frailty, in our limited abilities, we aren’t capable of finding the answer. We don’t know the answers and we could look for years within ourselves for the answer and we’d never find it. So it must be that we don’t look inside, we look up. Not I, but Christ.
These words are comforting beyond measure. When we realize that we don’t need to figure out why things happen, when we know that we can’t make it alone, we can’t make it on our own, we can’t find our way by ourselves, it frees us to understand God’s grace and God’s provision in our lives.
Josh. 3:1 Then Joshua rose early in the morning; and they set out from Acacia Grove and came to the Jordan, he and all the children of Israel, and lodged there before they crossed over. 2 So it was, after three days, that the officers went through the camp; 3 and they commanded the people, saying, “When you see the ark of the covenant of the LORD your God, and the priests, the Levites, bearing it, then you shall set out from your place and go after it. 4 Yet there shall be a space between you and it, about two thousand cubits by measure. Do not come near it, that you may know the way by which you must go, for you have not passed this way before.”
OUR GREAT CHALLENGE
These are great words for us as a church. YOU HAVE NOT PASSED THIS WAY BEFORE! Today, we stand at the beginning of a journey that none of us desired. A journey that we didn’t want to take, a journey that we didn’t want to start. But we must! And, we must understand that this journey will be impossible if we merely depend on our abilities to lead us. No, we must lean on God and God alone to lead us. We must understand the principle of NOT I, BUT CHRIST!
Here, we read of Joshua and the children of Israel as they begin their journey without Moses. We read how God told them to go down to the Jordan and to cross it. That God would be with them. That God would lead them. That God would deliver them. And, they trusted Him.
Here in Chapter 3, they went down to the river and prepared to do exactly what God had commanded. And though they believed in God’s plan, they believed that God would do exactly what he had told them, they didn’t simply forge ahead. They knew God would deliver them, yet, they waited. They waited three days. Why? Because they faced a challenge of immense proportions and they knew they didn’t have what it would take to do it on their own. NOT I, BUT CHRIST!
In verse 15, it refers to the fact that at this time, the river was overflowing its banks. It was a raging river, the currents were dangerous. This was a challenge. Joshua and the people of Israel knew that there was a challenge before them. So, they waited. They camped for three days, waiting for God to prepare them for the challenge.