Crossing the Jordan

Scripture Passage: 
Joshua 3:1-17; Joshua 4:1-24

INTRODUCTION: The crossing of the Jordan River marks a major change in the lives of the Israelites. They are leaving the wilderness behind and entering into the Promised Land. The Jordan River becomes a type of death to us. It pictures death to self for the believer and a more victorious Christian life. Or, it can picture physical death and our entrance into the eternal land of promise. Are you ready to cross the Jordan?

  1. PREPARATION FOR THE CROSSING (Joshua 3:1-6)
    1. Moving to the Banks of the Jordan (Joshua 3:1)
    2. Commanded To Follow the Ark (Joshua 3:2-4)
      1. Go after it (Joshua 3:2-3).
      2. Come not near unto it (Joshua 3:4a).
      3. Ye have not passed this way heretofore (Joshua 3:4b).
    3. Sanctified in Preparation for Divine Wonders (Joshua 3:5)
    4. The Ark Placed in Front of the Congregation (Joshua 3:6)
  2. INSTRUCTIONS FOR THE CROSSING (Joshua 3:7-13)
    1. Instructions to Joshua (Joshua 3:7-8)
      1. The Lord will magnify Joshua in the sight of Israel (Joshua 3:7).
      2. Joshua is to command the priests that bear the ark to stand still in the Jordan (Joshua 3:8).
    2. Instructions to the Children of Israel (Joshua 3:9-13)
      1. The people are to come near and hear the words of God (Joshua 3:9).
      2. The people will receive a token of God’s presence (Joshua 3:10-11).
      3. The waters of Jordan will be cut off (Joshua 3:13).
  3. THE ACTUAL CROSSING OF THE JORDAN (Joshua 3:14-17)
    1. The Drying Up of the Jordan (Joshua 3:14-16)
      1. When the priests stepped into the water (Joshua 3:14-15a)
      2. At the time of the flooding (Joshua 3:15b)
      3. Drying up a long section of river (Joshua 3:16)
        1. From the city Adam: about 15 miles north of Jericho
        2. To the salt (Dead) sea: about 5 miles south of Jericho
    2. The Passing Over of the Israelites (Joshua 3:17)
      1. The priests stood firm on dry ground.
      2. All the Israelites passed over on dry ground.
  4. THE SETTING UP OF MEMORIALS (Joshua 4:1-9)
    1. Twelve Stones Taken Out of Jordan (Joshua 4:1-8)
      1. To be carried by twelve chosen men (Joshua 4:1-5)
        1. Men to be chosen from every tribe (Joshua 4:1-2)
        2. Twelve stones to be removed from the Jordan and placed in the lodging place of the children of Israel (Joshua 4:3)
        3. Joshua instructs the twelve men (Joshua 4:4-5).
      2. As a sign to the children (Joshua 4:6-7)
        1. When the children ask questions concerning the stones (Joshua 4:6)
        2. The fathers can tell the story of the crossing of Jordan (Joshua 4:7).
      3. The instructions obeyed by the twelve (Joshua 4:8)
    2. Twelve Stones Placed in the Midst of the Jordan (Joshua 4:9)
      1. Joshua placed twelve other stones in the Jordan.
      2. He placed them in the location where the feet of the priests stood.
  5. THE PEOPLE ALL GET ACROSS (Joshua 4:10-13)
    1. The Children of Israel (Joshua 4:10-11)
      1. The priests stood their ground until everyone passed over (Joshua 4:10).
      2. The people hasted to pass over (Joshua 4:10).
      3. The priests passed over with the ark (Joshua 4:11).
    2. The Two-and-a-Half Tribes (Joshua 4:12-13)
      1. They passed over armed before their brethren (Joshua 4:12).
      2. They were about 40,000 in number (Joshua 4:13).
        1. This is a drastic decline from the number of soldiers in Numbers 1.
        2. The number of the two-and-a-half tribes then would have been about 108,250.
          1. Reuben had 46,500 (Numbers 1:20-21).
          2. Gad had 45,650 (Numbers 1:24-25).
          3. Half the tribe of Manasseh would have been 16,100 (Numbers 1:34-35).
        3. This demonstrates that it will be the minority of those who leave Egypt that will actually cross the Jordan. This is true of the Christian life as well. Only a minority of those who are saved by the blood of Christ will make it through the wilderness times and cross the Jordan. Crossing the Jordan is a picture of crossing into the victorious Christian life. Very few will do it.
  6. THE PRIESTS COME UP OUT OF JORDAN (Joshua 4:14-18)
    1. Joshua is Magnified in the Sight of Israel (Joshua 4:14).
      1. The Lord magnified Joshua in the sight of all the people.
      2. The people feared Joshua as they feared Moses.
    2. The Priests are Commanded To Come Out (Joshua 4:15-17).
      1. This seems to be a retelling of the events with more detail.
      2. This shows that the priests stayed in the Jordan until Joshua commanded them to come out (Joshua 4:16-17).
    3. The Waters of the Jordan Return (Joshua 4:18)
      1. When the soles of the priests’ feet touch the dry land, the waters returned.
      2. The waters returned to their overflowing of the banks.
  7. THE ARRIVAL OF THE PEOPLE IN GILGAL (Joshua 4:19-24)
    1. They Set Up Camp (Joshua 4:19).
      1. The people came up out of Jordan on the tenth day of the first month.
      2. They encamped in Gilgal.
    2. They Set Up the Memorial of Stones (Joshua 4:20-24).
      1. The stones placed (Joshua 4:20)
      2. The lessons they teach (Joshua 4:21-24)
        1. To the children of the Israelites (Joshua 4:21-23)
          1. The drying up of the Red Sea
          2. The drying up of the Jordan
        2. To all the people of the earth (Joshua 4:24)

CONCLUSION: They are in the Promised Land! Now, all they have to do is conquer it in order to receive their inheritance. In a way, that is what the Christian life is about. The land is ours but we must go and possess our possession (Joshua 1:11; Obadiah 17).

David Reagan and Andrew Ray

Daily Proverb

Proverbs 21:8

The way of man is froward and strange: but as for the pure, his work is right.