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Saving Faith - Joshua 3:7-17

Joshua 3:7-17

7 And the LORD said to Joshua, "This day I will begin to exalt you in the sight of all Israel, that they may know that, as I was with Moses, so I will be with you. 8 You shall command the priests who bear the ark of the covenant, saying, 'When you have come to the edge of the water of the Jordan, you shall stand in the Jordan.' " 9 So Joshua said to the children of Israel, "Come here, and hear the words of the LORD your God." 10 And Joshua said, "By this you shall know that the living God is among you, and that He will without fail drive out from before you the Canaanites and the Hittites and the Hivites and the Perizzites and the Girgashites and the Amorites and the Jebusites: 11 Behold, the ark of the covenant of the Lord of all the earth is crossing over before you into the Jordan. 12 Now therefore, take for yourselves twelve men from the tribes of Israel, one man from every tribe. 13 And it shall come to pass, as soon as the soles of the feet of the priests who bear the ark of the LORD, the Lord of all the earth, shall rest in the waters of the Jordan, that the waters of the Jordan shall be cut off, the waters that come down from upstream, and they shall stand as a heap." 14 So it was, when the people set out from their camp to cross over the Jordan, with the priests bearing the ark of the covenant before the people, 15 and as those who bore the ark came to the Jordan, and the feet of the priests who bore the ark dipped in the edge of the water (for the Jordan overflows all its banks during the whole time of harvest), 16 that the waters which came down from upstream stood still, and rose in a heap very far away at Adam, the city that is beside Zaretan. So the waters that went down into the Sea of the Arabah, the Salt Sea, failed, and were cut off; and the people crossed over opposite Jericho.

17 Then the priests who bore the ark of the covenant of the LORD stood firm on dry ground in the midst of the Jordan; and all Israel crossed over on dry ground, until all the people had crossed completely over the Jordan.

The children of Israel had come to the Jordan river during its flood stage (Verse 15); and when the Jordan flooded, it went from approximately 100 feet wide to as wide as a mile. It was a seemingly impossible task to cross such a river with as many as one to two million people (Including children, babies, the elderly, the sick, and much livestock).

God raised up Joshua and exalted him in the sight of the people so that they would know that God was with him, and follow him over the Jordan river and into the promised land.(Verse 7).

The Hebrew name for Joshua is Yeshua, which means "Yahweh is salvation", and the transliteration of Yeshua into Greek is Iesous, from which we get the name "Jesus." In Matthew 1:21, an angel tells Joseph, "...You shall call His name Jesus, for He will save His people from their sins." And in Acts 5:30-31, Peter and the other Apostles said, "The God of our fathers raised up Jesus whom you murdered by hanging on a tree.

Him God has exalted to His right hand to be Prince and Savior, to give repentance to Israel and forgiveness of sins.

Joshua is a "Type" or "Picture" of Jesus, the Messiah yet to come. And just as Joshua led the children of Israel through the Jordan river and into the promised land, where he would lead them in their fight against their enemies in the conquest of the land; Jesus leads us into salvation, and through this life to ultimate glory in heaven. In Hebrews 2:10, it says, "For it was fitting for Him {Jesus}, for whom are all things and by whom are all things, in bringing many sons to glory, to make the captain of their salvation perfect through sufferings."

The Lord commanded Joshua to have the priests carry the ark of the covenant and stand in the water at the edge of the Jordan river (Verse 8). The ark was a symbol of God's presence with the people, because God would meet with the people and speak to them from the "Mercy seat" on top of the ark (Exodus 25:21-22). So when the people saw the ark with the priests in the water, it would strengthen their faith, knowing that God was going before them. In the same way, all of Jesus' miracles (John 3:2, John 10:25), His own words (John 5:19-23), the words of God the Father (Matthew 3:17, Matthew 17:5, Hebrews 1:8-12), and the Resurrection (Acts 13:30), should strengthen our faith that God is with Him! And He Himself went before us in death and resurrection(I Corinthians 15:23).

In the same way that it was humanly impossible for them to walk through the Jordan river on dry ground, it is humanly impossible for us to save ourselves. In Romans 3:10, Paul says, " As it is written: "There is none righteous, no, not one; There is none who understands; There is none who seeks after God." And in Romans 3:23, Paul says, " for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God," And in Romans 6:23, Paul says,"For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord." And in Psalm 49:7-8, the Psalmist says, "None of them can by any means redeem his brother, Nor give to God a ransom for him-- For the redemption of their souls is costly, And it shall cease forever-- "

In Luke chapter 18 (Verse 27), Jesus is speaking about the human impossibility of salvation to His disciples and He states, "The things which are impossible with men are possible with God." Because God is perfectly holy and just, and we are not, there is no possible way for us to save ourselves; if there was God would not have sent Jesus to be punished for our sins, He would have just told us to do good works and we would be saved, He wouldn't have killed His only Son if there was another way! Acts 4:10-12, it says, "Let it be known to you all, and to all the people of Israel, that by the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, whom you crucified, whom God raised from the dead, by Him this man stands here before you whole.

This is the 'stone which was rejected by you builders, which has become the chief cornerstone.'

Nor is there salvation in any other, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved."

As soon as the feet of the priests touched the water, God stopped the flow of the Jordan twenty miles upstream and the water piled up in a heap (Probably miles in the air, as it took some time for 1-2 million people to cross). This miracle was performed completely by God, with no human works involved.

However, in order for the people to pass through the river, they had to exercise their faith (Individually) by trusting that God would keep back the waters, and then they had to act on that faith by walking through the waters. Likewise, for us to be saved, we must "Believe" that Jesus died for our sins and rose from the dead (Romans 10:9) and will save us (John 3:16-18), and we confess Him as Lord (Romans 10:9) and call on His name to save us (Romans 10:13).

Just as God raised up Joshua to lead the people into the promised land and then miraculously stopped the Jordan river so that they could cross, God raised up His own Son Jesus to lead us into salvation, and through the miracle of Jesus' death for our sins and His resurrection, God can forgive us for our sins, and grant us eternal life. But just like the children of Israel exercised faith in God and then acted on it, we must exercise faith in Jesus and what He has done for us, and then act on it!


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