God never does things half way. When it came time to cross the Jordan and start the new campaign, God did it in a big way. He stacked up the waters so that Israel could cross on dry land. He exalted Joshua as leader before the people. Then He prepared them for the first of many battles that were to come.
Verse 14 stood out. “That day the Lord exalted Joshua in the sight of Israel; they stood in awe of him all the days of his life–Just as they stood in awe of Moses.”
Joshua had big sandals to fill–God knew that, and so God made sure there was no doubt that Joshua was the leader–with the full confidence and Spirit of God resting upon him. Remember, this was a stiff-necked people. They needed a strong leader that would operate like a gentle shepherd. Joshua was uniquely trained to fill that role. As time would pass, Joshua would be given the opportunity to show what a lifetime of faith and obedience could produce. That picture should have inspired Israel for generations. That picture should inspire us for all the days of our lives.
These people, led by this man of God, had the single most direct illustration of the preparation, protection and provision that God could offer. Now, as they sought to claim their inheritance, the world would get a glimpse of God’s direction and care for those He loves. One can never forget, Joshua was not leading a warrior nation–He was leading a nation of priests called to share God’s love with all men. Joshua, the great General was now also the amazing shepherd to lead God’s people to fulfil their destiny and their role as that nation of priests.
God Bless You
Now the priests who carried the ark remained standing in the middle of the Jordan until everything the Lord had commanded Joshua was done by the people, just as Moses had directed Joshua. The people hurried over, 11 and as soon as all of them had crossed, the ark of the Lord and the priests came to the other side while the people watched.12 The men of Reuben, Gad and the half-tribe of Manasseh crossed over, ready for battle, in front of the Israelites, as Moses had directed them.13 About forty thousand armed for battle crossed over before the Lord to the plains of Jericho for war.
14 That day the Lord exalted Joshua in the sight of all Israel; and they stood in awe of him all the days of his life, just as they had stood in awe of Moses.
15 Then the Lord said to Joshua, 16 “Command the priests carrying the ark of the covenant law to come up out of the Jordan.”
17 So Joshua commanded the priests, “Come up out of the Jordan.”
18 And the priests came up out of the river carrying the ark of the covenant of the Lord. No sooner had they set their feet on the dry ground than the waters of the Jordan returned to their place and ran at flood stage as before.
19 On the tenth day of the first month the people went up from the Jordan and camped at Gilgal on the eastern border of Jericho. 20 And Joshua set up at Gilgal the twelve stones they had taken out of the Jordan. 21 He said to the Israelites, “In the future when your descendants ask their parents, ‘What do these stones mean?’ 22 tell them, ‘Israel crossed the Jordan on dry ground.’ 23 For the Lord your God dried up the Jordan before you until you had crossed over. The Lord your God did to the Jordan what he had done to the Red Sea[b] when he dried it up before us until we had crossed over. 24 He did this so that all the peoples of the earth might know that the hand of the Lord is powerful and so that you might always fear the Lord your God.”