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STEPPING INTO THE WATER. Reading: Joshua 3:1-17. “And Joshua said to the people, “Sanctify yourselves, for tomorrow the Lord will do wonders among you” Joshua 3:5.
For 40 years the men and women of Israel lived in fear. Fear of the giants, fear of the walled cities, fear of the Jordan River, and fear of the enemy. And that fear bought them death! Living, but dead! Because they were going nowhere. Can you guess what it is like to live in fear?
1. GETTING READY TO MOVE ON. “Then Joshua rose early in the morning; and they set out from Acacia Grove and came to the Jordan, he and all the children of Israel, and lodged there before they crossed over” Joshua 3:1.
NOW they are ready to leave the wilderness for good, and to claim their Canaan, the Promised Land of abundance and victory. BUT, in their way is the Jordan River. How many times had they come near to the river Jordan, and still looked upon it in fear. Some may have wanted to go around it, or to find a bridge over it. BUT, God tells them they must cross the river, which looks impossible.
But take note, when God sends you, HE will make a way for you! We sing “God will make a way for you, when there seems to be no way.” Be it a closed door or a fast flowing river! God parted the waters again, like He did 40 years earlier, with the Red Sea. What is a river to God after parting a sea?
Note, it says in verse 15 “for the Jordan overflows all its banks during the whole time of harvest.” We need to expect things to be at their worst, before things get better. The river was full, because it was the time of harvest, but once the river was crossed, the harvest could be gathered in.
The land of Canaan pictures the victorious Christian life. It means you are no longer a slave to habits and sin. It is a place of joy, walking with God and trusting in Him in all things. Sure, we all have rivers of difficulty in our way. But do not let those rivers keep us from our land of opportunity.
When God commands you to cross a river, here is the good news: GOD will make a way for you!
Got any rivers that seem uncrossable? Got any mountains you can’t tunnel through? God specializes in things thought impossible And He knows a thousand ways to make a way for you!
2. GETTING READY FOR A MIRACLE. “And Joshua said to the people, “Sanctify yourselves, for tomorrow the Lord will do wonders among you” Joshua 3:5.
The “wonders” here mean “miracles.” Some people do not believe in miracles. They think they can explain it in some other way. But if you believe in God, you should believe in miracles. God is not dead, He is not even sick! My God is alive!
In our text, the priests had to get their feet into the water before the water parted. Sometimes before God steps in and does something on our behalf He requires us to do our part and take a step of faith. That first step was the hardest step they took. Their obedience led to God’s promise coming true. Sometimes God wants us to take a step of faith and get our feet wet.
It was not easy to stand in the rushing waters of the river Jordan. Yet, it takes greater faith to stand in the waters, as they build up behind you. At first the water was a few feet high, but soon it would and was well over the heads of the priests, till a “well of water” stood above the heads of the priests.
Great faith was needed to enter into the waters, yet that is where the miracle was going to happen. Without faith they could not enter into the blessing of God, they waited 40 years for their faith to arise, note Hebrews 3:19 “We see that they could not enter in because of unbelief.” We must have faith to see the miracles of God in the midst of us.
Here is a Biblical illustration: When Jesus’ friend Lazarus died Jesus knew He was going to raise him from the dead. But what did Jesus do? He told the people to roll away the stone. Wait a minute. Why did not Jesus just roll the stone away? He wanted them to do what they could do before He would step in and do what ONLY He could do!
God helps those who help themselves. What step might God be asking you to take right now? You take that step and God will take the rest!
3. THE REASON FOR THIS MIRACLE. “Yet there shall be a space between you and it, about two thousand cubits by measure. Do not come near it, that you may know the way by which you must go, for you have not passed this way before” Joshua 3:4.
a. Joshua was God’s man, verse 7. “And the Lord said to Joshua, “This day I will begin to exalt you in the sight of all Israel, that they may know that, as I was with Moses, so I will be with you.”
Miracles are real, but they do not happen all the time. We are not supposed to major on miracles and signs and wonders, but on the clear facts! Here God was confirming Joshua to the people as being the right man after the ministry of Moses. This miracle was God’s stamp of approval upon Joshua.
b. To strengthen His people, verse 10. “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, etc.” This miracle built up their faith for what lay ahead. They were at least nervous, probably scared, and they needed confidence. And when we look back at great things God has done in our past, it encourages us for the future.
c. To show a principle. Here is the principle: That God would be with them every day, come what may. We should not focus on the miracle as much as the message behind the miracle. There is a message in every miracle.
Are you of the courage to face the Jordan, the walled cities, and the giants? Are you of the faith too entre rushing water? Are you of those near to the voice and heart of God? Are you willing to come into a new anointing? It took a miracle to put the stars in place, it took a miracle to hang the world in space, and it took a miracle to save my soul.