In our town, there is a stoplight that has been not working for several weeks.  Since it has been not functioning properly it has been used as a four-way stop.  I go through this intersection every day.  The other day I came upon the four-way, and I sat there.  I forgot it wasn’t working.  I sat and sat wondering when the light was going to change- DUH finally. It wasn’t going to. It didn’t work. Eventually, I realized and was so embarrassed- I can go.  No one had told me to stop. I just did, and I wasn’t going to go!

Yesterday there were several opportunities to have church.  No, not physical church, but church online.  I first watched the Elevation Church then I watched my home church FUMC Stuttgart.

I want to share with you today the message from Steven Frutick.

The lesson revolved around Joshua 3.

The Israelites were on the wrong side of the Jordan for 40 years.  There they were.  They had stopped.  God didn’t tell them to stop; they just stopped and stared.

It was time now for Joshua to lead them to the other side.  Just like the situation we are in today.  They were staring at the Jordan River.  The river looked like an insurmountable obstacle.  It was swollen and treacherous, overflowing its banks with snowmelt from Mount Hermon. They all were staring at the same problem, but they were in different kinds of boats.  Just like today, we are all facing this virus, but we are all having various difficulties or circumstances.  Some can look at it as a break to stay at home, some are immune suppressed and can’t go out at all, some are dealing with financial difficulties, the COVID 19 affects everyone, but in different ways.

Joshua 3: 1-4

3 Early in the morning Joshua and all the Israelites set out from Shittim and went to the Jordan, where they camped before crossing over. 2 After three days the officers went throughout the camp, 3 giving orders to the people: “When you see the ark of the covenant of the Lord your God, and the Levitical priests carrying it, you are to move out from your positions and follow it. 4 Then you will know which way to go, since you have never been this way before. But keep a distance of about two thousand cubits[a] between you and the ark; do not go near it.”

 

The Israelites camped for three days.  Then they were given orders to watch the priests carrying the ark of the covenant and to follow.  When you follow the ark, you will know which way to go, since you have never been this way before.  But keep a distance.

They needed to follow Christ because they didn’t know which way to go, but Christ was going to be at a distance.  Isn’t that how it is today?  We feel that Christ is in the distance.  We don’t think He is near, but He is.  He is also telling us to follow Him because we do not know which way to go.

The ark of the covenant is God’s throne on earth so with the priests carrying the ark the Lord went into the dangerous river first, demonstrating his role as protector.  This same God is with us today.  Isaiah 43:2 when you pass through the waters, I will be with you: and when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you.  When you walk through the fire, you not be burned; the flames will not set you ablaze.

Joshua 3:5

5 Joshua told the people, “Consecrate yourselves, for tomorrow the Lord will do amazing things among you.”

Consecrate yourself, dedicate yourself to God.  Why because tomorrow the Lord will do amazing things.  We have to trust God with tomorrow.  We have to realize that we are going through something new.  God is preparing us, mending us.  We are on the other side of Jordan, but we will walk across, so don’t stop.  Don’t get so focused on getting through that you miss what God wants us to get out of it.

Joshua 3:14

14 So when the people broke camp to cross the Jordan, the priests carrying the ark of the covenant went ahead of them. 15 Now the Jordan is at flood stage all during harvest. Yet as soon as the priests who carried the ark reached the Jordan and their feet touched the water’s edge, 16 the water from upstream stopped flowing. It piled up in a heap a great distance away, at a town called Adam in the vicinity of Zarethan, while the water flowing down to the Sea of the Arabah (that is, the Dead Sea) was completely cut off. So the people crossed over opposite Jericho. 17 The priests who carried the ark of the covenant of the Lord stopped in the middle of the Jordan and stood on dry ground, while all Israel passed by until the whole nation had completed the crossing on dry ground.

Here They were staring at the floodwaters with the ARK OF THE COVENANT ahead of them.  Just like us, we are staring at this virus with all of those on the front lines fighting for all of us.  We are scared; we are nervous; we have never been through anything like this before.  What do we do?  WE DON’T STOP.  We have courageous faith like Joshua.  We trust just like the Israelites.  We believe that the water will stop flowing, and we will walk across.  We will get through it.

God wants to connect with us; he is calling us to a greater purpose.  We see things as obstacles, God sees it as a turning point.  God transformed Israel form a wandering horde into an established nation.   Not because they stopped but because they finally went!

CHALLENGES OF THE WEEK

  • Keep your daily appointment with God
  • Dive deep into the word
  • Keep on going don’t stop believing
  • Fill your cup with Christ so you can fill other cups

 

Joshua 3 New International Version (NIV)

3 Early in the morning Joshua and all the Israelites set out from Shittim and went to the Jordan, where they camped before crossing over. 2 After three days the officers went throughout the camp, 3 giving orders to the people: “When you see the ark of the covenant of the Lord your God, and the Levitical priests carrying it, you are to move out from your positions and follow it. 4 Then you will know which way to go, since you have never been this way before. But keep a distance of about two thousand cubits[a] between you and the ark; do not go near it.”

5 Joshua told the people, “Consecrate yourselves, for tomorrow the Lord will do amazing things among you.”

6 Joshua said to the priests, “Take up the ark of the covenant and pass on ahead of the people.” So they took it up and went ahead of them.

7 And the Lord said to Joshua, “Today I will begin to exalt you in the eyes of all Israel, so they may know that I am with you as I was with Moses. 8 Tell the priests who carry the ark of the covenant: ‘When you reach the edge of the Jordan’s waters, go and stand in the river.’”

9 Joshua said to the Israelites, “Come here and listen to the words of the Lord your God. 10 This is how you will know that the living God is among you and that he will certainly drive out before you the Canaanites, Hittites, Hivites, Perizzites, Girgashites, Amorites and Jebusites. 11 See, the ark of the covenant of the Lord of all the earth will go into the Jordan ahead of you. 12 Now then, choose twelve men from the tribes of Israel, one from each tribe. 13 And as soon as the priests who carry the ark of the Lord—the Lord of all the earth—set foot in the Jordan, its waters flowing downstream will be cut off and stand up in a heap.”

14 So when the people broke camp to cross the Jordan, the priests carrying the ark of the covenant went ahead of them. 15 Now the Jordan is at flood stage all during harvest. Yet as soon as the priests who carried the ark reached the Jordan and their feet touched the water’s edge, 16 the water from upstream stopped flowing. It piled up in a heap a great distance away, at a town called Adam in the vicinity of Zarethan, while the water flowing down to the Sea of the Arabah (that is, the Dead Sea) was completely cut off. So the people crossed over opposite Jericho. 17 The priests who carried the ark of the covenant of the Lord stopped in the middle of the Jordan and stood on dry ground, while all Israel passed by until the whole nation had completed the crossing on dry ground.

Resources

https://www.learnreligions.com/crossing-the-jordan-river-bible-story-700081

https://elevationchurch.org/sermons/when-god-says-stop/

 

Have a great week, Cupcake