Joshua 3:14 So when the people set out from their tents to pass over the Jordan with the priests bearing the Ark of the Covenant before the people, 15 and as soon as those bearing the Ark had come as far as the Jordan, and the feet of the priests bearing the Ark were dipped in the brink of the water (now the Jordan overflows all its banks throughout the time of harvest), 16 the waters coming down from above stood and rose up in a heap very far away, at Adam, the city that is beside Zarethan, and those flowing down toward the Sea of the Arabah, the Salt Sea, were completely cut off. And the people passed over opposite Jericho. 17 Now the priests bearing the ark of the covenant of the Lord stood firmly on dry ground in the midst of the Jordan, and all Israel was passing over on dry ground until all the nation finished passing over the Jordan. ESV
The Bible teaches us that God is able to do exceedingly above and beyond what we can even ask or think. (see Ephesians 3:20) God is able to divide a raging river and allow us to cross on dry land. He is able to help us defeat every giant that comes against us. He is able to help us possess all of His promises.
Yet in order for God to bless us, we must dedicate ourselves to do His will. Notice how this important day in the life of God’s people began –
Joshua 3:1 Then Joshua rose early in the morning and they set out from Shittim. And they came to the Jordan, he and all the people of Israel, and lodged there before they passed over. 2 At the end of three days the officers went through the camp 3 and commanded the people, “As soon as you see the ark of the covenant of the Lord your God being carried by the Levitical priests, then you shall set out from your place and follow it. 4 Yet there shall be a distance between you and it, about 2,000 cubits in length. Do not come near it, in order that you may know the way you shall go, for you have not passed this way before.” 5 Then Joshua said to the people, “Consecrate yourselves, for tomorrow the Lord will do wonders among you.” ESV
Joshua told the people that they should ‘consecrate’ themselves before the LORD. What does it mean to consecrate ourselves? The word ‘consecrate’ is the same word that is sometimes translated as ‘sanctify.’ Both words refer to us setting ourselves apart from sin in order to dedicate ourselves to do God’s will. The Bible says that the fear of God should keep us from sinning. (see Ex 20:20) We all know that our salvation is based upon God’s grace and not our goodness. Yet the Bible also tells us that we should not try to misuse God’s grace for selfish reasons. (see Romans 6:1-14; Galatians 5:13) God does not show us His grace so that we may keep on sinning. God gives us His grace to keep us from sinning. Grace is God’s strength to help us do God’s will.
God was ready to lead His people into the Promised Land and therefore they needed to be ready to follow. Therefore Joshua said to the people:
A. Set your eyes on God
B. Demonstrate your godly sincerity by cleansing yourself of all known sin
C. When God moves – follow!