Joshua 3

To The River

Joshua rose early the next morning and led the people approximately six miles to the Jordan. Negotiating this last part of the journey was difficult, so when they reached the Jordan, Israel camped and repositioned the army. At this point, there is no indication about how Joshua intended to have the people cross the river at flood stage, but three days later the plan began to be circulated among the people. The officers made their way through the camp and instructed the people to follow the ark of the covenant when they saw the Levitical priests bearing it in front of them. Israel would need to follow at a distance to see the Lord leading them and because it was unfamiliar territory. Joshua calls the people to consecrate themselves declaring that the Lord would do wonders among his people. He then directed the priests to take the ark and move ahead of the people. 

By The River

The Lord reveals more of his plan to Joshua and explains that he would use the events that day to exalt Joshua in the eyes of the people. This day would publicly demonstrate to Israel that Joshua was divinely commissioned just as his predecessor Moses had been. Joshua was to order the priests who bear the ark to wade into the river and stand there. Joshua hastens to the people announcing that they would know that the living God is among them and he would not fail to drive out the people of Canaan. He directs their attention to the ark moving before them and that each tribe should send a representative who presumably would follow the priests and the ark. Joshua details how the Lord would stop the waters of the Jordan when the priests stepped into the waters. 

Through The River

The people set out from their tents and approached the Jordan following after the ark of the covenant. Did the people walk in silence? Were necks straining to get a glimpse of the priests' feet? Was the air filled with the whispers of the people? The anticipation grew as the people watched the priests get closer and closer to the Jordan. The Jordan was not some small stream that could be easily crossed over. The river was at the annual flood stage, and the waters had already spilled over the banks. The priests walk into the water, the Jordan parts and the waters above the priests rose up in a heap away from them at some distance. The ground instantly became dry, and the people began to pass over opposite Jericho. Did the people shout? Did Joshua throw his hands in the air or fall to his knees in awe? How did the sound of the Jordan change? Was there a cloud of dust as the people walked through the river on dry ground? The entire nation of Israel crossed a body of water on the dry ground for the second time in their history. God was leading his people in triumph and confirming his leader.

Things To Consider:

  • What similarities do you see between the Jordan and the Red Sea?
  • What are the fundamental differences between the two?
  • Why should we walk in obedience even if we do not understand what God is doing?
  • How do we follow God today?
  • Should we consecrate ourselves today? Why or why not?
  • How does God confirm his leaders today?
  • Are you walking in obedience and following God?
  • Is there any water that you need to stand in by faith?