GETTING PAST YOUR JORDAN

Intro: The Lord led Israel toward the Promised Land when He expelled them from Egypt. That journey took them two years to complete. The Lord instructed them on how to worship Him and gave them His Law during that time. All they had to do when they got to Jordan was enter the country and claim what they had been given.
The Israelites refused to claim their inheritance in Canaan, steadfastly moving forward. They wanted to turn around and return to Egypt, where they had been enslaved. They were severely punished by God for their lack of faith. He ruled that they would have to live in the wilderness between Canaan and Egypt until every generation of people who refused to enter the Promised Land died out. Israel was given a 40-year sentence of wandering in the wilderness for unbelief. The wrath and death of those years are over, and the Israelites' children are about to enter Canaan. In the promised land, they are prepared to claim their inheritance. They must overcome one more significant obstacle before entering Canaan: the River Jordan. Given that the Jordan was only about 100 feet wide at Gilgal, where they crossed, this would normally not have been too much of a problem. 4:15 says that God brought them to the Jordan River at harvest time. Those who have been there during harvest time say that the Jordan River widens to over a mile, making it impossible to cross! When Israel first arrived, it was 50 times wider than it normally would have been. They couldn't have crossed this river on their own! They required supernatural assistance. It would appear that God does everything in such a way that no one can say that they did it on their own. This crossing would not be any different. Every individual in this room has to deal with Jordan from time to time! We face challenges that prevent us from achieving spiritual victory in our lives. It's possible that we'll have the impression that we'll never be able to enter our Canaan of victory and live the abundant life that Jesus promised His followers. Despite the fact that I am unaware of the kind of challenges you face in your life, I do know a God who specializes in leading His children to victory and overcoming overwhelming odds. I would like us to observe Israel today as they cross their Jordan. I'd like to give you some hope as we go along. Over three thousand years ago, Israel's strategies worked, and they still do today. I want to talk to you about Getting Past Your Jordan from Joshua chapters 3 and 4. If we want to cross the Jordans that stand in the way of our spiritual victory, there are some tactics that we need to put into action. Permit me to demonstrate these strategies to you right now. I. 3:1–13: A MESSAGE TO READ A. v. 3–4: A Challenge: When the time came for the people to proceed with the crossing of the Jordan, God had a message that they needed to hear. They were asked to do three very important things by the words they heard. These things were made to make it easier for them to follow the Lord. These are the same things that we must hear today to improve our devotion to the Lord. 1. Keep an eye on God: In chapter 3, the Ark of the Covenant is mentioned seven times. You may recall that a particular piece of Tabernacle furniture known as the Ark represented God's presence and power. God's glory rested upon the Ark while it was in the Holy of Holies, and God lived there. It symbolized God's presence among His people for Israel. To put it another way, they were to move whenever God moved. They were to do the same when God stopped. (Ill.) This passage teaches you and I a valuable spiritual lesson. We would do well to learn to be sensitive to the Lord's movement within and around us during times of crisis or when we require life direction. John 5:19-20 states that God loves you and will demonstrate His actions to you. He will show you how to live each day if you just watch Him.) 2. Follow God: They were to "leave your place, and go after it" when they saw the Ark of the Covenant move. They weren't just supposed to watch God; they were also supposed to move when He did. They had to go after God! (Ill.) Once more, the lesson for believers is that it is not enough to know what God is doing; you must "leave your place and go after Him" at some point. We might have to step outside of our comfort zone for this! Over a mile wide, Israel was about to follow the Ark through it! That wasn't easy, but it was still right and necessary! People, if you follow God, it won't be easy, but it will be the best thing you ever do. You must learn to follow God if you are ever to overcome your challenges and enter Canaan.) 3. Honor God: The Israelites are instructed to remain at least 3000 feet behind the Ark in order to easily observe what was transpiring in front of them. Another reason is that the Lord forbade anyone but the Levites from getting too close to the Ark because doing so would have resulted in death. (Ill. We can also learn something from this. We must never treat God as if he were one of our friends. Our hearts must always be filled with holy reverence and fear of the Lord. Please help us to never let a spirit of familiarity diminish our relationship with the Lord. We are still just sinners saved by His marvelous grace, regardless of what we go through before a holy, righteous God.) (Ill.) Learning to walk in the Spirit is the easiest way to accomplish these three things. That is, learning to surrender control of your life to the Holy Spirit and to follow God's instructions through prayer and His Word. It may not always be simple, but I can assure you that He will lead if you follow!) B. v. 5: A Command: The people were then instructed to "sanctify yourselves." This was about making sure that they were as holy and clean as possible. Anything that was distasteful to the Lord was to be put away. They were supposed to take a look at themselves and get ready for the Lord to do great things for them. We will have to learn that one of the first things we must do is examine our lives to ensure that they are as clean as possible if you and I ever hope to get past the Jordan's that arise in our lives. May the Lord help us realize that our sin and the Lord's chastisement are the causes of many of the things in our lives that prevent us from walking in Christian victory, Gal. 6:9; Heb. 12:6-11. Christian, does everything in your life conform to the will of the Lord? Keep in mind that in I John 1:9, we can receive forgiveness by confessing our sins to the Lord. C. v. 9–13 The Message Required A Commitment: The Israelites were reminded in this message that the Lord was responsible for crossing the Jordan, not they. It was His problem and His plan to win them over. In these verses, He makes them a promise and promises to be strong in bringing them through. Here, God declares that He will cross the Jordan for his people! Israel was only required to have faith in God! (Ill. May I reaffirm that God has not altered in any way? If God was able to fulfill His promises in those days, then He can also be trusted today! Because we live a life that demonstrates a profound lack of faith in the promises made by God, we frequently face difficulties in our lives that we are unable to overcome! How can I be sure? because the lives of God's people are marked by worry and doubt. 1. Even though the Lord has said – Matt., we worry about tomorrow. 6:34. 2. Even though the Lord has promised, we worry about material things – Matt. 6:25-33; Phil. 4:19. 3. The Lord has promised, but we worry about facing various challenges in life – Hebrews 13:5. 4. Despite the fact that the Lord teaches us that all of our worry is sin and that our duty is to trust Him, we worry about a lot of things. 4:6-7. 5. The conclusion is as follows: Jesus is all-knowing, all-powerful, and all-present. He is aware of your circumstances. He has complete knowledge of the subject. Even more than you do, he knows more about it! The following is what He says to you: "By faith the just shall live," Rom. 1:17; “ Sin is committed by anyone who lacks faith,” Rom. 14:23; Why are you afraid, you people of little faith? 8:26. All of this serves as a reminder to us that He is the Lord and that He is greater than any obstacle we may encounter in life. His wish is for us to simply learn to trust Him and take His word for it. It is important to keep in mind that the Lord will carry out His promises, Rom. 4:21. The message is that; Let us reflect on it! I. There's a message to think about. II. 3:14–17 A. v. 15b There Was a Problem – As I mentioned in the introduction, the Israelites were confronted with a significant issue. Two million people had to cross the river, which was over a mile wide, but the Lord wanted them to. A bridge could not be built by them; Time and resources were insufficient. There were no boats, so they couldn't bring everyone by boat because they'd have been sitting ducks for their enemies. Their problem could only be solved by getting around it! Have you ever measured yourself and considered how big your Jordan was? It's possible that when you looked at it, you thought, "There is no way around, through, over, or past this problem." I suppose that we have all been like the ten spies who returned from snooping on Caleb and Joshua's land of Canaan. We have assessed our issue and believe it to be beyond our capabilities, Num. 13:31-33. Our issue was the same as every other time we encounter a challenging circumstance: We lose sight of God! God sees only solutions where we see only issues. where we say, "There's no way!" when we see something When God examines the issue, he declares, "Follow me, I have a plan!" B. v. 15: There Was a Plan: God said, "When the priests' feet enter Jordan, I am going to part the waters and lead you through on dry ground!" This was the plan. There was a catch to this plan: the priests carrying the Ark wouldn't be able to enter the water until the waters parted. To put it another way, the people had to take a leap of faith and obediently follow the Lord in order to witness the miracle. What a valuable lesson for us both. Too frequently, we long for the Lord to simply arrange everything for us. We do not wish to be required to exercise our faith in Him or make any decisions. That will be the end of it; all we need to do is ask Him to do it. However, in most cases, God will require us to act in faith before we can see our Jordan split. God had a plan, but His people needed to have faith in it for it to work! The same holds true for each of us! We are not practicing faith when we attempt to solve our own problems. We will see the problem resolved for His glory when we release it from our control, step away from it, and allow the Lord to handle it. Eph. says that it never matters what we can do; rather, it always matters what the Lord can do. 3:20! C. v. 16-17: A Performance: When the priests entered the raging river, it split, and God made a dry path for His people through the water. Additionally, verse 16 mentions that the waters backed up toward the City of Adam. This is approximately 20 miles to the north of the crossing point for the Israelites. They created a path through the water that was sufficient for His people to cross. Keep in mind that God is honoured by faith, and faith is honoured by God! It won't just be patched and ready to break again when He moves in power and solves the problem; It will be done correctly and never again. I want to remind you today to be encouraged by reminding you that the same God we serve today is the same God who did this amazing thing for Israel! How He treated them; He can now do it. Throughout the Bible, our God was ABLE, and He still is today! He remains God regardless of the circumstances, and He can still! Pay attention to the question that bothered the Jews in Psalm. 78:19-20. They inquired, "Yes, they opposed God; Can God provide a table in the wilderness, they asked? He struck the rock, and the waters and streams overflowed as a result; Can he also provide bread? can he feed his people flesh?” He can! Just inquire about Saul of Tarsus, Noah, Moses, Daniel, the three Hebrews, a widow in Zarephath, the disciples on a small ship, and Saul. Simply reflect on your own life. How many times has the Lord already drained your Jordan? All we need is him! He continues to be the same God who performs miracles. When you interact with God, you should learn to anticipate miracles! Our God is an expert at simplifying issues. When little David entered that valley to confront Goliath, he faced a foe he would never have been able to defeat on his own. That colossus stood about ten feet tall. With a sling, five smooth stones, and faith in a powerful God, he entered that valley. Goliath was knocked to the ground by David when he threw his stone at him. David dashed toward Goliath. He used his own sword to cut off Goliath's head. Now, the query that comes to mind is: Was the giant still there when David removed its head? He must have been! However, he no longer stands 10 feet tall; He now stands about 9 feet tall! God had a way of making things easier for us to get over, even when we couldn't. I. There's a message to think about. Third, there is a miracle to think about. 4:1-24 THERE IS A MEMORIAL TO REMEMBER Joshua instructed one man from each of the 12 tribes to acquire a rock from the middle of Jordan and construct a memorial on the Canaanite side after everyone had crossed over Jordan. It's worth visiting that memorial today! A. v. 6-7; 21-24 The Purpose of the Memorial These verses inform us that the memorial's purpose was to serve as a reminder to future generations of God's power and faithfulness for His people. For those who would come after, that memorial would be a significant landmark. We must also erect memorials throughout our lives. We must exercise caution as we do not want to bury the past and impair the future. That has been done by many churches, and as a result, they are suffering. We do want to keep in mind the things that the Lord has done for us so that we can share them with others. We want to keep in mind God's great works so that when we come back that way, we will remember that the Lord was faithful in that time and will continue to be faithful in this one. Always remember what the Lord has done for you in the past. The lessons you learned in the past will help you get through the challenges of today and tomorrow! Psa. Ill. "Blessed is the man whose strength is in thee," Isaiah 84:5–6. whose heart are their methods? who, as they pass through the Baca valley, turn it into a well; The pools are also filled with rain." We must build some visible memorials to God's glory as believers. We should remember the times when the Lord works in our lives. We ought to write about it, share it with others, discuss it, and spread the word about God's action. We ought to give Him thanks for His consistent work in our lives. Listen; There will be additional people following behind us. Children, teenagers, and new believers alike are traveling the same roads we have. They need to be able to see the memorials left by those who came before them as they travel and strive to mature in the Lord! There are a lot of these monuments all around us. All of them are very real reminders of God's power, whether they are human or not. Every time we gather here, we are reminded that God has carried His people over their Jordans before. All who pass by those reminders are reminded that God is trustworthy, powerful, and able. We must keep in mind! B. v. 9, 20 The Picture in the Memorial – Illinois It is fascinating to note Joshua built two monuments. They constructed one in the middle of the river and one on the bank. There were two distinct purposes for these two memorials. Take note of their nature. 1. v. 20: An Illustration of God's Faithfulness The one on the Jordan River served as an illustration of God's faithfulness, as I mentioned earlier. It was placed there to serve as a reminder to others of the Lord's accomplishments and potential. We need to recall God's faithfulness in the past once more. It will assist us in navigating the current Jordan. 2. v. 9: An Illustration of the People's Faith – Now, what about the rock pile in the river? God alone could see it! It stood as a reminder of the people's faith! You see, when you're going through a trial, people often make mistakes about how you feel and what you do, but only God knows the truth about your heart. Although Israel was unable to see it, they were aware that the monument was there! They recalled that at the time, they had believed in God and that it had worked. Their hearts held this as a memorial. Monuments of the same kind are also needed by us. As I mentioned earlier, we are often misjudged by others during difficult times, but only God knows our hearts. Never forget when you trusted Him and He helped you through! Create that memorial in your heart, where you will never forget it and where only God can see it. Look at that monument of His faithfulness and your faith when the tough times come back, which they will, and know that what worked in the past will work again. You will cross your Jordan with God! Do you recall David's victory over Goliath? King Saul attempted to cover David in his armor prior to engaging in that battle. David turned it down because it was armor made for a much larger man and David had never fought in armor before. However, David brought the giant's armor into his tent after defeating it, 1 Sam. 17:54. Why did he act as he did? It was a tribute. It served as a reminder that, when placed alongside the God of Heaven, any obstacle is insignificant! Conc: Today is challenging for some of you. You can cross over, as I want you to know. Today, I would like to invite you to worship with me. Tell Him about the Jordan you're in right now, and let Him guide you through it right now. In spite of your difficulties, there is a victory zone where you can shout. Getting rid of what is keeping you from getting there is the first step. Jordan for you Whatever it is, God is greater than it, whether it be sin, a person, or a challenge. Come over and let Him handle it for you.

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