JOSHUA 3 Introduction: Joshua moved from Shittim to the River Jordan, where they stayed a short while, after

which the people were directed to move once they saw the Ark being borne by the priests, and the distance that they should keep from it. They were ordered to sanctify themselves, and then the priests to take up the Ark and go in front of the people. Joshua was encouraged by God, and instructed to command the priests, when they came to Jordan. So Joshua declared to all the people that God would drive the Canaanites from before them and as soon as the feet of the priests bearing the ark step in the waters of Jordan, the waters would be cut off, and make way for them to pass through. And this was what actually happened so that all the Israelites passed over on dry ground. A. The people are directed to follow the ark (vv.1-4). 1 Then Joshua rose early (Note 1) in the morning; and they set out from Acacia Grovea and came to the Jordan, he and all the children of Israel, and lodged there (Note 2) before they crossed over. 2 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 (Q1). Do not come near it, that you may know the way by which you must go, for you have not passed this way before.” Note 1: Joshua arises early just as our Lord Jesus did (Mark 1:35). Isaiah prophesied that the Messiah would rise morning by morning that He might hear from the Father concerning what He was to do, what He was to say, and where He was to go (Isaiah 50:4). Note 2: In Jos. 1:11, they were told that they should pass the river but at this point they still don't know how they can do it, yet they went forward in faith. Application: We must go on in our walk with God though we foresee difficulties, trusting Him to help us through when problems come our way. Let us proceed as far as we can, and depend on divine providence on which we find ourselves not sufficient. Q1: Why they have to follow the ark at some distance? B. They are commanded to sanctify themselves (v.5). 5 And Joshua said to the people, “Sanctify yourselves (Q2), for tomorrow the LORD will do wonders among you.” 1

Q2: Why do they need to sanctify themselves? C. The priests with the ark are ordered to take the lead (v.6). 6 Then Joshua spoke to the priests, saying, “Take up the ark of the covenant and cross over before the people” (Q3). So they took up the ark of the covenant and went before the people. Q3: Why did Joshua command the priests to take up the ark and take the lead? D. Joshua is exalted and made commander in chief (vv.7-8). 7 And the LORD said to Joshua, “This day I will begin to exalt you in the sight of all Israel (Note 3, Q4), that they may know that, as I was with Moses, so I will be with you. 8 You shall command the priests who bear the ark of the covenant, saying, ‘When you have come to the edge of the water of the Jordan, you shall stand in the Jordan.’ ” Note 3: God exalted Joshua at the banks of Jordan, and it was the same place where God exalted our Lord Jesus as Mediator. Remember, John was baptizing at Bethabara, the house of passage, and it was there also that when our Saviour was baptized, God declared Him saying: "This is my beloved Son". Q4: Why does God exalt people like Moses, Joshua, and especially our Lord Jesus in the sight of their people? E. Joshua announced to the people of what God is about to do for them (vv. 9-13). 9 So Joshua said to the children of Israel, “Come here, and hear the words of the LORD your God" (Note 4). 10 And Joshua said, “By this you shall know that the living God is among you (Note 5), and that He will without fail drive out from before you the Canaanites and the Hittites and the Hivites and the Perizzites and the Girgashites and the Amorites and the Jebusites: 11 Behold, the ark of the covenant of the Lord of all the earth is crossing over before you into the Jordan. 12 Now therefore, take for yourselves twelve men from the tribes of Israel, one man from every tribe. 13 And it shall come to pass, as soon as the soles of the feet of the priests who bear the ark of the LORD, the Lord of all the earth, shall rest in the waters of the Jordan, that the waters of the Jordan shall be cut off, the waters that come down from upstream, and they shall stand as a heap.” Note 4: In v.5 the Israelites were commanded to sanctify themselves and now Joshua calls them to hear the word of God, why? Because in 2

Jn17:17 we are told that the word of God is the mean of sanctification. Note 5: The true God, and God of power, not one of the dead gods of the heathen is among you. Though you see him not, nor having any graven image of Him, He is always with you to give you guidance, to bless you, and to be worshipped. F. River Jordan is cut off and Israel brought safely through it 17). (vv.14-

14 So it was, when the people set out from their camp to cross over the Jordan, with the priests bearing the ark of the covenant before the people, 15 and as those who bore the ark came to the Jordan, and the feet of the priests who bore the ark dipped in the edge of the water (for the Jordan overflows all its banks during the whole time of harvest), 16 that the waters which came down from upstream stood still, and rose in a heap very far away at Adam, the city that is beside Zaretan. So the waters that went down into the Sea of the Arabah, the Salt Sea, failed, and were cut off (Q5); and the people crossed over opposite Jericho. 17 Then the priests who bore the ark of the covenant of the LORD stood firm on dry ground in the midst of the Jordan; and all Israel crossed over on dry ground, until all the people had crossed completely over the Jordan (Note 6). Q5: Forty years earlier, when the children of Israel crossed the Red Sea, the water parted before they stepped in (Exodus 14). Why then they had to step in first before the water is cut off? Note 6: This passage over Jordan, as an entrance to Canaan, after their long, weary wanderings in the wilderness, shadowed out our coming to spiritual rest. Jesus, typified by the ark, is faithful enough to stand on His ground making sure that our passage through death to life is complete. Truly, He is the finisher and the perfector of our faith. Conclusion: Joshua was an early riser (v. 1; 6:12; 7:16; 8:10). He probably devoted that quiet time to praying and meditating on God’s Word (Josh. 1:8; Ps. 63:1). This is a good example for us to follow today. (See Mark 1:35.) We face an unknown future (v. 4) and need the Lord’s presence as we step out each day. God goes before us and we must follow as He directs. God knows the way, leads the way and opens the way. He is “Lord of all the earth” (v. 11), and there is nothing for us to fear. The priests had to get their feet wet before the nation could cross over, and that took faith. Your faith can encourage others in their walk with God. It takes great faith to walk through the water, but it takes even greater faith to walk on the water (Matt. 14:23–33). Are you still lingering on the banks or in the boat? The future is your friend when you follow the Lord and trust His promises. 3

Sign up to vote on this title
UsefulNot useful