Priests—Leading By Faith

Priests, Leading By Faith

Book of Joshua

Joshua 3:1-7, 10, 14-17; 4:14, 19-24

What is the omnipotence of God? It is the Almighty One, Jehovah, that rules this universe that He created!

This is not Allah, nor Mohammed, not any other false diety!

Psa 24:10  Who is this King of glory? The LORD of hosts, he is the King of glory. Selah.

In the Book of Hebrews we learned that the only way to approached the Lord Our God is by “faith”.

In the Book of Joshua we have already seen the “faith” of Joshua and the “faith of Rahab.

We will begin today to see how Jehovah, Our God increased the “faith” of an entire nation. 

These lessons are in the Bible for the Church to learn about “faith”.

We will either have victory over our flesh, or we will be overcome by our flesh but we should be well aware that God saved us to make us soldiers in His army and we must move forward by “faith” to receive our inheritance.

It was that time for the children of Israel. It was that time for Israel to move forward into the Promised Land!

How do we claim victory?

1Jn 5:4  For whatsoever is born of God overcometh the world: and this is the victory that overcometh the world, [even our faith].

It is our “faith” that will encourage every child of God to take a stand against the evil in this world!

*****Our Text:

Jos 3:1  And Joshua rose early in the morning; and they removed from Shittim, and came to Jordan, he and all the children of Israel, and lodged there before they passed over.

Crossing the River Jordan into the land of Canaan would be a major turning point in the “faith” of the nation of Israel.

It would take more “faith” at this crossing than at the Red Sea because at the Red Sea they escaped their enemy but at Jordan they would step onto a land their the enemy who would defend it to their death.

Shittim was an Acacia grove about 10 miles from the Jordan. It was probably only about 15 miles from Jericho. We can be sure that the King of Jericho knew what was going on and began his own preparations.

That word lodged meant that was not time to pitch the big tents. They were not going to be in that place very long.

*****Jos 3:2  And it came to pass after three days, that the officers went through the host;
Jos 3:3  And they commanded the people, saying, When ye see the ark of the covenant of the LORD your God, and the priests the Levites bearing it, then ye shall remove from your place, and go after it.

We can be sure that just as soon as Joshua got that good report from those two spies he put things in motion. If the people of Jericho were that afraid of Israel then it was time to act.

When the Ark of the Covenant was in the Holy of Holies, no one could see the Ark except the High Priests but now the entire nation was to stay focused on it.

That Ark represented the Throne of God!

Jos 3:4  Yet there shall be a space between you and it, about two thousand cubits by measure: come not near unto it, that ye may know the way by which ye must go: for ye have not passed this way heretofore.

Two thousand cubits would equal 3000 feet or more than 1/2 mile.

This distance would allow the entire nation of Israel to see the Ark move forward.

We know that the Ark represented the Throne of God and it is our God that will lead us into all battles.

The Ark being in the front was for encouragement. As the Ark approached the river, then it was time to enter the Promised Land to Abraham.

Every “Born Again” child of God will be traveling in the wilderness even after being saved, since we do not know the way to Heaven we must follow the Lord Jesus Christ, who is the way!

*****Jos 3:5  And Joshua said unto the people, Sanctify yourselves: for to morrow the LORD will do wonders among you.

To “Sanctify” means to prepare themselves. Though it gives us the image of ritual washing, it did not always mean to physically bathe.

In this verse it meant that it was time to make “a new beginning”.

In the New Testament we find these words:

2Co 7:1  Having therefore these promises, dearly beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God.

This gives us the idea of what Joshua was telling Israel.

This promise was that the Lord would do wonders among them.

As He had at the Red Sea so He would at the River Jordan!

In other words:

Psa 77:13  Thy way, O God, is in the sanctuary: who is so great a God as our God?
Psa 77:14  Thou art the God that doest wonders: thou hast declared thy strength among the people.

*****Jos 3:6  And Joshua spake unto the priests, saying, Take up the ark of the covenant, and pass over before the people. And they took up the ark of the covenant, and went before the people.

We must remember the River Jordan at this time was in full flood stage.

If those priest did not have enough “faith” to step into that raging river then the battle was already lost!

They would have to get their feet wet before the Lord would open the waters.

The Lord moves with “faith”!

Not only were they to step into the water they were to stand in the bed of that river until all of Israel crossed over.

The Red Sea was divided. The flow River Jordan was totally stopped.

*****Jos 3:7  And the LORD said unto Joshua, [This day will I begin to magnify thee in the sight of all Israel], that they may know that, as I was with Moses, so I will be with thee.
Jos 3:8  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.

The people had to realize that God was working through Joshua just as He did through Moses.

God uses people to get His work done.

God had to show Israel that just as He had been with Moses, He would be with Joshua. This nation needed one leader and not many.

Just as Joshua was that one leader, Our Lord Jesus Christ is that One who will lead us all into Heaven.

There is no other way!

Our lesson skips down to verse 10.

*****Jos 3:10  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.

From atop the walls of Jericho the flow of the river Jordan could be observed.

This miracle gave encouragement to Israel but certainly caused discouragement to those of Jericho and whoever else might be spying on Israel.

We can be sure that those of Jericho had felt secure thinking that no one could cross Jordan at that point for many more weeks until the flood waters ceased to flow.

skip down to verse 14.

*****Jos 3:14  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;
Jos 3:15  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,)
Jos 3:16  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].
Jos 3:17  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].

When God did these miracles He wanted people to see them. We already know the Jordan could be viewed from Jericho and it is certain that spies had been sent from other places.

When the feet of these priests touched that water during the spring flood season and that water was cut off like a knife it made this miracle more spectacular.

Psa 33:8  Let all the earth fear the LORD: let all the inhabitants of the world stand in awe of him.

We must remember unless we step out by “faith”, and get our feet wet spiritually, we will not make any progress in living for Christ!

Each step these priest took the waters opened up before them. They stopped in the midst of the river and all of Israel passed by them.

We can see another “type” in these scriptures:

This is a picture of of each believer claiming the inheritance that is in Christ Jesus!

As Joshua is a “type” of Christ, he lead God’s people into their planned inheritance, Jesus does the same for the Church, the Body of Christ.

1Co 2:9  But as it is written, Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him.

When we sit on the pews and refuse to get our feet wet in the work of the Lord, we will send our Christian lives wandering aimlessly in the wilderness of this world.

We can never stand still in our Christian life we must be moving forward at all times!

skip to 4:14

*****Jos 4:14  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.

This miracle gave Joshua the confidence he needed to be a great leader of God’s people. This also showed the people that God was going to work through Joshua as He had through Moses.

That word “magnify” as used in our verse means “to establish, or to cause to be respected”. It has a somewhat different meaning in our day.

That word “feared” does not mean that God intended these people to be afraid of Joshua.

No good leader needs the fear of people to be followed!

It also means they showed respect for the man God had chosen. If they respected Joshua, it would be because they had respect for the Word of God!

God must sometimes replace leaders but God’s work must go forward!

This great miracle also showed Israel that they would have the victory and those of Jericho that they would suffer defeat.

In our day the secular world may deny God but we can be sure that in the back of their minds they still worry that God will have His victory and they fight with the strength of Satan but we know that Satan is already a loser!

skip to verse 4:19

*****Jos 4:19  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.

Exactly 40 years earlier Israel had selected a lamb for there first passover:

Exo 12:3  Speak ye unto all the congregation of Israel, saying, In the tenth day of this month they shall take to them every man a lamb, according to the house of their fathers, a lamb for an house:

We now see that the passover lamb again was taken from the flocks marking the entrance into the promised land.

We know that the number 40 symbolizes probation or punishment or temptation, “testing”.

The 40 days of rain, the 40 days Moses was on Mount Sinai, Moses spent 40 years in Egypt and 40 years in Midian and now the 40 years of wilderness wandering. Elijah had a 40 days, Jonah had a 40 days and Our Lord Jesus had a 40 days of fasting.

The number 40 makes a good Bible study.

In “type” The Lord Jesus, “our Joshua”, passed through the Jordan of death, opening the Kingdom of Heaven to all that will believe!

The name “Gilgal” in this verse means a circle of stones!

Joshua wanted to preserve the memory of their entrance into the promised land.

God later in chapter five said the meaning of Gilgal was “removed the disgrace of” or “removed the reproach of”!

*****Jos 4:20  And those twelve stones, which they took out of Jordan, did Joshua pitch in Gilgal.

This monument at Gilgal would remind these Jews that God had opened the River Jordan and that they had walked on dry ground into the promised land.

Israel had crossed Jordan on dry ground here that meant a safe crossing.

God made Adam from the dust of the ground and gave him life. Israel was coming out of the wilderness and from “this dry ground” into a new life.

As sinners we were once “in the dry ground of this sinful world” but after knowing the Lord Jesus Christ as our Savior “all we need do is wash our feet from walking in the this dry and sinful world”.

Joh 13:10  Jesus saith to him, He that is washed needeth not save to wash his feet, but is clean every whit: and ye are clean, but not all.

And of course we need to help one another.

Joh 13:14  If I then, your Lord and Master, have washed your feet; [ye also ought to wash one another’s feet].

*****Jos 4:21  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?
Jos 4:22  Then ye shall let your children know, saying, Israel came over this Jordan on dry land.

These Jews had made a break from their past.

They were never again to desire a return to the bondage of slavery.

They had placed a monument in that dry river bed that reminded them that their old life was buried out of sight.

They were now to walk in a newness of life.

What words did the Holy Ghost give to the Apostle Paul?

Rom 6:1  What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin, that grace may abound?
Rom 6:2  God forbid. How shall we, that are dead to sin, live any longer therein?
Rom 6:3  Know ye not, that so many of us as were baptized into Jesus Christ were baptized into his death?
Rom 6:4  Therefore we are buried with him by baptism into death: that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life.

It is easy to see how this crossing of the River Jordan can teach us the significance of Our Savior.

*****Jos 4:23  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:

Just as any of the future children of these that had crossed this river had to accept “by faith” what God had done on this day, we must accept by “faith” the work of the Lord Jesus Christ whom we have never seen.

The Bible says:

Joh 20:27  Then saith he to Thomas, Reach hither thy finger, and behold my hands; and reach hither thy hand, and thrust it into my side: and be not faithless, but believing.
Joh 20:28  And Thomas answered and said unto him, My Lord and my God.
Joh 20:29  Jesus saith unto him, Thomas, because thou hast seen me, thou hast believed: [blessed are they that have not seen, and yet have believed.]

*****Jos 4:24  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.

We will see as we move forward in our lessons that the news of this crossing of the Jordan does indeed cause panic among the rulers and the kings of Canaan land.

We can be sure that those of Jericho were able to view these things from a distance.

It was God that was giving this land to the children of Israel.

God brings us out of our sinful life so He can bring us into a newness of life and He did this through His Son Jesus.

Gal 2:20  I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me.

We must surrender ourselves to the Lord, step out in faith, and God will open the doors of Heaven itself for our future and make our days better here on Earth.

Deu 11:21  That your days may be multiplied, and the days of your children, in the land which the LORD sware unto your fathers to give them, [as the days of heaven upon the earth].

Jesus Christ will show us just a little piece of Heaven while we are still on this Earth if we only trust Him!


Let’s Pray!

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