Monday, April 07, 2008
The Invasion of Canaan – Joshua 3:1-17
Joshua 3:1-17 (New Living Translation)
The Israelites Cross the Jordan
1 Early the next morning Joshua and all the Israelites left Acacia Grove and arrived at the banks of the Jordan River, where they camped before crossing. 2 Three days later the Israelite officers went through the camp, 3 giving these instructions to the people: “When you see the Levitical priests carrying the Ark of the Covenant of the LORD your God, move out from your positions and follow them. 4 Since you have never traveled this way before, they will guide you. Stay about a half mile behind them, keeping a clear distance between you and the Ark. Make sure you don’t come any closer.”
5 Then Joshua told the people, “Purify yourselves, for tomorrow the LORD will do great wonders among you.”
6 In the morning Joshua said to the priests, “Lift up the Ark of the Covenant and lead the people across the river.” And so they started out and went ahead of the people.
7 The LORD told Joshua, “Today I will begin to make you a great leader in the eyes of all the Israelites. They will know that I am with you, just as I was with Moses. 8 Give this command to the priests who carry the Ark of the Covenant: ‘When you reach the banks of the Jordan River, take a few steps into the river and stop there.’”
9 So Joshua told the Israelites, “Come and listen to what the LORD your God says. 10 Today you will know that the living God is among you. He will surely drive out the Canaanites, Hittites, Hivites, Perizzites, G i r g a s h i t e s, Amorites, and Jebusites ahead of you. 11 Look, the Ark of the Covenant, which belongs to the Lord of the whole earth, will lead you across the Jordan River! 12 Now choose twelve men from the tribes of Israel, one from each tribe. 13 The priests will carry the Ark of the LORD, the Lord of all the earth. As soon as their feet touch the water, the flow of water will be cut off upstream, and the river will stand up like a wall.”
14 So the people left their camp to cross the Jordan, and the priests who were carrying the Ark of the Covenant went ahead of them. 15 It was the harvest season, and the Jordan was overflowing its banks. But as soon as the feet of the priests who were carrying the Ark touched the water at the river’s edge, 16 the water above that point began backing up a great distance away at a town called Adam, which is near Zarethan. And the water below that point flowed on to the Dead Sea[c] until the riverbed was dry. Then all the people crossed over near the town of Jericho.
17 Meanwhile, the priests who were carrying the Ark of the LORD’s Covenant stood on dry ground in the middle of the riverbed as the people passed by. They waited there until the whole nation of Israel had crossed the Jordan on dry ground.
When the Israelites left the land of slavery, God parted the waters. Now, when they entered the land of promise God parted the waters. We have to remember that this is a new generation. All of the original people who fled Egypt had died in the wilderness. This generation was experiencing God’s greatness in a personal way. We will see in a couple of studies how this effects the Israelites after the battle of Ai.
We need to experience God’s greatness personally. We can’t live on our parents’ relationships with God. We can live on our grandparents’ relationships with God. We each have to ask Jesus to be our Lord and Savior. When we do this, Jesus abides in us and we in Him. This is great. Just as the Ark of the Covenant led the children through the river, God will lead us.
Some of us are leaders or are going to be leaders. We need to take heed to the Levites carrying the Ark. When Joshua gave the command, the Levites stepped into the water and as soon as the sole of the first foot touched the water, the river dried up. It wasn’t like when God parted the Red Sea. There wasn’t a wind that blew all night and dried it up. This was instantaneous. They couldn’t wait for the river to dry up first before they walked. They weren’t even told that the river would dry up. So, how much faith does it take to step into the storm? It is like going into a burning building to rescue somebody and as soon as you enter the house, the house fire stops. Consider the faith that it takes to do that.
We have to know that when God is on our side, He will take care of us. If we are in a prison cell and God wants us out, He will make a way. Just ask Paul and Silas.
Tomorrow: The Battle of Jericho – Joshua 5:13 – 6:27