Crossing My Jordan (Joshua 3:1-13) January 9, 2011
Crossing My Jordan (Joshua 3:1-13) January 9, 2011
The first gateway that the Israelites absolutely had to pass in order to conquer the land of God’s new covenant Canaan was the Jordan River. The year 2011 has only just begun, but the Jordan River could be sitting right in front of you. It would have been best if you could avoid it, but accurately speaking, God has led you right into it. Ever since the Israelites wandered around in the desert, God led them with a pillar of cloud. Speaking of the conclusion first, the Jordan River split already. It did not disappear, but it split. Your problems did not go away, but you already walked over them as you trampled upon them. Those problems were, in fact, not problems. Because the Jordan River overflowed before it split, it could have made some Israelites with disbelief complain and resent even more. But that Jordan River eventually split. Their problem did not simply just go away. It later became a reason for the Israelites’ enemies to tremble in fear (Jos.5:1). I hope that the same evidence may be with our church and all of our church members. How were the Israelites able to cross the Jordan River?
1. It says in verse one and two, “Early in the morning Joshua and all the Israelites set out from Shittim and went to the Jordan, where they camped for three days before crossing over.”
1) What do you think they did over those three days? All they did were hold meetings and come up with strategies, and did nothing else. Instead of doing anything else, they thought and prayed. Then what did they think about?
a. What would have happened if Joshua and his people were full of discouraging and negative thoughts? They probably thought about how their ancestors fell into discouragement and resentment before the Red Sea, but on the other hand they probably also thought about How God split the Red Sea despite their shortcomings. A person of success makes a resolution to never repeat the same mistake. Reminiscing the grace and answers he received in the past, he only lives by his faith that the God who gave him the grace and answers yesterday will solve his problems today. A person of failure is completely opposite. He repeats the same failure from the past. He should make that failure into a heartbreaking chance for renewal, but he forgets and repeats. Some people only think of hardships and difficulties they had in the past, think that the same problem came back, and eventually fall into discouragement and despair whenever a failure strikes them. That kind of people will never change either physically or spiritually.
b. You cannot begin anew without healing your past. As you absolutely hold onto the Gospel, heal your past with the following two things. First, you must realize that God gave you His grace and His plan through your hardships and problems; that is where you are standing today. That is why you must turn everything into thanksgiving. Second, you must make a renewal of never repeating the same mistake. You cannot just regret it. This renewal must change your life. That is what it originally meant by repent (reflect). This is what it means by beginning anew within the Gospel.
c. From now on, whenever a problem like the Jordan River stands in your way, how should you think? You must ask with these three things. First, ask questions with the Gospel in mind; God has finished all problems within Christ. The more you worry, become anxious, and disbelieve, the more you will be attacked. Satan repeatedly attacks someone who does not have the armor of the Gospel on (That is why problems repeat themselves.). Second, ask questions with evangelism in mind; God must give you evidence here. Before, God gave evidence to the Israelites by splitting the Red Sea but now God must give the Israelites evidence by splitting the Jordan River. That is how you stand as a witness to the world. Third, ask questions with the future generations in mind; God must do His new work through your future generations in this land of Canaan. Then you must become role models of faith to them. You must help them hold onto the evidence that God split the Jordan River. What are we going to leave behind for the Remnants? They will acknowledge your efforts to stand before them with faith, your sincere prayers for them, and your struggle to deliver God’s blessings to them (Rev. Ryu often gives a testimony about his mom and how she prayed on her knees until they turned purple with bruises when he was going through tough times, but still managed to maintain her worship, offering, and financial lifestyles in orderly fashion without her husband’s presence).
2) What kind of thoughts do you have? That is prayer. Correct prayer comes from correct thinking. That is when you can pray holding onto the covenant, looking forward to the future, and aligning your direction with God’s. Even if you just realize for a minute and pray, the Holy Spirit fills you and He reveals His power. Otherwise, you will be filled with something else captured by wrong thoughts.
3. Three days later, God specifically told the Israelites how to cross the Jordan River.
1) Verse three records, “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.”
a. What does the Ark of the Covenant symbolize? It symbolizes the Word of God relayed through priests, the Pulpit message.
b. The Israelites are told to “move out” when the priests began to carry the Ark. Lay down your thoughts, opinions, and plans before the Word.
c. “Follow it” means follow the Word unconditionally.
d. Verse four urges the Israelites to “keep a distance between you and the Ark” to prevent them from taking the priests’ words as their own human words (1The.2:13). If you cannot receive the Word through the Pulpit no matter what the reason may be, your soul will suffer.
e. It says in verse five, “Consecrate yourselves.” How should your prepare yourself for the Word?
2) Therefore, find answers to your problems, conflicts, and where to go all from the Word.
a. The Pulpit message is just like the Ark of the Covenant that the priests carried. All you have to do is simply follow it. You must find answers from the Pulpit message every week. The Early Church members who were filled with the Holy Spirit “devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer.” (Ac.2:42), when prophet Ezekiel prophesied in the Lord’s stead, “Tendons and flesh appeared on the dry bones, skin covered them, and eventually breath entered them.” (Ez.37), and the water coming out from the altar became a river, flowed into the sea, and made everything it touched live (Ez.47).
b. God always gives you comfort and promise through the Sunday Pulpit message. He also gives you His vision towards you. In order to prepare for that vision to be fulfilled, find at least one thing to put into practice or renew. If you can, organize the Pulpit message on Sunday night, make prayer topics, and connect them to evangelism. And check how the Word is fulfilled every day. You will realize how accurately you are following the Word and receiving answers from it.
3) In verse two, God’s orders were delivered to the people through “the officers”. This is another form of evangelism. The officers here mean “bridge ministers” including associate pastors, Council members, evangelists, Sunday school teachers, department heads, and regional leaders of the church. Within the church, they deliver and evangelize. You can only deliver and evangelize others when you are holding onto something yourself. When all the people became one with the Word, they witnessed the Jordan River split.
4) In verse thirteen it says, “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.” Verse fifteen says that was when the Jordan was at flood stage. But it did not matter. When the priests’ feet touched the water, it was finished. Even if a priest did have the Word, nothing would take place if he does not takes action based on the Word. That is why you must put at least one thing into practice as you hold onto the Word.
Before you begin something important, pray correctly within your thoughts. Find what God is trying to tell you through His Word and apply it to your life. Find at least one thing to put into practice. The Jordan River in front of you will undoubtedly split.