Chapter 3 covers the miracle of the crossing of the Jordan River. In it we see the people sanctified (verses 1-5); Joshua magnified (verses 6-8); the Lord glorified (verses 9-13); and the Word verified (verses 14-17).
The Ark of the Covenant symbolized the presence of God. It went before the people to lead them, and it was kept in the midst of the river until all the nation passed over. Christ always goes before His people and opens the way, but the people had to sanctify themselves and be ready, for God was going to lead them in a new way (verse 4).
Two memorials are built in chapter 4--one by the twelve chosen men on the bank of the river, and the other by Joshua in the midst of the river. They were to be memorials of the crossing. The twelve stones on the bank of the Jordan came out of the midst of the river (verse 8), as evidence that God did part the waters and take His people safely across. The twelve hidden stones in the midst of the river could be seen only by God, but they also spoke of Israel's wonderful crossing.
The main lesson of these chapters is that there can be no conquest without death to self (crossing the Jordan) and identification with Christ's resurrection (the two memorials of stone). Before the Jews could gain victory over the enemy, they had to experience victory over sin and self (circumcision). Before we, as Christians, can enjoy a victorious Christian life we must put away sin of the flesh and allow God to completely control our lives.
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