Joshua: Crossing the Jordan

Joshua 3:1-17

After a prolonged drought when the rain came, all
the animals in the forest were happy except the
Kangaroo. When the others asked him what the
reason was for such sadness, the Kangaroo
revealed that the rain meant that all its kids would
now be playing inside.

Last week we saw the amazing salvation story of Rahab
and how God chose her and changed her life. Earlier we
saw the transition of leadership from Moses to Joshua. If
you remember back that far, you will remember Joshua
was God’s Person, his leadership was part of God’s Plan,
God shared His Promise with Joshua and also Promised
His presence during his role as leader of Israel.

I’m reminding you of these because some of them are
going to come up again in this chapter.

Joshua 3:1-17

This chapter of Joshua reveals several key teachings God
has for Israel.

In the first verse we see God teaching Israel to have
Patience when facing Obstacles

Under Moses’ leadership Israel wandered around in the
wilderness for 40 years. Now, they are at the cusp of the
promised land, camped just feet away from the raging
Jordan river for three painstaking days. Imagine what
they are feeling, God has promised to take them across
the river, but it’s nearly bursting at the seams. In their
eyes there’s no way across. It seems uncrossable, yet
God told in three days they would cross the Jordan.
Remember, nothing shall be impossible with God!!
Everything happens according to God’s perfect timing.

Next, Israel is assured that they will be in the
Presence of God

Joshua sends the officers once more through the midst of
the camp to tell them to look out for the ark of the
covenant of the Lord.

This wasn’t the first time they followed the ark of the
covenant. Numerous times throughout the OT we read of
the Israelites carrying the ark of the covenant.

What was the ark of the covenant?
It was an ornate box or chest that was made of acacia
wood and overlaid with gold. It contained the 10
commandments, Aaron’s staff that budded and a jar of
manna. It also signified the presence of the Lord.

Remember, God had already promised that He would be
with Joshua just like He was with Moses. (Joshua 1:5)
Look at v. 7 here in chapter 3. “Now the Lord said to

‘This day I will begin to exalt you in the
sight of all Israel, that they may know that just as I
have been with Moses, I will be with you.’” Joshua

The Levitical priests would be carrying the ark of the
covenant across the Jordan before everyone else was to
cross. It’s significant because God is going before them,
guiding them, leading the way.

He also tells them to stay back 2000 cubits. A cubit is
about 18 inches. 2000 cubits is about 3000 feet. That is
roughly 1000 yards or 10 football fields, not counting end
zones. It seems like a long distance, but remember how
many people were there. There were 40,000 men
equipped for war, plus many other families and others
that were part of the 12 tribes of Israel. It was a huge
crowd of people. Now, imagine all of them crowding
together next to the ark of the covenant. No one would
be able to see where they were going. The point was for
God to lead the way and for the group to follow after.

Next, Joshua advises his people to,
Prepare Spiritually

Joshua tells them to consecrate themselves.
He uses the Hebrew word qadash – it can be translated
as consecrate or sanctify. It means to be set apart for
holy use. Basically Joshua was telling them to prepare
spiritually for what is about to happen. Yes, they are
going to battle, but God is leading them and they need to
be ready to be obedient to everything He is going to tell

Joshua also tells them that the Lord is about to do
wonders among them.

Israel saw God bring 10 plagues on Egypt, they saw Him
part the Red Sea, now they are about to witness another
miracle. He’s going to stop the raging river in front of
their very eyes as everyone crosses on dry ground!!

God tells Joshua to command the priests to put their feet
in the water and stand still.
It’s a lesson to.
Put their Faith in God

There’s nothing like facing your fear head on.
God didn’t turn off the water until the priests put the
soles of their feet in the water.
They had to show that they believed God would protect
them and keep them safe from drowning.

It reminds me of when Peter got out of the boat and
walked to Jesus on the water. He was walking on the
water as long as he kept his eyes on Jesus, when he
looked away at the storm, he began to sink.

Also, the entire group had to have faith that God would
do what He promised and protect them as they passed
through. Imagine the sheer force of the water that was
held up by God’s hand just waiting to be released. It took
faith for them to cross. Entire families were there,
trusting in God to protect them.

Finally, God reassures Israel of His
Promise to Dispossess all of the -Ites
God has already promised Israel that He would lead them
into this land of promise, there was only one problem, it
was occupied. But that wasn’t even a problem, because
God was going to give it into their hands.

He is going to dispossess the Canaanites, the Hittites, the
Hivites, the Perizzites, the Girgashites, the Amorites, and
the Jebusites. God is going to lead them into the land
and allow them to possess it. It’s all part of His promise
and His plan from before the foundation of the world.

It’s another reason for them to have faith in God.
God will in fact deliver the land to them and allow them
to conquer its inhabitants.


None of us are immune to obstacles and trials in life.
Jesus told the disciples that in the world they would have
troubles. The same is true for us.

What we should take away from today’s Scripture is to

Live Christ Focused

Joshua kept his focus on the Lord and remained strong
and courageous. He was able to hear from the Lord when
the Lord called to him.

When he encountered trials, God delivered him.
God will do the same for us. He has promised to never
leave us or forsake us.

Living Christ focused means we keep our eyes fixed on
God. When we do that our troubles seem small and we
see God for who He is, greater than any trial and the one
who has overcome the world and all it’s troubles.

No matter what kind of trial you may be facing, God is
bigger than your trial.