“And Joshua said to the people, ‘Sanctify yourselves, for tomorrow the Lord will do wonders among you.’ Then Joshua spoke to the priests, saying, ‘Take up the Ark of the Covenant and cross over before the people.’ So they took up the Ark of the Covenant and went before the people. And the Lord said to Joshua, ‘You shall command the priests who bear the ark of the covenant, saying, “When you have come to the edge of the water of the Jordan, you shall stand in the Jordan.”‘ So Joshua said to the children of Israel, ‘Come here, and hear the words of the Lord, your God.’ And Joshua said, ‘By this you shall know that the Living God is among you and that He will without fail drive out from before you the Canaanites and the Hittites and the Hevites and the Perizzites and the Girgashites and the Amorites and the Jebusites: Behold, the Ark of the Covenant of the Lord of all the earth is crossing before you into the Jordan.'”
(Joshua 3:5,6, 8-10)
Are you at a place in your journey where it seems to be no way that you can “cross over” to the other side? Take courage from the example God gives us in Joshua 3.
Up until this point, the children of Israel have been led by a cloud during the day and a pillar of fire by night as they trekked through the wilderness. Now they stood on the edge of the Jordan River, needing to cross over to Jericho. According to verse 15, the River Jordan was flooding – it “overflows all its banks during the whole time of harvest.” In the natural, crossing this swollen river was next to impossible. Yet, there was no other way to get to the other side.
Was Joshua shaken by this obstacle? No.
Joshua said to the people, “Sanctify yourselves – cleanse your hearts and devote yourself wholly to the Lord – for tomorrow the Lord will do wonders among you.”
And then Joshua instructed the priests to take up the Ark of the Covenant, stand in the edge of the river (take that first step of obedience) and the Lord will hold back the waters until His children cross over to dry land.
Why is this significant? Did you know you (as a Believer) are considered a priest? Revelations 1:5,6 reads, “To Him (Jesus) who loved us and washed us from our sins in His own blood, and has made us kings and PRIESTS to His God and Father…” You, Beloved, are a priest unto the Father. Consider this as we prepare to cross over to the other side.
OK. What was the significance of the Ark of the Covenant crossing over BEFORE them? The Ark represented the Presence of God. It contained articles of the covenant God made with His people: manna, Aaron’s rod and the tablets containing The Ten Commandments.
Every item contained within the Ark represents a foretaste of Jesus and our New Covenant with God:
Manna = Bread from heaven = the Bread of Life = Jesus
Aaron’s rod = the authority of Aaron miraculously established beyond any dispute when his rod blossomed overnight, according to the Word of the Lord (Numbers 17) = Jesus came through Aaron’s lineage and was given authority over all the earth.
The Ten Commandments = originally created by God to provide a standard for righteousness that His children might be set apart for Him = Jesus is our Righteousness. He is our bridge to the Lord God.
When we come to the edge of our promise, the Lord says, “Child, I AM with you. I go before you into the dangerous, threatening waters. Nothing is too difficult for Me.”
Why would this lesson be so important to our Lord?
Verse 10, “By this you shall know that the Living God is among you, and that He will without fail drive out from before you all of your enemies”
“By this you shall know…” By what?
By this…verse 11, “Behold, the Ark of the Covenant of the Lord of all the earth is crossing over before you into the Jordan.”
Behold, the Lord Jesus Christ will cross over before you, making straight the paths in the wilderness, the rough places smooth. He will part the waters so that you can cross over on dry ground.
But first, you must sanctify yourself. Pour out your heart to your Father. Confess your sins to Him, ask Him for a clean heart and begin anew, wholly devoted to the One Who loves you.
The Living God is among you and He will without fail drive out your enemies before you.
Lord God, Always – ALWAYS – You will make a way, if we will only trust You and obey Your instruction. Help us to learn from the children of Israel. Cause this lesson to take root in our hearts and grow until we know in our knower that You are God and absolutely nothing is too difficult for You. Thank You for Jesus, the embodiment of the New Covenant we have with You. Help us understand how rich the Word of the Living God truly is so that we will hunger and thirst after You.