Thursday, October 29, 2015

Cross Over Or Die In The Desert

Joshua 3:9-17

“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.”
Moses had died and now Joshua is in charge.  Israel is at a very critical point, spiritually speaking, but they have been here before.  It is one of those moments when a choice has to be made.  Are they going move forward in faith, or let fear continue to dictate their future?  This is where they will either experience another breakdown or where you finally have your breakthrough. 
We all have to come to this place.  God has planted the seeds of hope in our lives, some of those seeds will come to fruition through faith, sadly however, many never see the light of day.  In each of our lives there is going to be a place that we will come to, a Jordan River, where we must decide if the hope that God has planted in our hearts is going to live or to become a victim of another spiritual abortion.  It is one thing to have a promise, a dream, but unless we move forward in faith and take possession of that promise all it will ever be is a dream.  Every dreamer will come to this place, it is here that dreamers either go over or go under.
An entire generation’s hope died at this place because they let go of their dream. At the edge of your Jordan there are only two choices, cross over into your promise, or settle down on this side of the river and give up your dream.
Your “Jordan” is a place that is God ordained for you.  It is a place of impossibility, a place of weakness, a place of helplessness, a place where all self-effort must die, and a place where we come face to face with our flesh.  You may face your Jordan during a time of sickness, a time of great financial difficulty, or a time of family turmoil.
God is not the author of sickness, disease, poverty, and hardship, but as we face these trials we come to an end of ourselves, and we can trust God and go over in faith, or struggle in our own strength and be buried in the desert of doubt. 
“Jordan” is a dividing line, it is the place where we are forced to decide whether or not we going to trust in the living God, or trust in the arm of the flesh and self-efforts.
Jacob wrestled all night with the angel of the Lord, during that wrestling match Jacob came face to face with his flesh.  He was forced to “come to himself” and to see himself as he really was: he was a deceiver, a manipulator, and a usurper.  Jacob’s cry, “I won’t let you go till you bless me,” was a cry to be delivered from self.  He was in essence saying, “Don’t leave me like this, I can’t live like this anymore, and I’m sick of my carnal self.”
That was moment was Jacob’s Jordan.
What does it take to get across Jordan?
The first step we must take to cross our Jordan must be sanctification: “Sanctify yourselves, for tomorrow the Lord will do wonders among you.”
Anything that would offend the spirit of God in our lives can keep us from crossing our Jordan.  So many have started across Jordan but because of some inordinate affection, some hidden sin, some secret self- love, they have come up short and were swallowed up by waves of despair, guilt, and condemnation.
“Circumcise the children of Israel again”
The application for us is that we must die to our flesh daily, we must never reach the place of deceiving ourselves that we have conquered the self-life, and we must be vigilant and quick to take the sword of the Spirit, the word of God, and cut away that which is of the flesh.
We forfeit a vast amount of God’s power when we allow our lives to become cluttered with things of the flesh.  The shortage and the failure is not on Gods part, He is ready, He is willing, and He is able.  But we must clear the way and open up the channel for the power of God through sanctification.
Secondly, we must have a vision of something greater.  No one will let go of what they have unless they have caught a vision of something greater.
Moses had a vision of something greater, Joshua had a vision of something greater, Joseph had a vision of something greater, Jesus had a vision of something greater!
Hebrews 12:2
“Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God.”
Third, in order to cross our Jordan we must be totally dependent upon God.  This where we are holding onto the ark, the ark represents the presence, the power, and the glory of God, we must understand that we cannot cross in our own power.
For years I struggled with the same issues.  Why?  I was depending on my own strength to overcome the obstacles and the sin in my life.  It wasn’t until I came to understand that I was powerless to overcome my sin nature in my own knowledge or my own strength, and I admitted that I was powerless and I needed God to deliver me, that I was finally set free.  Now I walk in a power that is not of my own making, but comes from the indwelling presence of the Holy Spirit in my life.
“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.”
Fourth, in order to cross the Jordan, we must have bare feet.  Bare feet means that we have no personal agenda; all of our dreams must have at their core the glory of God and the promotion of His Kingdom.  If it is selfish in nature it is not from God, and it will be swept away by the raging currents of the Jordan.
Before God commissioned Moses to bring his people out of bondage, he first ordered him to take off his shoes, and when Joshua came into the presence of the captain of the lord of hosts, he took off his shoes.  The removal of the shoe in the Bible is more than just an act of respect or reverence, it shows a transfer of ownership.  By removing your shoes you are signifying the relinquishment of property rights.  You are saying to God, “My life is no longer mine to do with what I want from this point forward I belong to you.”
In order to see our dream come to fruition, we must surrender everything that we have, everything that we are, and everything that we will ever be to God.
Fifth, we have to get our feet wet.
It wasn’t until the priest’s feet were dipped in the water that the waters began to recede.  Nothing happened until they stepped in and got their feet wet.  They had to have enough vision of the promise, and enough faith in God to get them off the bank into the water.  Then as they stepped out in faith the waters fled before them.
One of our biggest problems is that we want to see victory before we ever get into the fight.  We want to see the end before we are willing to begin.  The promises of God are activated through faith, and most of the time, God operates on a need to know basis.  The Lord usually will only give you what you need to know to get you started, then as you move out in faith He reveals more and more with each step forward.
Sixth, we have to trust God’s timing:
Joshua 3:4
“Yet 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 way by which you must go; for you have not passed this way heretofore.”
This is one of the greatest tests of all, and 2,000 cubits sometimes feels like a hundred years.  God’s timing is critical, in Gods timing we have the full measure of Gods power working for us, in Gods timing things and people are perfectly positioned, Gods timing usually doesn’t make sense from a natural perspective.
It didn’t make sense to try and cross this river at flood stage, this season of the year the Jordan always floods.  Didn’t God know this?  Remember this Jericho is on the other side and Jericho Is ripe for conquest.
Joshua 2:9-11
“And she said unto the men, I know that the LORD hath given you the land, and that your terror is fallen upon us, and that all the inhabitants of the land faint because of you. 10 For we have heard how the LORD dried up the water of the Red sea for you, when ye came out of Egypt; and what ye did unto the two kings of the Amorites, that were on the other side Jordan, Sihon and Og, whom ye utterly destroyed. 11 And as soon as we had heard these things, our hearts did melt, neither did there remain any more courage in any man, because of you: for the LORD your God, he is God in heaven above, and in earth beneath.”
God knows when things are in position, to delay would allow Jericho to regain their courage.  It may not look like the time, or feel like the time, or sound like the time, but God knows what we don’t know, He has inside information, so when he says do it, you can be sure his power will be available to bring it to pass.  And if we are willing and obedient we will eat the good of the land. 
If we are willing to walk in faith, we will cross the Jordan.

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