Summary: Life is filled with obstacles. Israel encountered the obstacle of a flooded river. Here in Joshua, there were three directives given to Israel before the crossing of the Jordan. I believe that there is application value in these directives for us as we


Joshua 3:15-17

Obstacles. The dictionary defines obstacles as “something that stands in the way or opposes”. Something that is between where you are, and where you want to go. Life is filled with obstacles. Some of them will be small, such as maybe a road block on the way to work, or some will be large, like diseases that keep you from being who and what you want to be. Michael A. Guido of Metter, Georgia, columnist of several newspapers wrote about an artist in Mexico who lost his right hand, his primary hand, while working on a statue. This lead to a lot of frustration. But the artist did not give up his work. He learned to carve with his left hand. His beautifully finished masterpiece was called ’In Spite Of. One of the best rifle shots was a man who belonged to my church in Montana. He was an avid hunter. Years ago, cataracts formed on his right eye, which was his pre-dominant eye. This obstacle hindered his shooting and affected his hunting. However, he loved the sport so much that he learned to shot left handed and I have personally watched him put bullet after bullet in a target at over 200 yards with ease. Booker T. Washington was born in slavery. Thomas Edison was deaf. Abraham Lincoln was born of illiterate parents. Lord Byron had a club foot. Robert Louis Stevenson had tuberculosis. Alexander Pope was a hunchback. Admiral Nelson had only one eye. Julius Caesar was an epileptic. All of these men faced obstacles that stood between where they were and where they wanted to go.

There are also spiritual obstacles as well. Things that hinder us and stand in our way of receiving God’s inheritance for us. These obstacles stand between where we are in our walk with God and where we would like to and should be. Every one of us here needs to be closer to the Lord but the question remains, “why aren’t we?” Because we have allowed something to stand in our way. Maybe it is a secret sin that we are holding on to, maybe it is a bad habit that is holding us back, maybe it is a spouse that doesn’t share the same love for God that you do, or maybe it is indifference, we’ve grown cold to the things of God. We know that we need to be closer to God, we need to be doing more for God, but we find an obstacle in the way. Satan himself is a master of placing obstacles or hindrances in the way. Even the great apostle Paul was not immune to Satan’s obstacles. 1 Thessalonians 2:18 Wherefore we would have come unto you, even I Paul, once and again; but Satan hindered us. Paul uses the Greek word evgko,ptw egkopto {eng-kop’-to} to impede one’s course by cutting off his way (by standing in the way). Much like the old cowboys who are going to cut them off at the pass, they ride quickly to get there ahead of the enemy so they will be in the way. That’s what Satan loves to do and he is good at it, he loves to place obstacles in the way.

Here in Joshua chapter three, Israel stands on the banks of the Jordan River. The land of promise is in view. They can look across the river and see all that God has promised them, their very own homeland flowing with milk and honey. Remember that they started out as slaves with nothing but now they stand on the brink of having their own homes, with their own land, to grow their own crops, and to worship their own God. Most of our old songs that we sing tend to view Canaan as heaven and we are waiting for the “Crossing of the Jordan”. However, someone once said that Canaan for the Christian did not so much represent heaven, even though it could, but represented the overcoming, spiritual life that God desires for each of His children. That what God desires for us to have, a victorious life as a believer. The children of Israel had traveled far, both in time and in distance. Canaan land is just in sight. However there is an obstacle. The Jordan River is there and now it is at flood stage. One scholar who had visited the Jordan River during the time of it’s flood stage described the river as being 14 feet above the normal level and with the water rushing quickly by, quite an obstacle for a million people with their children and their flocks. What were they going to do? Here in Joshua, there were three directives given to them before the crossing of the Jordan. I believe that there is application value in these directives for us as well. Let me share them with you this morning.

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Patrick Jackson

commented on Jan 6, 2007

Absolutely AWESOME

Jim Crews

commented on Jan 6, 2007

Great Word!

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