Summary: A step of faith can change everything. It did for Joshua and can for you too!


“Step into the Water”

Joshua 3:1-17

Every one of us at some point in our lives reach a time when we are called to make critical decisions-decisions that can be life-changing. We come to an intersection; a crossroads and we have to make a decision as to which way we will go-when we move forward or will we simply standstill? For me I have faced numerous times like this.

• At the age of 20 I dropped out of college-not sure what to do. I was offered a job that would require me to move 500 miles from home-I took it.

• At the age of 23 I fell in love with my best friend-she became my wife-took the plunge-40 years later-it is still a good decision.

• Now having served in the ministry for 41 years I’m still called upon to make decisions on behalf of the church and many times they can be difficult.

In chapter 3 the Israelites are standing at that kind of intersection. I want you to imagine that you have spent your entire life dreaming about just one thing-one thing you wanted to do-your parents and grandparents had the same dream and they would tell you stories from the time you were very young about how wonderful it would be when this one thing would finally come to pass. Now imagine that everyone you know... Everyone had the same dream... Can you imagine a church where everyone has the same dream? Can you imagine a city where everyone has the same vision? Now can you imagine an entire country all having one single desire? That is where the Israelites were.

Let’s put all of this into context. Moses has died. God chose Joshua as their new leader and he gave Joshua and the people this command-be strong and courageous and take the land and I will be with you always. Joshua then sent 2 spies out to get a handle on what would be waiting on them---now they have returned with a favorable report. Now 40 years has passed--40 years--most of us haven’t waited for anything for that length of time. An entire generation has passed--the nation that stands here now on the banks of the river was completely different than the nation that walked out of slavery in Egypt. And now the time has come. It is time to move to the Promised Land. You’re at that intersection---that critical point---and now it’s time to cross the river.

First they must get the people ready. They go through the camp and they instruct them to follow the priests. And there’s a great verse here--verse four--then you will know which way to go, since you have never been this way before. That’s the hard part isn’t it? God set something in front of you. It’s your Promised Land. That’s where God wants you to go. It’s where he wants you to be. But here’s the thing-you have never traveled this way before. So here is the first lesson God has for us when we are at this juncture.

{1} Get prepared. Verse five. He says consecrate yourself. Purify yourself. This is a new chapter-a new adventure-a fresh start and you have to allow God to be your guide. Here’s a hard lesson. If you expect God to moving your life in a big way and you must be prepared when you stand before him. You must be pure, you must be clean. All of us have sin in our lives but not all of us will admit it. Not to God or to anyone else. So were afraid to come to God because we’re ashamed. Some of us are involved in sin and we don’t want to admit it because then we realized we would have to give it up and the truth is we kind of like it. Joshua says, “Purify yourself for tomorrow the Lord will do great wonders among you.” The same is true today. You want God to do something great in your life tomorrow? Get prepared today.

{2} Go Stand in the River. The next morning Joshua gives these priests these instructions: “Get the Ark of the Covenant and lead us across the river.” And that’s all he says. Doesn’t give them a detailed plan. He just simply says, ”go get the Ark and stand in the river. So they start out. Verses seven and eight. The Lord speaks to Joshua here and now the instructions are slightly more specific... Just take a few steps into the river and stop. No explanation beyond that. Then when the entire nation has gathered at the edge of the river, Joshua tells everyone how they are going to get across. Look at verse 13.

Now how does a River pileup in one heap? You see, this isn’t the same miracle as the Red Sea miracle. At the Red Sea, God divided the waters and they went through. Here the water basically stops flowing. Understand that in the springtime of the year, the Jordan River gets in flood stage. It still happens. After a hard winter the ice on the mountains around it melts down and all the water runs into the river causing it to flood and that is exactly what had happened here. Look at verse 15. It was flood season. I don’t know if you’ve ever experienced a river that is flooding but it’s kind of frightening.

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