The Bible says in Joshua 3:8-13, “And thou shalt command the priests that bear the ark of the covenant, saying, When ye are come to the brink of the water of Jordan, ye shall stand still in Jordan. And Joshua said unto the children of Israel, Come hither, and hear the words of the LORD your God. And Joshua said, Hereby ye 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 Hivites, 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 passeth over before you into Jordan. Now therefore take you twelve men out of the tribes of Israel, out of every tribe a man. And it shall come to pass, as soon as the soles of the feet of the priests that bear the ark of the LORD, the Lord of all the earth, shall rest in the waters of Jordan, that the waters of Jordan shall be cut off from the waters that come down from above; and they shall stand upon an heap.” There are several principles mentioned in these verses that need to be present in every work for God, even in these days when we serve the Lord Jesus Christ. In verse eight we see the principle of following the Lord when the Israelites were told to follow the ark of the covenant. Jesus said, “Follow me, and I will make you to become fishers of men.” A second important principle we see in verse nine:. Joshua said to the children of Israel, “hear the words of the LORD your God.” We must hear the words of God, and that is one of the reasons to be involved in a church congregation: to hear God’s Word preached and taught. God’s Word is our spiritual food. God’s Word is our foundation. God’s Word builds up our faith. For example, in verse ten once again the children of Israel are given the promise of victory over the enemies. Our enemies are the world, the flesh, and the devil. We can have victory over them through faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. This is the victory that overcometh the world; even our faith.
A third principle we see in verse twelve when the Israelites are told, “Now therefore take you twelve men out of the tribes of Israel.” One person from each tribe: no one was excluded. This symbolizes the importance of Christians working together. That is one of the reasons that Christians should gather with other Christians in what we call the local church. We need each other. God loves it when Christians are united in the name of Jesus.
Because they were following the Lord’s leading, hearing the Word of the Lord, and working together as believers should, then we see in verse thirteen that they were at the threshold of a mighty work done by God: the crossing of the Jordan on dry ground. God was going to repeat the same great miracle that He did with Moses. That is why it says in verse thirteen, “that the waters of Jordan shall be cut off from the waters that come down from above.”
The Bible says in Joshua 3:14-17, “And it came to pass, when the people removed from their tents, to pass over Jordan, and the priests bearing the ark of the covenant before the people; And as they that bare the ark were come unto Jordan, and the feet of the priests that bare the ark were dipped in the brim of the water, (for Jordan overfloweth all his banks all the time of harvest,) That the waters which came down from above stood and rose up upon an heap very far from the city Adam, that is beside Zaretan: and those that came down toward the sea of the plain, even the salt sea, failed, and were cut off: and the people passed over right against Jericho. And the priests that bare the ark of the covenant of the LORD stood firm on dry ground in the midst of Jordan, and all the Israelites passed over on dry ground, until all the people were passed clean over Jordan.” God did what He said He would do. The children of Israel under Joshua’s leadership experienced a miracle not unlike that which was seen when Moses was the leader. God does not change. What He did yesterday for others, He just might do today for you. “Jesus Christ the same, yesterday, and today, and forever.”
The Bible says in Joshua 4:1-7, “And it came to pass, when all the people were clean passed over Jordan, that the LORD spake unto Joshua, saying, Take you twelve men out of the people, out of every tribe a man, And command ye them, saying, Take you hence out of the midst of Jordan, out of the place where the priests' feet stood firm, twelve stones, and ye shall carry them over with you, and leave them in the lodging place, where ye shall lodge this night. Then Joshua called the twelve men, whom he had prepared of the children of Israel, out of every tribe a man: And Joshua said unto them, Pass over before the ark of the LORD your God into the midst of Jordan, and take ye up every man of you a stone upon his shoulder, according unto the number of the tribes of the children of Israel: That this may be a sign among you, that when your children ask their fathers in time to come, saying, What mean ye by these stones? Then ye shall answer them, That the waters of Jordan were cut off before the ark of the covenant of the LORD; when it passed over Jordan, the waters of Jordan were cut off: and these stones shall be for a memorial unto the children of Israel for ever.” The last phrase of verse seven summarizes all of these verses with the statement: “these stones shall be for a memorial unto the children of Israel for ever.” God wants us to remember the good things that He does for us. To live a life of faith, there are things that you need to forget, and there are things that you need to remember. Some people get these thigs backward: they remember the bad things and forget the good things. Crossing the Jordan was a great miracle. God did this to get them into the Promised Land. Since the Lord used a miracle to get them into that land, then He was certainly going to give them the victory and take care of them after they enter that land. The same thing is true for Christians today. If the father sent Jesus to die for us, then He will do everything else for us that we will need as we journey through this world on our way to heaven. It says in Romans 8:32, “He that spared not his own Son, but delivered him up for us all, how shall he not with him also freely give us all things?”
The Bible says in Joshua 4:8-14, “And the children of Israel did so as Joshua commanded, and took up twelve stones out of the midst of Jordan, as the LORD spake unto Joshua, according to the number of the tribes of the children of Israel, and carried them over with them unto the place where they lodged, and laid them down there. And Joshua set up twelve stones in the midst of Jordan, in the place where the feet of the priests which bare the ark of the covenant stood: and they are there unto this day. For the priests which bare the ark stood in the midst of Jordan, until everything was finished that the LORD commanded Joshua to speak unto the people, according to all that Moses commanded Joshua: and the people hasted and passed over. And it came to pass, when all the people were clean passed over, that the ark of the LORD passed over, and the priests, in the presence of the people. And the children of Reuben, and the children of Gad, and half the tribe of Manasseh, passed over armed before the children of Israel, as Moses spake unto them: About forty thousand prepared for war passed over before the LORD unto battle, to the plains of Jericho. On that day the LORD magnified Joshua in the sight of all Israel; and they feared him, as they feared Moses, all the days of his life.” Notice two phrases in verse eight. The first is: “And the children of Israel did so as Joshua commanded,” and the second phrase is: “as the LORD spake unto Joshua.” God uses people. God uses a man to deliver His Word to His people. That is why it says in Ephesians 4:8-12, “Wherefore he saith, When he ascended up on high, he led captivity captive, and gave gifts unto men. (Now that he ascended, what is it but that he also descended first into the lower parts of the earth? He that descended is the same also that ascended up far above all heavens, that he might fill all things.) And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers; For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ:” There were twelve apostles and they all died in the first century. And so we know the gift of an apostle was only for the first century. The gift of a prophet was also for only the first century. The prophets of the first century were the ones who wrote part of the New Testament scriptures, such as Luke and Jude. But the gifts of evangelists, and pastor/teachers are still given by the Lord Jesus because God uses the same method that He used with Joshua: God speaks through preachers and teachers. What a privilege that the Lord has given to us to serve Him “For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ.”
It says about Joshua in verse fourteen, “and they feared him, as they feared Moses, all the days of his life.” When believers are right with God, they will have the right attitude towards God’s leader and God’s spokesman. The Spirit of God will make this happen because believers always need a leader. That is why Jesus told Peter, “If you love me, feed my sheep.” In order to feed the sheep, it takes a man who is willing to speak the Word of God to them, and it takes believing people who desire to hear the Word.
The Bible says in Joshua 4:15-18, “And the LORD spake unto Joshua, saying, Command the priests that bear the ark of the testimony, that they come up out of Jordan. Joshua therefore commanded the priests, saying, Come ye up out of Jordan. And it came to pass, when the priests that bare the ark of the covenant of the LORD were come up out of the midst of Jordan, and the soles of the priests' feet were lifted up unto the dry land, that the waters of Jordan returned unto their place, and flowed over all his banks, as they did before.” The reason that this was done this way with the water starting to flow again as soon as the priests’ feet came “out of the midst of Jordan” was to show that this was truly a miracle with no other explanation possible. Some people always want to look for a natural explanation for miraculous events done in the Bible. Do not fall into that trap. Give God the glory. God has performed miracles in the past, and He will perform them again.
The Bible says in Joshua 4:19-24, “And the people came up out of Jordan on the tenth day of the first month, and encamped in Gilgal, in the east border of Jericho. And those twelve stones, which they took out of Jordan, did Joshua pitch in Gilgal. And he spake unto the children of Israel, saying, When your children shall ask their fathers in time to come, saying, What mean these stones? Then ye shall let your children know, saying, Israel came over this Jordan on dry land. For the LORD your God dried up the waters of Jordan from before you, until ye were passed over, as the LORD your God did to the Red sea, which he dried up from before us, until we were gone over: That all the people of the earth might know the hand of the LORD, that it is mighty: that ye might fear the LORD your God for ever.” Notice the phrase in verse twenty-one, “When your children shall ask their fathers in time to come…” It is very clear that parents are responsible to teach the children. The pillar of twelve stones was a teaching aide, used to teach the children what the Lord had done for them all. Parents used to take their children to church knowing how important it was for children to hear the Word of God and the Gospel of Christ from a young age. One of the reasons that our society is becoming more and more secular is that children are not hearing about the Lord Jesus.
The knowledge that we have about the Lord is not only for our families to earn. It says in verse twenty-four, “That all the people of the earth might know the hand of the LORD, that it is mighty.” God has always wanted everyone to hear the wonderful news about the Gospel of Christ as well as all the teachings of the Bible. In the Old Testament the Lord wanted to use Israel to deliver the message of God’s love and God’s salvation to the world. In the New Testament that responsibility has been given to all the believers. That is why Jesus said in one of His last commandments to the apostles, “Go ye into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature…”
Copyright; 2019 by Charles
F. (Rick) Creech
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