Summary: Looking forward to a new year and a new pastor

You have Not Passed this Way Before

Joshua 3:1-17

Last Wednesday evening I made a statement that we all like new things. A new car. A new house. A new watch, A new hair do. A new suit etc. It is natural to like new things. We all have something new every year that is a new year. The old year is passed and we stand on the brink of a new year. We could look at last year and see where we have been. We could look at out past mistakes and vow not to make the same ones again. We could start out the New Year by making resolutions. We could make all kinds of promises about turning over a new leaf and doing things better next year. And then when 2007 comes to an end we are apt to find a trail of excuses and broken promises.

The New Year started off rather uniquely for a "nameless" woman in Laingsburg, Michigan. She heard "angry, accented voices" coming from her living room. Fearing her husband was being held hostage by terrorists; she hid in a bathroom closet and whispered to the police on her cellular phone. Sheriff’s deputies and a state trooper surrounded the house as the woman stayed on the phone line. They entered the house with guns drawn only to find a man sitting on the couch watching TV - alone! Police graciously did not release the woman’s name.

At least she was partially right - TV, and many other pastimes, do hold many people hostage. What bad habits and old patterns do you want to break this New Year?

Today we want to examine a scripture that speaks to us in this day and time. Our lives and this church can be compared to the children of Israel when they were preparing to cross the Jordan River to take possession of the Promised Land.

Let’s read about it in Joshua 3:1-16

Joshua started early the next morning and left Acacia Grove with all the Israelites. They went as far as the Jordan and stayed there before crossing.

After three days the officers went through the camp

and commanded the people: "When you see the ark of the covenant of the LORD your God carried by the Levitical priests, you must break camp and follow it.

But keep a distance of about 1,000 yards between yourselves and the ark. Don’t go near it, so that you can see the way to go, for you haven’t traveled this way before."

Joshua told the people, "Consecrate yourselves, because the LORD will do wonders among you tomorrow."

Then he said to the priests, "Take the Ark of the Covenant and go on ahead of the people." So they carried the Ark of the Covenant and went ahead of them.

The LORD spoke to Joshua: "Today I will begin to exalt you in the sight of all Israel, so they will know that I will be with you just as I was with Moses.

Command the priests carrying the Ark of the Covenant: ’When you reach the edge of the waters, stand in the Jordan.’"

Jos 3:9 Then Joshua told the Israelites, "Come closer and listen to the words of the LORD your God."

He said, "You will know that the living God is among you and that He will certainly dispossess before you the Canaanites, Hittites, Hivites, Perizzites, Girgashites, Amorites, and Jebusites

when the ark of the covenant of the Lord of all the earth goes ahead of you into the Jordan.

Now choose 12 men from the tribes of Israel, one man for each tribe.

When the feet of the priests who carry the ark of the LORD, the Lord of all the earth, come to rest in the Jordan’s waters, its waters will be cut off. The water flowing downstream will stand up in a mass."

When the people broke camp to cross the Jordan, the priests carried the Ark of the Covenant ahead of the people.

Now the Jordan overflows its banks throughout the harvest season. But as soon as the priests carrying the ark reached the Jordan, their feet touched the water at its edge

and the water flowing downstream stood still, rising up in a mass that extended as far as Adam, a city next to Zarethan. The water flowing downstream into the Sea of the Arabah (the Dead Sea) was completely cut off, and the people crossed opposite Jericho.

The priests carrying the ark of the LORD’s covenant stood firmly on dry ground in the middle of the Jordan, while all Israel crossed on dry ground until the entire nation had finished crossing the Jordan.

Think for a moment if you will about all of these people preparing to cross the river Jordan. Someone has estimated the number of the Israelites to be 600,000 men plus women and children. That would make over 1.2 million

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