Summary: Part three in the expository series from Joshua. The focus is crossing the Jordan and the example we should follow when facing the same barriers in life.
THE CANAAN CONQUEST – PART THREE
OVERCOMING OUR OBSTACLES: FACING OUR JORDAN
Joshua 3:1-6; 14-17 - ©Dr. Larry L. Thompson (2007)
Because of their unbelief, Israel was sentenced to wander in the wilderness for 40 years. Those years have now expired and the children of Israel are poised to enter into Canaan Land. They are ready to claim their inheritance in the land of promise. However, before they can enter Canaan, they must first get past one final, major obstacle: the Jordan River. Normally, this would not have presented much of a problem, since the Jordan was only 100 feet wide at Gilgal where they crossed. However, it seems that God always does things in such a way that no man can boast of having done them on their own. This crossing would be no exception. Read Joshua 3:15a: “Now the Jordan is at flood stage all during harvest.”
God brought them to the Jordan River at the time of harvest! Those who have been there during the harvest time know that at Gilgal the Jordan swells to an impassable width of almost one mile. It was over almost 20 times wider than it normally would have been when Israel arrived. There was no way they could cross this river on their own! They needed supernatural help.
Today you must understand that every one of us will face Jordans in our life from time to time! When we look at the obstacles that stand between us and spiritual victory in our own Canaan Conquest, we may feel that we will never be able to enter into victory! While I do not know what kind of obstacles that you face in your life, I do know the God who specializes in overcoming the overwhelming and in leading His children to victory.
This morning, I want us to examine how we face the Jordans in our life and learn the spiritual principles that enable us to overcome instead of being overwhelmed. Here is some encouragement for you today: what worked for Israel over 3000 years ago will still work for you and me today. In chapters 3 & 4 WE WILL LEARN THREE POWERFUL PRINCIPLES we must follow if we are to live in the Land of Promise and Overcome our Obstacles.
I. A MESSAGE TO EXAMINE (3:1-13)
In this first principle it is imperative that we realize God has a very important and very direct message that each of us must examine if we are to successfully cross the Jordans in our life and experience the Canaan Conquest. This message can be easily understood by realizing it involves a challenge, a command and a commitment!
A. THE CHALLENGE (3:1-4)
“Early in the morning Joshua and all the Israelites set out from Shittim and went to the Jordan, where they camped before crossing over. 2 After three days the officers went throughout the camp, 3 giving orders to the people: "When you see the ark of the covenant of the LORD your God, and the priests, who are Levites, carrying it, you are to move out from your positions and follow it. 4 Then you will know which way to go, since you have never been this way before. But keep a distance of about a thousand yards between you and the ark; do not go near it." (3:1-4)
To overcome the obstacles in our life we need to understand God’s challenge in His message to us. His challenge involves our commitment to…
• WATCH GOD - "When you see the ark of the covenant of the LORD your God…” (3:2b)
Notice the Ark of the Covenant is mentioned 7 times in chapter 3. The Ark was the special piece of Tabernacle furniture that symbolized the presence and power of God. When the Ark was in the Holy of Holies, the glory of God rested upon it and it was the dwelling place of God. To Israel, the ARK of the COVENANT represented God’s presence in the midst of His people. In other words, when God moved, they were to move. When God stopped they stopped. They were to watch the Ark of the Covenant!
There is a valuable spiritual lesson for us here. In times of crisis, or when we need direction in life we must be sensitive to the activity of the Lord in and around us. It is a fact that God loves you and He will show you what He is doing! “Jesus gave them this answer: "I tell you the truth, the Son can do nothing by Himself; He can do only what He sees His Father doing, because whatever the Father does the Son also does. 20 For the Father loves the Son and shows Him all He does. Yes, to your amazement He will show Him even greater things than these.” John 5:19-20