JOSHUA - Lesson 5: Crossing the Jordan River
"Be still, and know that I am God;
I will be exalted among the nations,
I will be exalted in the earth!" Psalm 46:10
The miraculous crossing of the Red Sea forty years earlier represents deliverance from bondage in Egypt: God’s people were set free to proceed toward the Promised Land. But, back then, they had too little faith and too much fear to cross the Jordan River and possess the land God offered them. Now, after decades of training in the wilderness-school of faith and obedience, they are willing and ready to enter and -- by God's strength -- defeat all obstacle to victory and rest in the land.
My Lord and King, you transferred me out of the “kingdom of darkness” when I first believed in your death and resurrection on my behalf. Crucified with you, I was made a citizen of your kingdom!
Yet, all to often I choose to struggle in the “wilderness” of the world rather than to reign with you in the heavenly places. (Rom. 5:17 and Eph. 2:6) As my heart focused on the overwhelming “giants in the land" rather than on You, O conquering King, I would lose the peace, rest and joy of your kingdom.
By your Spirit, teach me to trust and follow You, so that I might occupy Your land and show others Your victorious ways.
1. Read Joshua 3. On the eastern bank of the swollen Jordan river a massive throng of over two million people stood waiting with their vast herds of cattle, sheep and goats. On the other side lay the Promised Land. Well within sight of the expectant crowd loomed the fortified city of Jericho with its terrified occupants. There was no bridge, no boat with which to cross the raging river. Yet, in the midst of this “impossible” circumstance, what wonderful advantages did God's people have? (See 2 Corinthians 1:8-10, Psalm 27:1-3)
2. God had already begun to show Joshua what to do. Now Joshua instructs the people. List some of the essential steps to victory?
3. Why did God ask them to “consecrate” (or sanctify) themselves before crossing? (Consider the meaning of consecration and sanctification.)
4. Read Joshua 3:7-10. What promises did God affirm to His people before the crossing?
5. God always knows the deep needs of His people; and He is ever faithful to meet them. What need in God's people is indicated by the promise He gave them?
Why do you need assurance and reminders of God's faithfulness and promises? (2 Peter 1:10-12)
6. Which of God's promises do you need to reaffirm today in order to live by faith in His victory?
7. Read Joshua 3:11-17. God's beautiful “ark of the covenant" which was ordinarily hidden from sight in the holy of holies in Your tabernacle is now exposed for all to see and appreciate. What did the ark represent to the people? (Exodus 25:22 and 33:14)
8. Why must the ark enter the Jordan ahead of the people? ( John 10:4, Exodus 25:22)
9. What was the significance of its position in the center of the river bed while all the people crossed to the other side?
10. Who were assigned to carry the ark? Why? (Deut. 31:9)
11. On what basis do I share both the identity and function (or purpose) of those who carried the ark? (1 Peter 2:9; 2 Corinthians 2:14-16; 3:2-3)
12. Read Joshua 3:14-16. God performed a marvelous miracle in order to ensure a safe crossing. Describe that mighty feat.
13. God's timing is always perfect! What do you learn about Him and His ways here? What action does God often require from His people
before He answers our prayers and alters our circumstances?
14. God never fails His people, but He often provides His resources at the very last moment. How and why does His timing and sufficiency produce spiritual maturity in His people? How does Matt. 6:25-34 deepen your understanding of these truths?
15. Read Psalm 46. Our God never changes! His faithfulness, sovereignty and power over all the spiritual and physical forces of the universe still operate in our walk with Him today. How does Psalm 46 affirm the same aspects of His character that you saw in Joshua 3?
16. Which verse(s) best summarizes the message of Joshua 3 for you. Why? Considering the Psalmist's example, what does God call you to do in order to fully appropriate these truths into your life?
Next: Lesson 6 - Resurrection Life