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Crossing the Jordan River (Joshua 3)

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CHAPTER 3 May 19 
Israel Miraculously Cross the Jordan
Joshua rose up early in the morning; and they moved from Shittim, and came to the Jordan, he and all the children of Israel. They lodged there before they passed over. 2It happened after three days that the officers went through the midst of the camp; 3and they commanded the people saying, When you see the ark of the covenant of Yahweh your God and the priests the Levites bearing it, then you shall move from your place, and follow it. 4Yet there shall be a space between you and it, about two thousand cubits by measure. Don’t come near to it, that you may know the path to follow; for you have not passed this way before. 5Joshua said to the people, Sanctify yourselves; for tomorrow Yahweh will do wonders among you. 6Joshua spoke to the priests, saying, Take up the ark of the covenant, and walk in front of the people. They took up the ark of the covenant, and walked ahead of the people. 7Yahweh said to Joshua, Today I will begin to magnify you in the sight of all Israel, that they may know that as I was with Moses, so I will be with you. 8You shall command the priests who bear the ark of the covenant saying, ‘When you come to the brink of the waters of the Jordan, you shall stand still in the Jordan’. 9Joshua said to the children of Israel, Come here, and hear the words of Yahweh your God. 10Joshua said, Hereby you shall know that the living God is among you, and that He will without fail drive out the Canaanite, and the Hittite, and the Hivite, and the Perizzite, and the Girgashite, and the Amorite, and the Jebusite from before you. 11Behold, the ark of the covenant of the Lord of all the earth passes over before you into the Jordan. 12Now therefore take twelve men out of the tribes of Israel, for every tribe a man. 13It shall come to pass, when the soles of the feet of the priests who bear the ark of Yahweh, the Lord of all the earth, rest in the waters of the Jordan, the waters of the Jordan will be cut off. The waters that come down from above shall stand in a heap. 14It happened, when the people moved from their tents to pass over the Jordan, that the priests who bore the ark of the covenant walked in front of the people. 15When those who bore the ark had come to the Jordan, and the feet of the priests who bore the ark had dipped in the edge of the water (for the Jordan overflows all its banks all the time of harvest) 16that the waters which came down from above stood and rose up in one heap, a great way off, at Adam, the city that is beside Zarethan; and those that went down toward the sea of the Arabah, even the Salt Sea, were wholly cut off. Then the people passed over right against Jericho. 17The priests who bore the ark of the covenant of Yahweh stood firm on dry ground in the middle of the Jordan. Then, all the people of Israel passed over the Jordan on dry ground.


3:1 There is a much repeated characteristic of God's servants: that they 'rose up early in the morning' and did God's work. In each of the following passages, this phrase is clearly not an idiom; rather does it have an evidently literal meaning: Abraham (Gen. 19:27; 21:14; 22:3); Jacob (Gen. 28:18); Job (1:5); Moses (Ex. 8:20; 9:13; 24:4; 34:4); Joshua (Josh. 3:1; 6:12; 7:16; 8:10); Gideon (Jud. 6:38; 7:1); Samuel (1 Sam. 15:12); David (1 Sam. 17:20; 29:11); Hezekiah (2 Kings 19:35; 2 Chron. 29:20). This is quite an impressive list, numerically. I 'm not suggesting that zeal for God is reflected by rising early rather than staying up late; but it wouldn't be too much to suggest that if we are men of mission, we won't waste our hours in bed. Get up when you wake up.