Joshua Chapter Three (Part Two)

Introduction: A key idea in Joshua is that God blesses obedience. Today, we hope to continue our discussion of the crossing of the Jordan River.

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Read Joshua 3:9-17

D. The Crossing of the Jordan River. (Continuation) Joshua explains to the people how they will know that God is in the midst. They are to follow the ark, trusting God to provide the victory.

The priest led the people into the flooded Jordan. But God dried up the river, so the people went over on dry land.

Applications -

- Doing God’s will. Notice in vss. 9-10 that Joshua talks to the people (i.e., sometimes through officers and other times directly) about how this is a God thing.

First, it is important for the leader to be able to talk to the people both directly and through officers. It is a terrible situation, when officers cannot be trusted to communicate accurately on behalf of the leader.

Second, it is important for people of God to understand that what is being asked of them is based on what God is calling for them to do.

When God is not mentioned, people tend to do things for their own agenda or for the agenda of others. Or they fail to participate because they don’t see how God is involved.

Third, it is important for us to make sure we are doing God’s will. God’s will is supported by godly/Biblical principles. Let’s work on communicating how what we do is based on God’s will.

- Taking from sinners and giving to God’s people. Notice in vs. 10 that the blessings of God are to be taken from sinners. First, since God owns everything, He has the right to redistribute to whom He chooses.

Second, it is obviously to our advantage to make sure we are God’s people, so we can be blessed. God wants to bless His people. The way to make sure we are God’s people is to accept Jesus as our savior by faith, instead of being a Jew, as in the text.

Third, the wealth of the sinner is stored up for the righteous (see Pro. 13:22). This means the righteous should not be jealous of what God allows the sinner to hold on to for a little while.

It also means that the sinner should focus on being righteous more than having temporary wealth. Let’s work on making sure that we are right with God, so we can enjoy the blessings that He has for His people.

- Representation. Notice in vs. 12 of Joshua that representatives of the tribes are chosen. It is a good idea to have ample representation of those involved, when big decisions are being made and actions are being taken. The more representation, the more ownership people are likely to have.

Conversely, when there is no representation, people are more likely to criticize “your” plan and actions. Let’s seek the wisdom and courage to have ample representation, with especially big decisions and actions.

This is relevant for family, church, and community. A supposition of this application is that godly representatives are available. This triggers the following application: be open to God using you as a representative.

- Trusting God to do His part. Notice in vs. 13 that the congregation had to trust God to do His part - stop the water from flowing. Normally, when God calls His people to do a great work for Him, there comes a point where there must be an absolute dependence on Him.  

In our text, no one expected Joshua to dry up the water. The expectation was that God would handle that. In like manner, as we strive to do God’s will today, we should learn that there are some things that are beyond the control of the leader, the helpers, and followers.

Some things are absolutely in God’s hands. Let’s work on trusting God to do His part. When He doesn’t come when and how we want Him, we should trust that He will be on time with the right stuff.

- Stepping in the water. Notice in vss. 15-16 that stepping in the water was a prerequisite for the miraculous stoppage. There are some who never experience the miraculous stoppage, because they don’t have the faith to get their feet wet. They are not willing to stretch out on faith.

We should remember that faith without works is dead. On the other hand, we should also make sure that what we are doing is God’s will. If God were not in it, the Jews could have been drowned. Let’s work on discerning and obeying God’s will for our lives.

Prayerfully study of God’s word and wise counsel can help us with discernment. Obedience is a matter of simply stepping out on God’s word.

- Unity in faith-based actions. Notice in vs. 17 that the priests and officers obeyed what God told Joshua. First, there are many times when what God tells the leader, God doesn’t tell anyone else. We should pray for the leader’s discernment, so he will not lead us the wrong way.

Second, when the leader and helpers are operating in unity, it is easier for the people to follow leadership. But when the leader and helpers are not on the same page, there is sure to be trouble. Let’s work on being as united in faith-based actions as we see in the text.

Conclusion: Let’s work on obeying God. God has much for those who obey His will.

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