Summary: The 3rd sermon in my Joshua series focuses on faith when we don’t immediately see God doing anything.
1. I hope you were as blessed as I was earlier when David Lotz shared the testimony of what God has been doing in his life since 40 Days of Purpose. I have been challenged as I’ve listened to a number of you tell me the things God has been doing.
2. The believers we read about in the Bible all had different backgrounds. They were all different, their training wasn’t the same, their personalities were not just alike, and the ways they served God were different; but they all did have one thing in common: They all believed God’s promises and were trying to do what He told them to.
3. As we spend the few minutes we will have together this morning let me remind you that what we are studying this morning relates to more than history. It’s much more than what God did centuries ago for the Jews. It’s about your life and the life of this church, it’s about what God wants to do here and now as we trust Him and are willing to step out in faith to follow Him.
4. That’s sort of what this entire series of sermons is about. We’re called to seek God’s will to be what He wants us to be. We’re to consider the, "Possibilities— the Dream of What God wants us to be." That’s where we find Israel in our study today, on the very edge of the promised land. They are finally ready to enter after all those years of hovering around the edges of what God had promised to them. Now tell me, doesn’t that also remind you a little bit of where we are as a congregation. Haven’t you felt that we were close to becoming the church that God wants us to be, but we haven’t quite got there yet. That’s why I’m so excited about this series of sermons. I am trusting God to use this book to help us take the next step toward living up to what God can do in our church.
5. With all this said, let’s turn to the passage we will be considering this morning & read it together. Because the passage is so lengthy, it doesn’t all appear in your handout, so I would encourage you to follow along in either your Bibles, or on the screen. Let’s read it together.
1 Then Joshua rose early in the morning; and he & all the sons of Israel set out from Shittim & came to the Jordan, & they lodged there before they crossed.
2 At the end of 3 days the officers went through the midst of the camp;
3 and they commanded the people, saying, "When you see the ark of the covenant of the LORD your God with the Levitical priests carrying it, then you shall set out from your place & go after it.
4 "However, there shall be between you & it a distance of about 2,000 cubits by measure. Do not come near it, that you may know the way by which you shall go, for you have not passed this way before."
5 Then Joshua said to the people, "Consecrate yourselves, for tomorrow the LORD will do wonders among you." -------
13 "It shall come about when the soles of the feet of the priests who carry the ark of the LORD, the Lord of all the earth, rest in the waters of the Jordan, the waters of the Jordan will be cut off, and the waters which are flowing down from above will stand in one heap."
14 So when the people set out from their tents to cross the Jordan with the priests carrying the ark of the covenant before the people,
15 and when those who carried the ark came into the Jordan, and the feet of the priests carrying the ark were dipped in the edge of the water (for the Jordan overflows all its banks all the days of harvest),
16 the waters which were flowing down from above stood and rose up in one heap, a great distance away at Adam, the city that is beside Zarethan; and those which were flowing down toward the sea of the Arabah, the Salt Sea, were completely cut off. So the people crossed opposite Jericho.
17 And the priests who carried the ark of the covenant of the LORD stood firm on dry ground in the middle of the Jordan while all Israel crossed on dry ground, until all the nation had finished crossing the Jordan. (NAS 95)
I. Getting Ready for God’s Work 3:1-12
1. They are now on the oasis of Jericho, which is about 5 miles from the river proper. They are in the final preparation for crossing the Jordan. Just over the Jordan River lies the land God had promised to their forefather Abraham hundreds of years earlier. But a major challenge lay between them and the land God had promised them, the river.