3:7 The LORD said to Joshua, “This day I will begin to exalt you in the sight of all Israel, so that they may know that I will be with you as I was with Moses.
3:8 You are the one who shall command the priests who bear the ark of the covenant, ‘When you come to the edge of the waters of the Jordan, you shall stand still in the Jordan.'”
3:9 Joshua then said to the Israelites, “Draw near and hear the words of the LORD your God.”
3:10 Joshua said, “By this you shall know that among you is the living God who without fail will drive out from before you the Canaanites, Hittites, Hivites, Perizzites, Girgashites, Amorites, and Jebusites:
3:11 the ark of the covenant of the Lord of all the earth is going to pass before you into the Jordan.
3:12 So now select twelve men from the tribes of Israel, one from each tribe.
3:13 When the soles of the feet of the priests who bear the ark of the LORD, the Lord of all the earth, rest in the waters of the Jordan, the waters of the Jordan flowing from above shall be cut off; they shall stand in a single heap.”
3:14 When the people set out from their tents to cross over the Jordan, the priests bearing the ark of the covenant were in front of the people.
3:15 Now the Jordan overflows all its banks throughout the time of harvest. So when those who bore the ark had come to the Jordan, and the feet of the priests bearing the ark were dipped in the edge of the water,
3:16 the waters flowing from above stood still, rising up in a single heap far off at Adam, the city that is beside Zarethan, while those flowing toward the sea of the Arabah, the Dead Sea, were wholly cut off. Then the people crossed over opposite Jericho.
3:17 While all Israel were crossing over on dry ground, the priests who bore the ark of the covenant of the LORD stood on dry ground in the middle of the Jordan, until the entire nation finished crossing over the Jordan.
The Lord promised success and victory for the Israelites. Notice also that the Lord went before them. As long as the Israelites were willing to “Draw near and hear the words of the LORD your God”, they were assured victory.
While things have changed and God is no longer hand-picking nations, we are still beseeched to walk with the Lord and draw near to Him. It is the Lord who sustains us and provides for us. As the Apostle Paul stated to the Athenians,
For in him we live and move and have our being.’ As some of your own poets have said, ‘We are his offspring.’ (Acts 17:28)
Let us also include the Lord in our lives and remember that He is the one that goes before us. We are not left to our own devices. He is our shield.
The nation of Israel faced many dangers that constantly threatened their lives. This is a passage that speaks to God’s promises of never abandoning His children and providing a way to be strengthened through the danger and a means to make it across the other side. He alone is able to provide the solution to our fear and hard times.
God made a promise to Israel that He would show His power to the enemies surrounding them. This was a test to prove that He has the ultimate authority and that nothing can thwart God’s plan from being accomplished. Israel’s enemies may have believed themselves to be powerful and to some degree, from a human standpoint they did. However, compared to God, their “power” was merely a small particle of dust that can easily be swept up and tossed aside.
Whenever we faced hard times, remember that God is always working for us. He is our refuge and we can find peace in Him no matter how fearful a situation may seem. This passage puts God’s power on full display and as Christians we can use this as a reminder to turn to Him for peace and trust that He will lead us through the storms of life.