Sermon Snippets’ is an occasional series, taking bitesize chunks from our Sunday sermons. The following excerpt is adapted from a sermon on Joshua 3:1-5:12, preached by Nigel Styles last Sunday. You can listen to the whole sermon here.
In Joshua 3, God’s people face an impossibility.
Ahead of them lay the land that, for centuries, God had been promising to give them. But between where they stood and the land itself was the River Jordan.
At that time of year, it was not a placid stream, but a swollen, raging torrent, probably a mile wide, up to 10-12 feet deep, with a mass of jungle-growth on the riverbed.
God did the most extraordinary thing. He took the liquid water of that river and turned into something that behaved more like a solid, standing it up in a heap! And Israel crossed over on dry ground.
God told Israel that they must always remember what had happened. (I guess that generation wouldn’t quickly forget it!) Twelve stones, carried from the middle of the river, stacked up on the bank as a memorial, would provide a permanent reminder for every subsequent generation.
Always remember: God kept his promise
He’s said that he would bring them into this land. And he had done it. Impossible? Yes, it was. But God did it. A raging torrent of a river could not stop him doing what he’d said.
Always remember: God will keep every promise
The land that God was to give Israel was full of seven tribal groups. If God can open up the way into the land, he’ll also be able to clear the land. Have confidence that if God has promised to do something, he will certainly do it.
Always remember: God will take his people home
Christians have long understood that Israel’s journey from the Exodus through the wilderness into the Promised Land is just like the Christian’s journey to our heavenly home. So that ‘when I tread the verge of Jordan’, I can have great confidence that even the dreadful river of death need not cause anxious fear. For our God will keep his promise and take us home.
How can I have confidence? Always remember. The three stones that we threaded into bracelets during our Sunday service are to remind us of these three things.