The believer is to go on in the way of duty,
though foreseeing great difficulties,
depending on the divine sufficiency for that which he finds himself not sufficient for.
“Is any thing too hard for the LORD?” (Genesis 18:14)
1 And Joshua rose early in the morning; and they removed from Shittim, and came to Jordan, he and all the children of Israel, and lodged there before they passed over.
2 And it came to pass after three days, that the officers went through the host;
3 And they commanded the people, saying, When ye see the ark of the covenant of the LORD your God, and the priests the Levites bearing it, then ye shall remove from your place, and go after it.
4 Yet there shall be a space between you and it, about two thousand cubits by measure: come not near unto it, that ye may know the way by which ye must go: for ye have not passed this way heretofore.
5 And Joshua said unto the people, Sanctify yourselves: for to morrow the LORD will do wonders among you.
6 And Joshua spake unto the priests, saying, Take up the ark of the covenant, and pass over before the people. And they took up the ark of the covenant, and went before the people.
7 ¶ And the LORD said unto Joshua, This day will I begin to magnify thee in the sight of all Israel, that they may know that, as I was with Moses, so I will be with thee.
8 And thou shalt command the priests that bear the ark of the covenant, saying, When ye are come to the brink of the water of Jordan, ye shall stand still in Jordan.
9 ¶ And Joshua said unto the children of Israel, Come hither, and hear the words of the LORD your God.
10 And Joshua said, Hereby ye 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 passeth over before you into Jordan.
12 Now therefore take you twelve men out of the tribes of Israel, out of every tribe a man.
13 And it shall come to pass, as soon as the soles of the feet of the priests that bear the ark of the LORD, the Lord of all the earth, shall rest in the waters of Jordan, that the waters of Jordan shall be cut off from the waters that come down from above; and they shall stand upon an heap.
14 ¶ And it came to pass, when the people removed from their tents, to pass over Jordan, and the priests bearing the ark of the covenant before the people;
15 And as they that bare the ark were come unto Jordan, and the feet of the priests that bare the ark were dipped in the brim of the water, (for Jordan overfloweth all his banks all the time of harvest,)
16 That the waters which came down from above stood and rose up upon an heap very far from the city Adam, that is beside Zaretan: and those that came down toward the sea of the plain, even the salt sea, failed, and were cut off: and the people passed over right against Jericho.
17 And the priests that bare the ark of the covenant of the LORD stood firm on dry ground in the midst of Jordan, and all the Israelites passed over on dry ground, until all the people were passed clean over Jordan.
Joshua 1 – J. Vernon McGee
Joshua 3:1-17 – The Jordan Safely Crossed
For three days the host faced that swollen river. It was enough to appall them, except that, like Abraham, they dared to behold it in the light of the divine promise. Every method was adopted to impress on them that the river was cleft by and for the Ark. The distance between the people and the advancing priests was purposely widened that there might be no doubt about the miracle. Whenever we step out on the unknown path, the Ark of the Covenant, which symbolizes Christ, precedes, Isaiah 52:12.
The waters far up the stream were arrested and formed themselves into a vast lake. The bed of the river became dry for miles. The priests stood still till all Israel was safely over. Not only the leaders and priests, but the rank and file. Each of the blood-bought is dear to God. They shall not come into judgment, John 5:24. —Through the Bible Day by Day
Joshua 3:13—As soon as the soles of the feet of the priests… shall rest in the waters of Jordan.
The floods of the Jordan were high: so may be the floods of trial and sorrow that sometimes overflow their banks; so the floods of conviction of sin; and so, to some at least, the waters of death. Possibly this overflowing is needed for the time of harvest; the width of golden grain in the Jordan valley was no doubt to a large extent dependent on the far-spreading of those waters. How the heart trembles, as we hear the gurgling and rushing of the floods. Hark, how they lift up their voice!
But when the priest’s foot touches them, they shrink away. Jesus has stepped down into these floods as our High Priest. In Gethsemane their overflowing tide washed around Him. At Calvary the water-spouts went over his head. In the grave He seemed momentarily to have succumbed. But since then they have been cut off. Through the ages He has stood, bearing the ark of propitiation, and arresting the tumultuous floods. “Thus far, and no further.”
Sinful soul, deeply convicted, “Look for the Priest,” on whose person the storm broke, and by whom it has been checked and stayed! Tried believer, be sure that the water-floods cannot pass Jesus, to reach or drown thee! His promise to thee is: “When thou passest through the waters, I will be with thee; and through the rivers, they shall not overflow thee: when thou walkest through the fire, thou shalt not be burned; neither shall the flame kindle upon thee” (Isaiah 43:2). And when death approaches thee, O fearful and trembling one, thou wilt find Jesus standing between thee and its might, making a path by which thou shalt pass over dryshod. —Our Daily Homily