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1700. Crossing the Jordan

The Daily Platform / Bob Jones University
The Truth Network Radio
February 2, 2024 9:36 pm

1700. Crossing the Jordan

The Daily Platform / Bob Jones University

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Welcome to The Daily Platform from Bob Jones University in Greenville, South Carolina. Today on The Daily Platform, we'll hear a sermon preached by the Chancellor, Dr. Bob Jones III, who is the grandson of the founder, Dr. Bob Jones Sr. So would you open your Bibles, please, to Joshua chapter 3.

Please keep it open. We're going to read this entire chapter in just a moment. Somehow as I started praying, oh, I don't know, some weeks ago, Lord, what would you have me say to the students today? God laid this chapter on my heart. I began to study it. I began to get absorbed in it. I began to see things here that really had just passed by me before. And I have just come to be absorbed by this passage. And I'd like you to do this before I read it. Put yourself as one of these some perhaps two million Jewish people, the oldest of which would have been about 20 since only though it would have been about 60 because since they had to spend 40 years until the previous generation in their unbelief had to die off, everybody 20 and under got to go in.

And so from about 60 down to young babies. And they faced an impossible, daunting, impossible task, humanly speaking. I see some analogous things here pertaining to you that just have occurred to me as I studied this passage.

I want to share those with you. Put yourself in the place of one of these two million Jewish people. They had been anticipating the land of milk and honey for all of their lives, their adult lives. And soon they were going to get to go there. You know how you feel the night before you're going to start to be able to do something you've anticipated for a long time, a once in a lifetime thing perhaps, something like going off to college for the first time or taking your first job or the keys to your first car or your first house or having been prepared through basic training and now you are going to be inducted to the US military as an officer and tomorrow you get to put on that uniform of your country for the first time.

Think about those first time and maybe first and only times and how you feel the sleeplessness of the night before. Well, we're told in this passage that the night before they went, they learned that tomorrow they were going to cross the swollen Jordan River. The Jordan River normally is a placid little river.

It runs north and south and forms the eastern boundary of the land of Canaan. Normally it's easily navigable, but now in the springtime, late March, early to mid April, when the snows of Mount Hermon from which those waters emanate, they're melting. The river is swollen. It is raging.

It is rebellious. It is refusing to be bounded by the banks on either side and these two million people, people of all ages, men and women, how are they going to get across? Joshua said, tomorrow you're going to cross. Put yourself there.

Think about it as you follow when I read. Joshua rose early in the morning and they removed from Shittim and came to Jordan. Shittim is about six miles from the Jordan River. They're seeing the Jordan for the first time in their lives.

They're seeing it at its worst. Caleb and Joshua had seen it before, 40 years before, and the two spies that went over just a few days and returned had seen it, but about four people only had seen it. They came to Jordan and all the children of Israel, they lodged there before they passed over and it came to pass after three days, that is three days at the very boundary of the river. The officers went through the host and they commanded the people saying, when you see the ark of the covenant of the Lord your God and the priest, the Levites bearing it, then you shall remove from your place and go after it. Yet there shall be a space between you and it, about two thousand cubits by measure.

I'm told that's about a thousand yards. You come near unto it and you may know the way by which you must go, for you have not passed this way before. He said, you don't know the terrain here and there are valleys and little hills and two million people between you and this ark, many of them obscuring where the crossing is supposed to be, the ark is going to be way out ahead, about 8.3 football fields ahead, and it's going to be out there where you can't see it, where you can see it. If you had crowded this thing, some of that crowd would lose sight of it and they would go a wrong way. Don't follow the crowd. There's a lesson for us. Follow God.

The ark represented the presence of God. We'll talk about that in just a minute. Find out which way God is going and go with him. Don't follow the crowd.

The crowd will oftentimes and maybe most times lead you the wrong way. And Joshua said unto the people, sanctify yourselves for tomorrow the Lord will do wonders among you. Joshua spake unto the priest saying take up the ark of the covenant, pass over before the people.

They took up the ark of the covenant and went before the people. And the Lord said unto Joshua, this day I will 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. And thou shall command the priests that bear the ark of the covenant saying, when you are come to the brink of the water of Jordan you shall stand still in Jordan. And Joshua said unto the children of Israel, come hither hear the words of the Lord your God. Joshua said, hereby you shall know that the living God is among you and that he will without fail drive out from before you the Canaanites, Hittites, Hivites, Perizzites, the Girgashites, Amorites and the Jebusites. Behold the ark of the covenant of the Lord of all the earth passes over before you into Jordan. Now therefore take you twelve men of the tribes of Israel out of every tribe a man and it shall come to pass as soon as the souls 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 a heap. And it came to pass when the people removed from their tents to pass over Jordan the priests bearing the ark of the covenant before the people and as they that bear the ark were come to the Jordan the feet of the priests that bear the ark were dipped in the brim of the water for Jordan overflows all his banks in the time of harvest that would be the barley harvest in the spring that the waters which come down from above stood and rose up upon and heap very far from the city of Adam that is beside Zaratan and those that came down toward the sea of the plain even the salt sea that would be the Dead Sea failed and were cut off and the people passed over right against Jericho and the priests that bear 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. Would you allow me to try to break down very quickly, our time is short, some key components about what we learned in this passage from this very historical moment of the history of Israel.

Let's break it down into some components and discover how some of this is analogous to your circumstances today. We're told in 2 Timothy 3.16 that all scripture is given by inspiration of God and is profitable, that is advantageous for instruction, for conviction, for correction and redirection and for training in righteous living. So that being the case and since that was spoken by Paul to Timothy he said all scripture he was speaking of the Old Testament scriptures that's all they had at that time. So God made it very clear that this passage and everything in the Old Testament is profitable, advantageous for us.

How is this advantageous for us? Well we find out something about the leaders of these people. When God's on the move he normally uses individual leaders to direct his people. We find in this passage that we just read Joshua speaking in verses 5 and 6 to the people he says sanctify yourselves tomorrow you're going to cross over. We find that he was giving commandments to the priests that bore the ark. He was saying to the people of Israel come near and hear the words of the Lord. He spoke giving them assurances that they would safely cross in verse 10. Verses 11 to 13 he spent giving instructions for an orderly and successful passage. There's always somebody leading you whether it was your parents or whether it will be here after the leaders of the workplace where you have end up working or whether it's here you'll always have somebody telling you the right thing to do.

That's just the way life works. And only the rebellious of heart resent that and fail to see how important and essential that is for an orderly crossing. Look at your years here at Bob Jones University as the Jordan River. And from here you will cross into the rest of your life. It's important to get the meaning of the crossing right because the lessons to be learned from the leaders that's your faculty that's the administrators here others in authority here from learning from them about your God is necessary that you should live successfully on the other side.

Most students go to college to get a diploma and a few tools to work successfully and earn some money. Your time here is so much more than that. The crossing of the Jordan was so much more than going from point A to point B. The whole event was about knowing who their God is. And that's what the whole event of your four years here is. Seize these moments.

Understand how much more there is here for you than the diploma you will take away from you when it's all over. Now if the leaders are going to do that it's required of them that they know God in ways that the followers don't know God. They can't take you anywhere. They haven't walked with God. Nobody's qualified to teach in this institution who doesn't have a deep acquaintance with God Almighty and a personal loving relationship through his word about who he is and what he tells his people to do. Spiritual leadership puts men in a fearful responsibility. It requires that your leaders know the commandments of God before they give you the commandments of God. It requires that they be a people of faith and humility and diligence and obedience. There's a great deal of responsibility upon your faculty. I hope you pray for them.

It requires that they be decisive. These priests, the moment God said put your feet in the water they had to go put their feet in the water. They couldn't equivocate. They didn't have time to brush their teeth, put on their deodorant.

They just had to go. Now let me show you how life works. How it works here. Students, faculty, administrators are all here at Bob Jones University because there is a board of trustees that is the primary responsibility, the primary authority. The board of trustees appoints the president who is answerable to the board. The president appoints the vice presidents who are answerable to the president and the other administrators answerable to the president. They serve at the president's pleasure as he serves at the board's pleasure. He chooses his administrators. The administrators appoint the deans.

The deans appoint the faculty leadership, the department heads, the division chairs and the students are under the authority of the rule book which you're going to sign and say I will be under this authority and under the authority of those who enforce the rules of the rule book. That's just the way life works. In fact that's the way the Christian church works. The world works. Hebrews tells us in the first chapter all things are held together by the word of his power.

There's always somebody giving you words that are commands. God holds the world together by his commands to everything he has created. The heavens above, the things under the sea, all things are held together.

The human body, the tiniest cells, the tiniest components of what all things are made of. It's all held together by his word. You see, think about this. If this institution did not hold you accountable for the rule book, for its commands, its demands if you will, it would have no integrity because it says here's the rules and here's the penalties for not conforming to them. If this institution ever fails to enforce the rules, there would be no integrity.

You would have no reason to trust or respect the institution. When God speaks, the authority of God and the integrity of God is at stake. Think about that. When God said to Adam and Eve, you can have all the fruit of all the trees of the garden, but there is one tree whose fruits you cannot have. And the day you eat of it, you will surely die. They ate of it and they surely began to die at that moment. Death entered God's created world and all the universe, everything God created was affected. The animal kingdom was affected by that horrific cataclysmic act of disobedience. God had to do. He had no choice because he honors his word and he gave his word to this couple, Adam and Eve, that they would surely begin to die. And in this institution when the administration gives its word to you, that not following the commands, if you will, with the rule book, you will surely have this penalty or that penalty if it didn't enforce it.

All the authority, all the integrity, this school would fall apart. So don't look at it as something harsh, look at it as something entirely necessary for the success and harmony and effectiveness of this institution. And Hebrews 13 admonishes us to remember those who have the rule over us, who speak to us the word of God, whose faith we should follow considering the end of their conversation, imitating it says, their life and behavior. So we find the leaders, we find the followers, we find the ark in this passage. Verses three and four and five, God said when you see the ark move, you move. When you see God, the ark represented, when you see the ark move, God is on the move. And you follow him and you leave some distance. You know, one of the great problems in the church at large today in America is the lack of distance between God and his people. Now please understand, he's a friend who sticks closer than a brother.

Thank the Lord for that. He's Abba Father. We can approach unto him in tenderness as we would unto a loving and trustworthy father. But he is also holy God.

And he said, be you holy as I am holy. There was another reason other than the distance so that they would not lose sight of where God was going. But his ark was a sacred thing. Everywhere the ark was demanded a separation, whether it was on the move or sitting in the holy of holies, in the tabernacle and later in Solomon's temple. It was only the high priest could go there once a year to offer sacrifice for the sins of the people. There was the mercy seat.

The common person couldn't come near to that. And he said to the people here, sanctify yourselves. You're still going to have to be distant from this ark, but you're going to follow God tomorrow.

You're going to see God do wonders tomorrow. If you're unholy and impure and sacrilegious and licentious and godless, you're not going to understand anything about what God's trying to do here at the river for you. Get your heart right.

Get your mind right. Get it disciplined by the scriptures. Get it washed through the water of the word of God so you can see what God is doing so you can understand the holiness of God, the sacredness of the moment of the Jordan River experience. This place like that river was sacred because God was at work showing His people who He is, doing wonders that they and their children would never forget. I hope you're entering into this school year having sanctified yourselves, having gotten right with God, whatever sins needed to be confessed and forsaken, repented of, whatever promises you need to make to God about your relationship with Him.

Bring Him into the focus, the primary focus of your life and keep Him there from day to day. Sanctify yourselves. You're going to see God do wonders for you while you're here crossing this river. My wife came here, a very poor girl from Arizona. Folks bought her a bus ticket and gave her one month of tuition and said, honey, there's nothing more we can do for you. Beneth came here sight unseen to this place, worked hard, prayed hard, saw God work miracles, saw God do for her what she could not do for herself through the work she was doing and when she graduated she didn't know anything.

There are stories like that in abundance here over the years. You're going to see God do wonders here. When you graduate, if you sanctify yourself, get right with God from the start and stay right with God to the finish of the experience, you're going to get to the other side of this river and you're going to say, I don't really recognize myself. I see God in ways I never knew Him before.

I've been pointed to His word, to the chapels and the classrooms and the discipleship groups and my life is about God now. It's going to be different. You know, the objective was to get to the other side. The objective was not to stay in the river the rest of their life. Your objective is not to stay in school here the rest of your life. But the rest of your life will never be what God intends for it to be because He brought you here to learn about what's on the other side and that's why He said to the priests, twelve strong men who were chosen ahead of time, pick up big bowlers and put them on your shoulder and put them down as a monument on the other side. Their first night of lodging was six miles on the western side of the Jordan River at a place called Gilgal, two miles from the city of Jericho, the first place of conquest. And they put this heap of rocks there as a monument.

Why? We're told this in this passage. So the people of the earth, chapter four, we didn't read it, so the people of the earth, that's the unsaved, may know that the hand of the Lord is mighty and so that you might fear the Lord forever. There's something being done for you here if you'll sanctify your heart and keep it sanctified and holy before God and humble before God and retentive to His word. There's something that will happen to you that will help you to know God forever the rest of your life in a way you would never have known Him.

So don't be in a hurry to rush this through. Savor the days, savor the chapels, savor the teachings of the word of God and apply them in your life and respond to them repentantly and let God continue to do this sanctifying work in you the whole time you're here. This is forever. You will never be on the other side what you would have been if you hadn't gone through the river first. One of the commentators I read, I think it might have been strong, he said about this experience, if Jordan's flood could not keep them out, Canaan's force cannot cast them out. They were going to face battles and horrible things that they had to lean on God for victory in on the other side and if it was God who got them there and the Canaanites knew it was God and the Canaanites did their best to defeat them in every battle but they couldn't force them out because God took them through a flood that couldn't keep them out of what was waiting for them on the other side.

There's a lot more to hear but I'll stop right here. When you studied the scriptures it would be helpful to put yourself in the place imagining what the people being dealt with in a certain chapter were going through and say how does that relate to me? What was it that was important for them that caused God to take them through this experience so they could know Him in a way they could never have before? I want God to take me through whatever experience I have to go through so that I can see His might and His providential care of me and see Him doing things I could never do as a human being that I might magnify Him and fear Him forever. Lord God thank You for Your word.

It's wonderful. Thank You Lord for students who love Your word and who came here because they wanted it. Lord a lot of these students are here because they just want to soak up Your word.

They want to know You in ways they never knew You before and in ways they will need to know You now because of what's coming later. Lord help them to understand how much more this crossing of this river of BJU is to their future than merely taking a diploma away from them. In Jesus' name, Amen. You've been listening to a message preached by Dr. Bob Jones III, Chancellor of Bob Jones University. Thanks again for listening. We hope you'll join us next time as we study God's Word together on The Daily Platform.
Whisper: medium.en / 2024-02-10 05:21:40 / 2024-02-10 05:30:43 / 9

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