1 Early in the morning Joshua and all the Israelites set out from Shittim and went to the Jordan, where they camped before crossing over. 2 After three days the officers went throughout the camp, 3 giving orders to the people: “When you see the ark of the covenant of the LORD your God, and the Levitical priests carrying it, you are to move out from your positions and follow it. 4 Then you will know which way to go, since you have never been this way before. But keep a distance of about two thousand cubits between you and the ark; do not go near it.”
5 Joshua told the people, “Consecrate yourselves, for tomorrow the LORD will do amazing things among you.”
6 Joshua said to the priests, “Take up the ark of the covenant and pass on ahead of the people.” So they took it up and went ahead of them.
7 And the LORD said to Joshua, “Today I will begin to exalt you in the eyes of all Israel, so they may know that I am with you as I was with Moses. 8 Tell the priests who carry the ark of the covenant: ‘When you reach the edge of the Jordan’s waters, go and stand in the river.’”
14 So when the people broke camp to cross the Jordan, the priests carrying the ark of the covenant went ahead of them. 15 Now the Jordan is at flood stage all during harvest. Yet as soon as the priests who carried the ark reached the Jordan and their feet touched the water’s edge, 16 the water from upstream stopped flowing. It piled up in a heap a great distance away, at a town called Adam in the vicinity of Zarethan, while the water flowing down to the Sea of the Arabah (that is, the Dead Sea) was completely cut off. So the people crossed over opposite Jericho. 17 The priests who carried the ark of the covenant of the LORD stopped in the middle of the Jordan and stood on dry ground, while all Israel passed by until the whole nation had completed the crossing on dry ground.
Here’s a little background story to this passage. Israel already conquered the cities on the side of Jordan they were camped at. They were settled there, but the land on the other side of the Jordan river was also included in God’s promised land. God already promised them victory over all their enemies, but before they can fight on the other side and claim the land for themselves, they must first cross the Jordan river.
We all have our own Jordans to cross. God always has a grander plan and a bigger promise for us on the other side of the river, but to get there, we must first cross a barrier. What is your Jordan?
Your Jordan can be…
- Anything or anyone who keeps you from claiming God’s promise
- Anything or anyone who keeps you from doing God’s will
- Anything or anyone who keeps you from fulfilling God’s calling
“When you see the ark of the covenant of the Lord your God, and the priests, who are Levites, carrying it, you are to move out from your positions and follow it. Then you will know which way to go, since you have never been this way before.
The moment that you see God move in your life, pack your bags and follow. That’s the only way we can know which way to go in our lives. Like Israel, we have never been this way before, but God has seen our future. He knows how best to lead us. So, even if it’s easier to stay on the other side of our Promised Land, we must follow God.
STEP 2: Consecrate yourself (Even if it hurts) And the Lord will do amazing things.
“Consecrate yourselves, for tomorrow the Lord will do amazing things among you.”
Consecration is one of those long words that mean something simple. To consecrate one’s self is to clean and save yourself for better use. If we turn from our old ways and let God use us only for His purposes alone, we can expect to see amazing things happen in our lives. I can say this because my life is a testimony to this. When I consecrated myself, God started to do amazing things in my life. He blessed me with things and people who never would have been mine if I didn’t turn back to Him. For that, I’m really thankful. God is good.
STEP 3: Stand in the river (Even if it’s scary) and all Israel will cross on dry ground.
‘When you reach the edge of the Jordan’s waters, go and stand in the river.’
The priests who carried the ark of the covenant of the Lord stood firm on dry ground in the middle of the Jordan, while all Israel passed by until the whole nation had completed the crossing on dry ground.
Joshua 3:8, 17
Our old mental pictures of what the Jordan looks like are generally inaccurate. Jordan River is not a shallow bubbling brook. It’s a rushing river that can sweep anyone of their intended path. To be told to go and stand in the river is not an easy thing to say, “Yup” to. But the promise is worth the risk. All of Israel will cross on dry ground. The moment that we take that step in the river, God will pull all the water away and ensure not just our safety, but that of our whole Israel as well.
It’s time to cross our Jordan and claim our Promised Land. So,
STAND IN THE RIVER.
And you’ll be on your Promised Land soon enough.
That’s my two cents on that.