Joshua 3

Joshua 3 has yet another water event as God takes His people across the mighty Jordan River.  Joshua gives some very specific instructions as to how God is going to make this possible.  The priests carrying the ark of the covenant would lead the way and walk into the water.  The rest of the people were to follow, but not too closely.  Scripture tells them to be about ½ mile behind.  But before any action, Joshua tells the people to “Consecrate yourselves, for tomorrow the Lord will do wonders among you”.  They’ve been camped a little ways from the Jordan for years, waiting for God’s time to cross.  Now the day is almost here.

Joshua has to be pretty excited.  It’ll be his first big test as a leader. He gets up and hears from God that “Today I will begin to exalt you in the sight of all Israel, that they may know that, as I was with Moses, so I will be with you”.   It’s really the first step in his new role as leader of God’s people.  But there is quite a challenge ahead.  It is flood season, and he is to lead the entire camp across a river that is raging.  At flood stage, the river can swell to a mile wide and up to 150 feet deep.  That is a pretty overwhelming task.  But God tells him exactly how to lead the people through it.

When you come to the brink of the waters of the Jordan, you shall stand still in the Jordan. And when the soles of the feet of the priests bearing the ark of the Lord, the Lord of all the earth, shall rest in the waters of the Jordan, the waters of the Jordan shall be cut off from flowing, and the waters coming down from above shall stand in one heap”.  Can you imagine watching the priests step into the raging waters and then seeing God begin to back up the water so it built up into a ‘heap’ as it continued to flow but was unable to move past them.  The water began to back up about 20 miles upstream which allowed the people time to cross over on dry ground.

This is a big deal obviously, because getting not only the entire people of God across but all their possessions and livestock and the rest would not be a quick trip.  But God was again faithful to His Word.  Scripture tells us “the priests bearing the ark of the covenant of the Lord stood firmly on dry ground in the midst of the Jordan, and all Israel was passing over on dry ground until all the nation finished passing over the Jordan”.  The priests had to demonstrate faith to get things started as they stepped into the water.  It wasn’t until they took that step of faith that God did what He said and backed up the waters.  That is often how faith works.  We need to act and watch what God does as a result!

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