Summary: This sermon deals on how to overcome your obstacles based on Joshua 3. Simple steps to overcome your obstacles based on how the Israelites crossed flooding Jordan river.
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God does not place us on this planet without purpose. He has a divine design for each of us. But as we seek to follow His direction, difficulties confront us. Everyone one of us sometimes arrive at crossroads in our lives. Many times we get discouraged and lose heart. With God, we face life obstacles as challenges and overcome them in His strength. They become stepping stones for us, opportunities where we experience God’s power and develop strong faith in God to overcome your obstacles.
The two spies had returned from Jericho, having followed Joshua’s orders to check out the land and the city. They had escaped discovery with Rahab’s help, and now they give their report to Joshua. Their hearts were bursting with joy as they said the words of Joshua 2:24 They said to Joshua, “The Lord has surely given the whole land into our hands; all the people are melting in fear because of us.”
This was the news Joshua had been waiting for. Immediately he dispatched men throughout the vast camp of Israel, announcing that first thing the next morning, they would break camp and pitch their tents on the banks of the Jordan River. They would finally come to the entry point of the Promised Land. Joshua 3:1 Early in the morning Joshua and all the Israelites set out from Shittim and went to the Jordan, where they camped before crossing over.
I’m sure there was a great buzz among the Israelites, “This is the day! We stand in the brink of a dream. Our forefathers blew it here, but this time we will obey!”
But as they approached the famous river that formed a barrier between them and their longed-for real estate, what they saw by the light of day was both confusing and dreadful. The Jordan was defiantly uncrossable! Joshua 3:15 Now the Jordan is at flood stage all during harvest.
Now the Jordan overflows its banks throughout the harvest season. It stretches over 320 km from Mount Hermon to the Dead Sea, furiously plummeting from several hundred feet above sea level to approximately 1300 feet below sea level. Normally the Jordan is not difficult to cross. It is narrow and shallow. But when Joshua led the children of Israel to the Jordan it was spring. The snows had melted on Mount Hermon. The normally dry wadies that flowed into the Jordan were raging currents inundating the main river. No longer mild and tame, the Jordan was a raging river at flood stage. During the dry season, at its widest point, the Jordan was 100 feet wide, now it was over a mile wide. Moreover, the banks of the river had bushes which was non-discernable during the flood. The Israelites were at an impasse.
This was the sight that greeted the multiple hundreds of thousands that pitched their tents alongside the river.
Joshua 3:2 After three days the officers went throughout the camp. The Bible tells us that they spent the next three days right there. They are looking at Jordan and don’t know what to do. The waiting pounded reality into every Israelite. You could hear the doubts over night fires: “Maybe the strong among us can brave this flood, but how can we cross with infants, with the sickly, with the aged, all our possessions on the wagons?
1. Principle of Before.
The before principle manifests itself in everyday life. There are battles before victory. There are struggles before celebration. There are steps before arrivals. There is practice before perfection. There is preparation before completion. There is matriculation before graduation.
Over and over in Scripture this pattern is repeated: The Israelites had to march to the Red Sea before God parted it. Namaan had to wash seven times in the water before God cured him of leprosy. Gideon had to reduce his army from 32,000 down to 300 before God would deliver them from the Midianities. The loaves and fishes were given up before Jesus multiplied them. Peter had to obey Jesus to row out to deep water before he caught a boatload of fish.
Obedience has to precede a breakthrough.
Illustration: The following letter was found in a baking powder can wired to the handle of an old pump that offered the only hope of drinking water on a very long and seldom-used trail across the Amargosa Desert, Nevada, USA.
“This pump is all right as of June 1932. I put a new sucker washer into it and it ought to last five years. But the washer dries out and the pump has got to be primed. Under the white rock I buried a bottle of water, out of the sun and cork end up. There’s enough water in it to prime the pump, but not if you drink some first. Pour about one fourth and let her soak to wet the leather. Then pour in the rest medium fast and pump like crazy. You’ll get water. The well has never run dry. Have faith. When you get watered up, fill the bottle and put it back like you found it for the next perso.” – Desert Pete