Joshua 3

Vv. 1-8, the Lord instructs Joshua

The spies make it safely back to Joshua with their report that the Lord had already delivered the land into their hands. The people of the land were fearful of Israel.

The date, according to Usher, is supposed to be Wednesday, Apl 28, A.M. 2553 [Year of the World]. Hebrew tradition places this in March. The Lord is ready to bring the people over the river into the land promised them through their fathers.

Joshua brings them to the edge of the land where they were to cross, and they make preparation to cross over.

They were to place about 2000 cubits between the people and the ark. Thus the distance would have been about 3000 ft, or over ½ mile. The people would not be able to see the ark except off in the distance. Obviously, the ark was a type of Christ. We follow him by faith, without seeing or seeing him: he is there.

They had not passed that way before, but were following Christ. If we are following him by faith, it will be through paths we have never been on before.

It was in the wilderness of disobedience that they retraced their steps, and as we wander around in the wilderness of doubt, fear and unbelief, we will keep going over the same ground. The life of following the Lord is new every day.

1) What did the ark represent, v. 3? The presence of the Lord among His people.

2) What were they to follow, v. 3? The ark, and thus the Lord.

A) What did it contain? The law of God.

Thus the clear teaching that if the people will follow God's law as revealed in the commandments, He will be their everything.

3) How close were they to follow, v. 4? 2,000 cubits--at 18 in per, this was about 3,000 ft., better than 1/2 mile, and therefore out of sight of the people.

4) How must we follow the Lord, 2 Cor 5:7? We follow the Lord by faith that He has gone before us to prepare the way for those who follow Him, WHO HAVE NOT PASSED THIS WAY BEFORE.

It was in the wilderness that the people wandered back and forth. But in the promised land, they went a new way. Note that His ministers are to point the right way to salvation.

The mercies of the Lord are new every day.

5) What are the people commanded to do, v. 5? Ceremonially sanctify themselves. Speaks of setting ourselves apart for the Lord as we follow His leading.

6) What is the Lord going to do for Joshua, v. 7? Magnify him as the Lord magnified Moses.

A) How is the Lord going to do this? By working some mighty miracles through him.

B) What did the Lord do for Joshua that closely connected him with Moses? He divided the Red sea for Moses and the Jordan for Joshua

Joshua did not seek the post. The average Christian leader today would probably fight to stand in Moses' seat of authority. Christ told the scribes and Pharisees of His day that they sat in Moses' seat; He rebuked them for thinking that they alone were capable of and worthy to teach the law of Moses. They felt that they alone could give the people the proper understanding of the Law.

Mat 23:2, 3, they had some good points, but they required more of the people than they themselves were willing to follow. They were like our modern legislature as it exempts itself from the laws it demands everyone else follow, or they intentionally leave loopholes for themselves and their friends.

7) What were the priests who bear the ark to do, v. 8? Stand still in the water.

Vv. 9-13, Joshua instructs the people.

V. 10, lists the 7 nations that the Lord had promised to remove from the land, Deuteronomy 7:1.

1) What did Joshua tell the people to do, v. 9? Come near and here the words of the Lord.

2) What had the Lord promised to do, Deut 7:1? Cast out the seven nations

A) What is the Lord going to do, v. 10? Cast out the seven nations.

B) What was the condition for the Lord doing v. 10? Obedience to the Lord God by His people.

3) Who went before the people, v. 11? The Lord.

4) What was going to happen when the ark went into the river, v. 13? The water of the river would stop flowing.

Vv. 14-17, the people move

1) What happened when those who bare the ark stepped into the water of the Jordan? It stopped flowing as though a dam was built

2) What was the river like when they went into it, v. 15? Flood stage

The ordinary current of the Jordan, near where the Israelites crossed, is said by Maundrell, to be about twenty yards across, deeper than a man's height, and so rapid, that there is no swimming against it. It has, however, two banks; the first, or inner one, is that of the river in its natural state, and the second, or outer one, about a furlong distant, is that of its overflowings, which it does when the summer's sun has melted the snow on mount Lebanon and Hermon, in the months of March and April. And this was the time which God chose that the Israelites should pass over it; that a miraculous interposition might be necessary; and that, by the miracle, they might be convinced of his omnipotence.

3) How far did the water back up, v. 16? To the city of Adam.

A) What do you suppose this speaks of? The work of Christ--the mercy seat upon the ark of the covenant now in the midst of the Jordan--reaches all the way back to the sin of Adam. The work of Christ also cuts off the effects of sin as passed down from Adam, for we become a new creation in Him through faith.

4) How did the people pass over the flooded river, v. 17? On dry ground.

A) What else does the stopping of the flood waters speak of, Isa 43:1-3? God's protection in the midst of afflictions and distresses.

5) How long did the waters stop, v. 17? Until all God's people were safely across.

It is interesting to note that the passage through the Red sea took place at night as Israel fled from the Egyptians. However, they crossed the Jordan during the day. leisurely, directly opposite to Jericho, in triumphant defiance of the Canaanites.

The entrance into Canaan typifies the rest in Christ, Heb 4. The triumphant crossing of the Jordan speaks of the triumphant life in Christ: What does God's people have to fear if they are walking in faithful obedience to Christ, following the leading of the Word of God?

The people had to cross over the river by faith, for the priests were standing in the river with the ark above them out of sight. Probably many in the multitude were thinking, "What if the priests move?"

Is there a command to obey?

Is there an example to follow?

Is there a sin to avoid?

Is there a promise to claim?

Is there an important verse for us?

A thought:

The city Adam, of course, speaks of the death and victory of Christ, reaching all the way back and covering every saint from the time of Adam, including Adam, if he was saved.

Christ had a perfect nature from His Father. Sin and death are passed down through the blood line from father to children. In this, we see that Christ, being perfect in every manner, even His blood line, did NOT inherit the physical death from Adam: He inherited the blood line of life from His Father. Therefore, He would have lived for ever. He not only did not have the spiritual death upon Him, but He did not have physical death upon Him as Adam did not before he sinned.

Think of what a kingdom a man who lived forever could establish, and the abilities he could develop. Of course, we know His life could not save us, but His death paid our "Wages of Sin." Because of His love and concern for His people, He had to go through with it even though the natural law would have allowed Him to live forever.

Adam was the son of God, a directly created son; Christ was the Son, but He was the Creator, One with the Father. If Adam had not sinned, his blood line would have remained pure with no sin in it and no physical death: Death did not start until he sinned.

Christ's blood was pure also. He would not have started the death process until He sinned; on the other hand, man's line is contaminated from birth, and he will die whether he sins or not.

Only 2 men were ever capable of living forever: the first Adam--as long as he remained sinless, and the Second Adam--who remained sinless. He could easily set up His kingdom by outliving all other world rulers, but, of course, that would not have solved the sin problem. Mankind would still have been lost and doomed forever.

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