Summary: Some great principles about faith found in Israel’s crossing of the Jordan River.

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A Study of the Book of Joshua

Sermon # 3

Stepping Out On Faith

Joshua 3: 1-17

Dr. John R. Hamby

For Christians today crossing of the Jordan represents passing from one level of the Christian life to another. It is not a picture of a believer dying and entering heaven. Canaan was not heaven it was a place that had to be won by hard work. Canaan is a picture of entering into spiritual warfare to claim what God has promised.

Tonight I want us to examine some great principles about faith found in Israel’s crossing of the Jordan River.


(vv. 1-2a)

“Then Joshua rose early in the morning; and they set out from Acacia Grove and came to the Jordan, he and all the children of Israel, and lodged there before they crossed over. (2) So it was, after three days,

The spies had returned from Jericho and given a favorable report. Joshua orders the Israelites to move to the edge of the Jordan River and wait for further instructions.

The Israelite were to wait when waiting was difficult. Those three days of waiting at the Jordan river were days of preparation for crossing it. The issue of waiting is seen in the first phrase of verse two, “So it was, after three days,”

As they waited they no doubt became increasingly aware that crossing the Jordan River was impossible. The Jordan River that was only about 100 ft. wide most of the year, but during the spring flood stage, which it was now, became up to a mile wide.

As they faced the difficulties there had to be many conflicting proposal being offered. Some of them no doubt were saying, “Let’s go back!” Some were saying, “Hey it looks pretty good on this side of the river to me.” Some no doubt examined the various ways of crossing the river. They could not swim across. They couldn’t build enough rafts or boats to transport over a million people. They did not have time to build a bridge. There was only way around their problem and that was through it.

It was a the very time that the people were faced with the tremendous difficulties and they knew that they were at the end of their resources that God would be able to show his power. But it is never about what we can do, it is always about what the Lord is able to do. The apostle Paul says in Ephesians

(3:20) ”Now to Him who is able to do far more abundantly beyond all that we ask or think, according to the power that works within us”

Have you ever seen those flashing electronic signs on the highway which say, “Expect Delays” that is pretty sound advise but lets admit it, waiting on God is hard to do!


(vv. 2b-4)

When it was time to go, God gave the Israelites some specific instructions (vv. 2b-4), “So it was, after three days, that the officers went through the camp; (3) and they commanded the people, saying, “When you see the ark of the covenant of the LORD your God, and the priests, the Levites, bearing it, then you shall set out from your place and go after it. (4) Yet there shall be a space between you and it, about two thousand cubits by measure. Do not come near it, that you may know the way by which you must go, for you have not passed this way before.”

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