Summary: Don't run ahead of God's leaders.
“Joshua and the people got up early in the morning and set out for the Jordan . . . then officers reminded the people . . . ‘When you see the Ark of the Covenant . . . go quickly over the Jordan . . . stay about 3,000 feet away . . . you have not come this way before’ . . . Joshua said to the people, ‘Sanctify yourselves for the Lord will do the miraculous’” (Josh. 3:1-5, ELT).
1. Start early. “Got up early in the morning” (v. 1).
2. Be on time. “They set out from Acacia Grove” (v. 1). There are early people, late people . . . what do you call those who plan to be right on time, late.
3. Be in the right place. “Lodged there before they crossed” (v. 1).
4. Obey orders. “The officers . . . commanded the people” (v. 2-3).
5. Remember the key word to the blessing of God: together. You are not the only one following God.
6. Know what God expects of you. “You shall set out from your place” (v. 3).
7. Act confidently on what you have been told and what you know to do. “That you may know” (v. 4).
8. Realize the importance of the event. “You have not passed this way before” (v. 4).
9. God may give new paths for new challenges.
10. Don’t be lazy or procrastinate. “The people hurried and crossed over” (4:11, LB).
11. Plan to learn everything you can from the event.
12. Don’t let your sin prohibit God’s work. “Sanctify yourselves . . . the Lord will do wonders before you” (v. 5).
The ABCs of Usefulness
A – admit and repent
B – believe God will hear and bless you
C – confess all sins claiming His cleansing
“As the feet of the priest . . . dipped in the water, the waters which came down from upstream stood still and rose up in a heap . . . beside Zaretan” (v. 16, LB).
13. Obey with action-faith.
a. A miracle that used the laws of nature.
b. A miracle of timing. “As the feet dipped.”
c. A miracle of place. “The waters dried up.”
14. When God was in the middle of the river, the miracle continued. “The priest . . . stood still in the midst of the Jordan” (v. 17).
15. Leaders must go find, stand throughout, and be the last to leave.
16. Don’t run ahead of God’s leaders.
“Those who bore the Ark came to the Jordan . . . stood firm on the dry land in the midst of the Jordan until the people had crossed completely . . . when all the people had crossed over completely, then the Ark of the Lord and the priest crossed over” (3:17, 4:11).
17. God was with them in danger and in the miracle. The Ark is identified with “the Lord” (4:11).
18. Always be ready for problems and danger. “Crossed over armed before the children of Israel” (4:12).
19. The law of the division of labor. God did the providential miracle; Israel was prepared to fight.
20. Leaders are shepherds who must lead, feed and protect sheep.
21. A leader must stand firm as well as minister, preach, and pray. “The priests’ feet stood firm” (4:9).
“The twelve men, one from each of the twelve tribes of Israel . . . each took a stone from out of the bottom of the Jordan where the priests’ feet stood firm and carry them to the place where you shall lodge tonight . . . then set them in Gilgal . . . when your children shall ask, ‘What are those stones?’ Then tell your children Israel crossed Jordan on dry land . . . that all those peoples of the earth shall know the hand of the Lord is mighty, and that you may fear the LORD your God’” (4:2-3; 21-24, ELT).
22. The story of this miracle must be passed to future generations.
23. Twelve stone-carriers represented the faith of all.
24. We need outward monuments to testify of God’s greatness. Be a monument-maker.
25. The bottom of the river reminds us where we came from.
26. Testify both to believers and unbelievers.
27. Some memorials are only in our mind. “Joshua set up twelve stones in the midst of the Jordan where the priests stood . . . they are there until this day” (4:9).
28. Every miracle comes to an end. “When the feet of the priest touched dry land the waters of the Jordan returned” (4:10, LB).
29. Some of God’s greatest miracles came at a time of greatest challenge. “The waters of the Jordan overflowed all its banks” (4:18, LB).
30. Let’s expect great things for fall 2012!