Message: In Joshua 3 we are watching the transition of leadership to Joshua after Moses died. Joshua’s leadership of the Israelites began with four important directives.
- Follow the presence of God. (verse 2) God instructed Joshua to send the priests across the Jordan River first with the ark of the covenant. The ark represented the presence of the Lord and the people were instructed to stay back 1000 yards so they could see the way and follow God’s lead on a road they hadn’t travelled before.
- Consecrate yourselves. (verse 3) This was a cleansing requirement that they were required to follow so that God could do something in them and with them. What they did physically, we do spiritually when we are set apart for his purpose and don’t allow anything to pervert our purpose.
- Stand in the promise. (verse 8) When the priests who were carrying the ark of the covenant reached the Jordan River they were commanded to stand in it. The Jordan was the one thing separating them from the promise they were about to cross into. They literally had to step into the water and then stand and wait for God to move.
- Come closer and listen to the words of the Lord. (verse 9) Joshua told them to come closer and listen to the words of the Lord. He was about to tell them what was to come so that they knew what the plan was. He told the people that they would know that the living God was among them and that he would destroy and displace all that was living in the land that God had promised them as they followed the presence of God (the ark) across the Jordan River into the promise.
When God told the people to follow the ark of the covenant, he was leading them on a road they had not been on before. They had been all over the wilderness because God waited for an entire generation to die off because of their complaining and unbelief. Now he was ready to take the next generation into the promised land, but he wasn’t taking them on a typical path to get across. There was no bridge and since the path God was taking them on was done through a miracle, literally nobody had travelled that way before. God was about to divide the waters at Jordan like he had done for their ancestors in the Red Sea. I think it’s interesting that their journey through the wilderness began with Moses and the original generation of people when God parted the Red Sea, and their journey through the wilderness ended with Joshua and the next generation when God parted the Jordan River. Joshua and Caleb were the only ones from the previous generation, and they were leading the next generation into the promise. I listen to a leadership podcast by Pastor Brian Houston of Hillsong Church. He talks about the importance of each generation laying a foundation that the next generation will build on top of. He often says that the ceiling of our generation should be the floor for the next generation. We can either choose to be the disbelieving generation, or we can be the Joshuas and Calebs that lead the next generation. Either way, what we do impacts not just our lives, but the generations to follow. We have work to do. How about that for a challenge of the day!!