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The story of dividing and crossing the river Jordan in Joshua 3 and 4 shows God’s power to deliver. The Lord instructed Joshua that He was going to do a miracle. The miracle God had planned would require the priests bearing the ark to walk into the waters of the Jordan and stand there. Joshua then called the people together and described the miracle that God was about to perform. He said that it would confirm to the people that God would keep His promise to give them the land.
Joshua said that the priests would carry the ark before them and would cross the Jordan before the people. But when the feet of the priests carrying the ark stood in the river, God would cause the water to be stopped upstream from them. The river would be blocked, so the water would stand up in a heap and would cease to flow downstream.
As Joshua commanded, the people began to march as led by the priests. When the priests carrying the ark stepped into the river, the waters rose in a heap upstream at a town named Adam, near Zaretan. The water flowing toward the Dead Sea was cut off, and the people crossed the river on dry ground across from Jericho. The priests then stood with the ark in the middle of the river bed until all the people crossed. As long as they stayed in the river, the water continued to be held back so the people could cross. Joshua’s obedience to God’s command was rewarded for the Lord magnified him in the eyes of all Israel when they crossed the River Jordan on dry ground as He did for them at the Red sea.
When all the people had crossed the Jordan safely God spoke to Joshua with instructions about the memorials they were to make. Twelve men were chosen, one from each tribe. These men were to go to the place in the river where the feet of the priests stood. There each man was to take a stone from the riverbed and carry it to the place where Israel would camp that night. The stones would be a memorial sign to future generations to remember the crossing of the river.
In His service,