-Chapter three begins with Joshua rising early in the morning to lead the sons of Israel out from Shittim over to the brink of the Jordan River, where they lodged before their crossing over into the Promised Land. At the end of three day there, the officers went through the midst of the camp commanding the people, “When you see the Ark of the Covenant of the LORD your God with the Levitical priests carrying it, then you shall set out from your place and go after it.” However, there was to be a distance of about 2,000 cubits (around 3,000 feet or over half a mile) between them and the Ark. They had not passed this way before, and Joshua was careful to have them consecrate themselves, “…for tomorrow the LORD will do wonders among you (Joshua 3:1-5).” Joshua spoke to the priests telling them to “Take up the Ark of the Covenant and cross over ahead of the people.” They complied, and the LORD spoke to Joshua further, “This day I will begin to exalt you in the sight of all Israel, that they may KNOW (emphasis mine) that just as I have been with Moses, I will be with you.” God went further in relating that the Ark would need to be carried with the priests standing still in the river. Then Joshua brought the sons of Israel near to hear these words from the LORD, “By this you shall KNOW that the Living God is among you, and that He will assuredly dispossess from before you the Canaanite, the Hittite, the Hivite, the Perizzite, the Girgashite, the Amorite, and the Jebusite.” The LORD wanted them to behold the Ark that was going before them into the Jordan and take one man from each tribe to combine for twelve. “It shall come about when the soles of the feet of the priests who carry the Ark of the LORD, the LORD of all the earth, rest in the waters of the Jordan, the waters of the Jordan will be cut off, and the waters which are flowing down from above will stand in one heap (Joshua 3:6-13).” The Jordan was overflowing its banks during these days of harvest, but the LORD made the waters back up and halt a great distance away at Adam, the city beside Zarethan, when the priest’s feet carrying the Ark were dipped into the river for Israel’s crossing. “So the people crossed opposite Jericho” just north of the Dead Sea area on dry ground. The priests who carried the Ark of the Covenant of the LORD stood firm on dry ground in the middle of the Jordan River while all the nation of Israel crossed over into the Promised Land safely without complication (Joshua 3:14-17).
-*Application* Several things proceeded the blessing of the crossing that we need to observe here. The leadership was in tune with the LORD to hear His Voice and obey it. Consecration, (qadash - setting apart for holiness, devoting, to sanctify, to be hallowed), was a vital key in this monumental event. We also will observe here the reverence for the LORD that was paramount in giving Him His ado with honor and praise. They also had the faith to step in and receive what God had promised. When we are passing a way that we have never gone before, put into practice these important steps to doing things completely in accordance to the LORD your God. His blessing are sure to follow.
Verse to Memorize: Joshua 3:13