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Joshua Chapter Three, Walking In Power

In our study of Joshua chapter three, we will look at Israel's crossing of the Jordan River. Through Israel's journey, we can see how we, as Christians, can also walk in the power of the Lord.

Joshua 3:1

Early in the morning Joshua and all the Israelites set out from Shittim and went to the Jordan, where they camped before crossing over.

In chapter 2, we saw how God had mentally prepared the way for His people and now we will see how He physically leads them. The journey begins with the step of getting into position and so they camped at the Jordan River. In order to be walking in power, we must be where God is working on our behalf. In Ephesians 2, Paul reminded us that God has prepared things for all of us to do. Like Israel, we need to get to the appointed place and wait on the Lord.

Joshua 3:2-4

After three days the officers went throughout the camp, 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. 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.'

We see that the leaders waited for three days and then informed the people of what they should do. We are reminded that the number three is associated with the earthly display of God's will and the leaders had waited for that to be revealed. Like Israel, once we are in the appointed position, God will show us His desire for our walk. The ark of the covenant was the most sacred of the tabernacle furnishings as it was a picture of the throne of our Lord. The ark was going to be carried by the appointed people ahead of the rest of the Israelites which is a reminder that the Lord goes before us in our walk. We also notice that only those that were appointed for the task were to be near the ark and this reminds us of the fact that the works that God has prepared for each of us is unique. Just as the rest of the Israelites were not to touch the ark, we cannot do the work that God has prepared for someone else. To walk in power, we must be walking in the proper direction and the only way to do so is to let Him lead the way.

Joshua 3:5

Joshua told the people, 'Consecrate yourselves, for tomorrow the Lord will do amazing things among you.'

The people were in the proper position and now Joshua urges them to make a decision. Consecration is a long word that simply means to dedicate something to a specific use or purpose. All of the things of God that were used in the tabernacle were set aside to where they were not used for anything else. The people were getting ready to enter the land that God was giving them and so Joshua urged them to decide that they were going to follow Him and Him alone. They were entering a land with many false gods and they had to have their minds firmly fixed on the fact that He is the one true God and they are His people. The same decision is presented to us today. Our world is full of false gods and idolatry but we can make a decision to follow Jesus Christ. We must have faith in the fact that Jesus is the Son of God and He has made the way for us to be reunited with our heavenly Father. We cannot be double minded as James spoke of and use Jesus as a sort of backup plan in case all else fails.

Joshua 3:6

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.

Next, Joshua had the priests carry the ark of the covenant and lead the way. We remember that the ark contained the promise and presence of God and was a picture of Jesus Christ. When we make the decision to follow Christ, We stand on His promises and who we are IN HIM. He is faithful and will go before us and lead us into the plan that the Father has for each of us. There are modern day Nicolaitans who want to use this passage of scripture to prop up a religious system. This system of paid priests and church leadership places men and women between Christians and God. Jesus said that He hated these practices (see Revelation 2). The focus of this passage is the fact that God was leading His people into His blessing. He will do the same for us through the power of the Holy Spirit. If you are ready to make the decision (consecrate yourself) then we invite you to share that decision with us and the rest of the world.

Joshua 3:7

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'

Now, God tells Joshua that He will lift him up in the eyes of the people and, as we would say, make a name for him. It seems kind of odd that God would do this but, as we see, the purpose is so that Israel will be strengthened. If you are a Christian, then, God has elevated you for a purpose! Our goal should be to find out why God is elevating us (our ministry) and to roll with it.

Joshua 3:8

'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."'

As we see here, Joshua is a messenger and is to deliver the instructions to the priests. This is a picture of the work of the Holy Spirit in the lives of believers. The Holy Spirit will guide us in the ways of God and will encourage us along the way. That is a big part of why God elevates us as Christians. As Paul said, we are to build each other up in the faith. That is an easy way to tell the difference between self promotion and God's elevation of a believer. If the focus is not on building up the body of believers (church), then, it is self promotion and not God elevating someone.

Joshua 3:9-11

Joshua said to the Israelites, 'Come here and listen to the words of the Lord your God. This is how you will know that the living God is among you and that he will certainly drive out before you the Canaanites, Hittites, Hivites, Perizzites, Girgashites, Amorites and Jebusites. See, the ark of the covenant of the Lord of all the earth will go into the Jordan ahead of you.'

Next, Joshua explains to the people what is going to happen. This reminds us that God does not want to have secrets that He keeps from us. He does not ask us to walk blindly but to walk with Him as He leads the way through the Holy Spirit.

Joshua 3:12 & 13

'Now then choose twelve men from the tribes of Israel, one from each tribe. And as soon as the priests who carry the ark of the Lord - the Lord of all the earth - set foot in the Jordan, its waters flowing downstream will be cut off and stand up in a heap.'

Although he does not explain why, Joshua tells the people to choose one person from each tribe. He also goes on to explain that the Lord will make the way through the Jordan by stopping the river. Surely, these people would have heard the story of how God had done this same type of thing for their ancestors with Moses. They must have been excited to think that God was going to do something just as amazing with them. Are you excited at the expectation of God's signs and wonders displayed among you?

Joshua 3:14

So when the people broke camp to cross the Jordan, the priests carrying the ark of the covenant went ahead of them.

We see that the people decided to follow God's plan for them as they broke camp and followed after the ark of the covenant. We see that they did it the way God had said in that they did not run on ahead and try to cross the river. That is a good lesson for us, as Christians, because sometimes we tend to run off ahead of the Lord instead of taking each step as He directs.

Joshua 3:15 & 16

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 waters edge, 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.

Because of Spring rains and the melting of the winter snow, the Jordan River was at flood levels. Although the exact location of the town of Adam is not known, it is interesting to note the name which means "man". The Jordan River flows from the Sea of Galilee (peace) to the Dead Sea which is known as such because of its abundance of salt which prohibits much life from living in it. This river symbolizes man's efforts to find a way to restore their relationship with God (peace). We see that only through God's intervention was the water backed up at Adam and it is a reminder that our only way of salvation (the promised land) is through Jesus Christ. They crossed opposite of Jericho which was a major oasis in the surrounding desert.

Joshua 3:17

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.

The ark of the covenant, which was the presence of God, stopped in the middle of the river while all of the people passed by. It is interesting to note that prior to this they were not allowed close to the ark. But, after their step of faith into the river, they were able to pass by the ark.

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