Pastoral Commentary for Joshua 3-4
Author: Pastor Bob Nordlie
Joshua ordered God's people to move close to the Jordan and prepare to follow the Ark of the Covenant which would lead the way into the Promised Land. However, God told His people to stay more than half a mile distant behind the ark, a distance meant to emphasize the holiness of God, "set apart" from His chosen people. Joshua told the people that God would demonstrate His presence with them by parting the waters of the Jordan River, even though the river was at flood stage. Just like God promised, as soon as the priests carrying the ark set foot in the water the river stopped flowing and all God's people were able to cross over on dry ground. 40 years earlier, a similar miracle at the Red Sea had begun the Exodus. Now the journey was being completed by the power of God who is the same yesterday, today and forever. God told Israel to have one man from each tribe take a stone from the middle of the Jordan and erect a monument where they would camp to serve as a permanent reminder that God brought His people into the Promised Land on dry ground. God's presence with Joshua as the leader of His people caused the people to look up to Joshua just as they had Moses. As soon as the Priests carrying the Ark left the river the water began to flow again. God did this "so that all the peoples of the earth may know that the hand of the Lord is mighty, that you may fear the Lord your God forever." To this day we can be confident in any circumstance that the hand of the Lord is mighty to save!