Entering into the Promised Land/ Or Crossing Jordon.
A little background is necessary:
Israel had been brought out of Egypt with power.
And they had been brought through the wilderness to Mt. Sinai, where God made a covenant with them; giving them the Ten Commandments, and ordinances or rules to live by when they came into the land.
The generation that came from Egypt were rebellious; so God kept them from entering into the land, but did not take His mercy from Israel, the nation; but brought the second generation to the brink of Jordon, to possess the land God promised Abraham to give to his descendants.
Joshua 3:1 “And Joshua rose early in the morning, and they removed from Shittim, and came to Jordon, he and all the children of Israel, and lodged there before they passed over.”
Notice Joshua, the leader of Israel, rose early. He was energetic in his duties.
They lodged three days before the Jordon. If it was time to go, why wait three days?
When they will enter Canaan before Jericho, they will find that the inhabitants have all run into the city, for protection. They will not take all the corn or grain they had harvested the last year, and it will feed Israel.
Three days of waiting, would reward them greatly, when they crossed over Jordan.
An announcement is made the second day:
Joshua 3:3-5 “And they commanded the people, saying, When ye see the Ark of the Covenant of the Lord your God, and the priests the Levites bearing it, then shall you remove from your place, and go after it.
Yet there shall be a space between you and it, about two thousand cubits by measure: come not near unto it, that ye may know the way by which ye must go: for ye have not passed this way heretofore.
And Joshua said unto the people, Sanctify yourselves: for tomorrow the Lord will do wonders among you.”
It would be the Ark of the Covenant, the symbol of God among them, which would lead them through the Jordan.
The Priests carry the Ark with poles on their shoulders; so the Priests would have the privilege, and the responsibility of going into Jordan first.
The people were to keep a distance between them and the Ark. For the Lord wanted them to see all the wonders that were going to happen. And how they happened.
The people were to sanctify themselves or to set themselves aside in their thinking and actions to the Lord, and His Way of working.
They would learn to stay in place, their place, and see all that He will do for them, in that place.
From the first tribe which would cross, after the Ark was in Jordan, to the last; all would see God’s wonders for them.
Joshua 3:6, 8, 13 “And Joshua spake unto the priests, saying, Take up the Ark of the Covenant, and pass over before the people. And they took up the Ark of the Covenant, and went before the people.
And thou shalt command the priests that bear the Ark of the Covenant, saying, When you are come to the brim of the river Jordan, ye shall stand still in Jordan.
And it shall come to pass, as soon as the soles of the feet of the priests that bare the Ark of the Lord, the Lord of all the earth, shall rest in the waters of Jordan, that the waters of Jordan shall be cut off from the waters that come down from above; and they shall stand upon a heap.”
Picture it: All Israel is up, waiting for their turn to cross the river Jordan.
And they see the priests carrying the Ark of the Covenant moving out toward the river.
Nothing changes, nothing happens, till the priests and the Ark, carried on their shoulders, get into the water.
The Priests were to walk into the overflowing Jordan, carrying the Ark on their shoulders.
They were to get their feet wet. They were to go into the midst of Jordan, but it was promised that they would stand there on dry ground.
Sanctify, again, means to set themselves aside to God’s use.
God was going to use the Priests obedience as “the signal” for the waters to stop coming down. To be halted and piled up. He would do this miracle, but at the time the priests went into the river, only.
And all Israel would see it, follow them into Jordan’s river bed; and walk around them on dry ground.
Joshua 3:14-16 “And it came to pass, when the people removed from their tents, to pass over Jordan, and the priests bearing the Ark of the Covenant before the people;
And as they that bare the Ark unto Jordan, and the feet of the priests that bare the Ark were dipped into the brim of the water, (for Jordan overfloweth all his banks all the time of harvest,)
That the waters that came down from above stood and rose up upon a heap very far from the city Adam, that is beside Zaretan: and those that came down toward the sea of the plain, even the salt sea, failed, and were cut off: and the people passed over right against Jericho.”
It happened just as the Lord told Joshua it would. They were now in the land God had promised them; “right against Jericho”. They were in the right place.
Joshua 3:17 “And the priests the bare the Ark of the Covenant of the Lord stood firm on dry ground in the midst of Jordan, and all the Israelites passed over on dry ground, until all the people were passed clean over Jordan.”
This is an amazing wonder. There was no time between the feet of the priests going into the Jordan, and the waters being cut off.
But they did not know exactly how things would go. They believed God would do what He said, and they obeyed; but when, or how much water they would walk into, they did not know.
They determined to do their duty, looking to God to see to the rest.
Trust in the Lord is a wonderful thing. Trust holds on to God, and His Word:
Isaiah 26:3 “Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on thee: because he trusteth in thee.”
They trusted the Lord, and their trust was rewarded.
Joshua 4:10-11 “For the priests that bare the Ark stood in the midst of Jordan, until everything was finished that the Lord commanded Joshua to speak unto the people, according to all that Moses commanded Joshua: And the people hasted and passed over.
And it came to pass, when all the people were clean passed over, that the Ark of the Lord passed over, and the priests, in the presence of the people.”
Joshua 4:18 “And it came to pass, when the priests that bare the Ark of the Covenant of the Lord were come up out of the midst of Jordan, and the soles of the priests feet were lifted up unto the dry land, that the waters of Jordan returned unto their place, and flowed over all his banks, as they did before.”
Everything was now put back the way it was, and Israel was in the land. They were camped in Canaan.
God had opened the way for them, and He will do the same with us. No, we will not need to cross Jordan for this; but the way He opens doors is often (to us, anyway) as miraculous.
He can stop someone or something; and at the same time tell us to move forward. To “get our feet wet” by obedience to His Word.
Trust is know the Lord has told you to do this, and to do it; hanging hard on to Him and His Word.
That does not mean there will not be “battles” ahead. (There were many in front of Israel). But it does mean that He will be with us, guiding us, and strengthening us for the days ahead.
Believe and Trust Him. Trust and Obey. And see that God will honor His Word.