Originally posted: 08/20/2019
Behold, the ark of covenant of the Lord of all the earth is crossing over ahead of you into the Jordan, (3:11).
The time was approaching to possess the land. The nation of Israel was to follow their newly established leader, Joshua, into the Promise Land. But there was still another obstacle to cross, the Jordan River.
There is a significant parenthetical phrase in the midst of the account found in Joshua 3.
…(for the Jordan overflows all its banks all the days of harvest) (3:15).
The majority of the year, the Jordan River is not very wide, actually about 100 feet. But at flood stage, during the spring, the Jordan can swell up to a mile wide with tumultuous currents, a much more dangerous time to attempt to cross.
And it was exactly this time the Lord instructed the nation to cross.
Joshua said, “By this you shall know that the living God is among you, and that He will assuredly dispossess from before you the Canaanite, the Hittite, the Hivite, the Perizzite, the Girgashite, the Amorite, and the Jebusite. 11 Behold, the ark of the covenant of the Lord of all the earth is crossing over ahead of you into the Jordan,” (3:10-11).
It was exactly this time that the nation would come to see and know Him as the Lord of All the Earth, the living God Who rules His creation.
God was not calling them to perform a task they could accomplish in themselves; rather He was calling them to obedience and a new opportunity to experience the One Who controlled and ruled the entire earth.
The priests, by faith, were to step into the Jordan carrying the ark of the Lord, and then it was up to Him, the Lord of All the Earth to do the impossible and cut the waters off.
Does it not amaze you; the lengths to which He goes to demonstrate His power and bring needed assurance to His own? Who else but the Lord of All the Earth could stop the flow of the river at flood stage and ensure safe passage for His army?
But first, a step of faith was required; a step that would lead them to miraculously encounter the Lord of All the Earth, and experience His Presence, Promise and Provision.
Consider Him, the Lord of All the Earth
- The Lord of All the Earth revealed by His Presence
- Joshua said, “By this you shall know that the living God is among you…” (3:10).
- The Lord of All the Earth revealed in His Promise
- …and that He will assuredly dispossess from before you the Canaanite, the Hittite, the Hivite, the Perizzite, the Girgashite, the Amorite, and the Jebusite. 11 Behold, the ark of the covenant of the Lord of all the earth is crossing over ahead of you into the Jordan. 13 It shall come about when the soles of the feet of the priests who carry the ark of the Lord, the Lord of all the earth, rest in the waters of the Jordan, the waters of the Jordan will be cut off, and the waters which are flowing down from above will stand in one heap… (3:10-11).
- The Lord of All the Earth revealed through His Provision
- …and when those who carried the ark came into the Jordan, and the feet of the priests carrying the ark were dipped in the edge of the water (for the Jordan overflows all its banks all the days of harvest), 16 the waters which were flowing down from above stood and rose up in one heap, a great distance away at Adam, the city that is beside Zarethan; and those which were flowing down toward the sea of the Arabah, the Salt Sea, were completely cut off, (3:15-16).
How do we respond to Him, the Lord of All the Earth?
He is the Lord of All the Earth and yet He does not rule our free will. What would have happened had the nation doubted and refused to obey Him? It would not have diminished His power at all, but the people would never have come to know Him as the Lord of All the Earth.
Because they walked in faith and obedience, they experienced His Presence, Promise and Provision and witnessed the Lord of All the Earth revealed by His Power.
So the people crossed opposite Jericho. 17 And the priests who carried the ark of the covenant of the Lord stood firm on dry ground in the middle of the Jordan while all Israel crossed on dry ground, until all the nation had finished crossing the Jordan, (3:16-17).
Let us learn well from our Old Testament ancestors.
Let us resolve to go forth in faith and obedience as we rest in His Presence, believe His Promise, experience His Provision and witness His Power. With every step of faith and obedience we will be assured and strengthened to go forth wherever He leads, trusting in Him, the Lord of All the Earth, to rule His creation and do the impossible.
…so that your faith would not rest on the wisdom of men, but on the power of God, (1 Corinthians 2:5).