Crossing the Jordan: Stepping Out – Stacking Stones

Posted: June 2, 2009 in God's 80/20 Rule, In Christ, Jordan River, Joshua, Power of God, Uncategorized
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Reading Joshua 3-5, I pause to ask myself, “am I willing to Step Out by Faith and Start Stacking Stones that are Worth Remembering for all Eternity?” What stones have I stacked that cause my children and grandchildren to ask “What do these mean?” Am I stacking any Stones that have made an impact on the eternity of other people?

The day has arrived when the Israelites are going to step out in faith and cross a raging Jordan River. Normally it would be no problem to ford the river. In fact there is today a place that you can ford the river to cross to Jericho. At this time, the Bible indicates that the River was in flood stage. And unfortunately, the Israelites, all 2-3 million of them, were not like this guy and able to walk on water. Of course it took a charging bull for him to learn. I doubt if he got very far.Walking on Water

So what could the the Israelites do but trust in the Power of God! Have you ever wondered why the Canaanites didn’t assemble an army across the Jordan? I think there were two reasons: First, it was the time of the barley harvest, and the Canaanites were busy with their harvest. Second, the Jordan River, normally only 20 to 60 yards wide, had swollen to nearly ¾ of a mile wide. They thought there was no way the Israelites could cross the River now. They thought they could finish the harvest, let the flood waters recede, and then assemble an army to confront the invaders. In order to understand, let me read an account from 1894, when the Jordan was not dammed up like it is today.

In order to understand how the river appeared when it was thus out of its banks, let me state that the valley fourteen miles wide, lies about seventy-five feet higher than the bed of the river. As you walk across the valley toward the river, you come to a bluff, not very steep usually–in some places too steep for a horse to go down, in others a gradual slope–and you look down seventy-five feet into a river bottom, from a half mile to a mile wide. Now a river which falls as rapidly as the Jordan (falling nearly seven hundred feet in sixty miles) has a rapid current when it is low; but when it is so swollen that it leaves its crooked channel, and its waters rush in a direct line toward their resting place, we can see at once with what a terrific force it plunges along. And as that valley is full of small trees and underbrush, thick and rank of growth, you can see that as the water would be tearing its way over the brush and the tree tops, it would be a fearful sight to look at, and to think of marching across it would appear preposterous. THE RIVER JORDAN by J. W. MCGARVEY. 1894

joshua-leadsCrossing the Jordan required a leader who did not think like normal man thinks. It required a leader in touch with God! Joshua was the Leader who saw the Invisible! He followed the dictates of an unseen God, the Creator of the Universe. God had declared that Canaan was theirs. He would cause the hearts of the Canaanites to melt before the Israelites, His Presence and Power was going to be with them, so therefore, be  Strong and Very Courageous. Once again Jehovah God is about to show His awesome power to an obedient people.

Joshua 3:3-6 (NKJV) and they commanded the people, saying, “When you see the ark of the covenant of the Lord your God, and the priests, the Levites, bearing it, then you shall set out from your place and go after it. Yet there shall be a space between you and it, about two thousand cubits by measure. Do not come near it, that you may know the way by which you must go, for you have not passed this way before.” And Joshua said to the people, “Sanctify yourselves, for tomorrow the Lord will do wonders among you.” Then Joshua spoke to the priests, saying, “Take up the ark of the covenant and cross over before the people.” So they took up the ark of the covenant and went before the people.


Joshua is divided into two sections:


Both these sections are governed by one prominent feature. They are governed and characterized by what we may call the Levitical feature; that is, the Levites are seen to have a place of very great pre-eminence and importance in both sections. Here at the very beginning it is all about the Levites carrying the Ark of Testimony. The priests, the Levites, as they are mentioned in chapter one, indicates there is now no distinction between the two as in the days of Aaron. Now the Levites are the Priests, and they are charged with carrying the Ark of God, the Testimony of God, which contains the Word of God. The Ark has taken the place of the Pillar of Fire at night. The Ark is God’s constant abiding presence, just as God had promised Joshua. The Ark represents not only the Presence of God, but the Power of God’s Word, for it contains the Law of God.

The Importance of the Levites and their orderly handling of the Ark, and their centrality of position, is “that ye may know the way by which you must go” (Josh 3: 4).

Who is on the Lord's SideGod has always expected a select group of people to take responsibility for His Testimony, for His Word! He expects the same of Pastors and Preachers today! From the very first cry of Moses in Exodus 32:26 “Who is on the LORD’S side? let him come unto me!”, the Levites were distinguished by their utter devotion and zealousness for obedience to God and His Word. That is why they alone answered Moses Cry, and proceeded to kill 3000 of the people who were worshiping the golden calf.

The centrality of the Levites indicates that this conquest of Canaan was not to be a physical thing. It was to be a spiritual battle. Only those who adhere strictly to following God would be victorious. In claiming our inheritance for God, we MUST see it as a SPIRITUAL battle. This is not a work of the flesh so that you can look back over your life and say “See what I accomplished! See how much I have gained.” No that is not the inheritance that God wants. His is a spiritual inheritance, that is gained not by hard work, but by obedience, faith, humility, trust.

God offers an inheritance of family unity in the midst of roaring rivers, family unity in the face of giant enemies, family salvation in the face of tumbling walls. Oh the Joy of being able to see your entire family claim their inheritance in Heaven. Oh to see a country of Tompkins (or whatever your family name is) in the New Earth. This is a Spiritual Journey, a Spiritual Undertaking. We need the Power of the Holy Spirit!

The greatest thing that matters is to have the Lord, to see the Lord, to possess the Lord, to rest in the Lord. Life is a series of raging rivers that are impossible to cross, and the Lord uses those rivers to ask us: “Is it in ME that your confidence rests? Am I alone sufficient for your trials? Am I more to you than anything in this world?

This is what the crossing the Jordan does. We come to the place where the Lord is our goal and our end. “Seek ye the things that are above” (Col. 3:1). The Holy Spirit energizes in us to do this thing and to bring us to the place where it is for us to utterly rely on the power of God. This is where we are brought by the Jordan, when we are clean over the place of the cutting off from the cravings of our flesh, from knowing after the flesh – our sense, seeings, feelings, or of having to have something tangible in our hands. No it has to be all of faith when we can say even in the midst of raging rivers “I believe God and He is my portion forever, for ‘To me to live is Christ.'”

To Find God As Your ALL You Must Cross The Jordan, You Must Die To Self.

Pareto PrincipleEver heard of the Pareto Principle? Sure you have, but probably as the 80/20 rule.

  • The Pareto principle (also known as the 80-20 rule and the law of the vital few) states that in many things, 80% of the consequences come from 20% of the causes.
  • Vilfredo Pareto observed that 80 percent of the land in England was owned by 20 percent of the population. Over the years, he and many others observed this rule in action in different spheres. Some examples:
  • Relationship: 20% of the people you know (friends, colleagues, family) provide you with 80 % of nurturing support and satisfaction
  • Business: 20% of customers will account for 80 % of profit
  • Productivity: 20% of your activities will account for 80 % of your success

God’s 80/20 Rule:

GOD WANTS 100% of HIS INHERITANCE. JESUS WANTS 100% OF HIS INHERITANCE. JESUS WANTS ALL 100 SHEEP. BUT HE REALIZES PRECIOUS FEW WILL BE WILLING TO DIE TO THE FLESH TO SEE IT HAPPEN. So God’s Pareto Principle is that those who die to self and step into the Jordan are able to carry the others through to their inheritance. God always uses a remnant to accomplish His will. He always uses the minority to see His Will accomplished on earth. God is looking for the 20% to accomplish His Will.

  • He needs people willing to step into death if need be, and to be steadfast until all are safely over.
  • You will be ignored, you will be talked about, you will be weary from holding the ark for countless hours, you will see walls of troubles all around you, but God needs people who want to walk by faith.

To Jericho via the JordanGod needs people that are willing to die to what they want to see the salvation of others around them. There are to be no excuses, there is to be no complaining, there is only to be dependence upon God and His purpose. There is no room for ego, for rights. There is only room for people who want to do what God wants to claim His inheritance.


So Joshua, representing a man united with the Holy Spirit gives THREE commands to the Israelites, all necessary so that they would KNOW THE WAY TO GO!

1.  Keep Your Eye on the Ark, and Follow it Wherever it Goes

Keep Your Eye on the ArkWhenever they see the priests that bear it in motion, they are to move from their places and follow it. This is a blessed truth we need to take hold of. Always keep God in sight. A blessed truth for all time was clearly shadowed forth. Follow God implicitly and unhesitatingly in every time of danger, and you are safe. Set aside the counsels of caution and worldly wisdom; find out God’s will and follow it through good report and through evil report, and you will be right.

2.  Allow Others to See the Ark

Allow Others to See the Ark“A span of two thousand cubits was to be left between the people and the ark.” God wants you to follow Him, but He wants you to bring your family with you! Don’t get so close to God that you block Him from your friends and family. Christ prayed that His disciples would stay in the world, but NOT become part of the world. Christ came into the world to save sinners. He did so by being a friend to sinners.

  • That ALL may know the way by which you must go” (ver. 4).
  • If this arrangement had not been made, the course of the ark through the flat plains of the Jordan would not have been visible to the mass of the host, but only to those in the immediate neighborhood, and the people would have been liable to straggle and fall into confusion, if not to diverge altogether.
  • In all cases, when we are looking out for Divine guidance, it is of supreme importance that there be nothing in the way to obscure the object or to distort our vision.
  • In fact, God wants us with our people, with our friends, so that we can show them the way to go. Sure, there must be times of being close to God, but God wants others to see Him too, and He will use your life to influence your family and friends.

3.  Sanctify Yourselves and see God’s Wonders.

Sanctify Yourselves to See God's WondersSet yourself apart to God. I believe God was going to do this great miracle regardless of what the people did. But there does seem to be a shortage of miracles today. Or perhaps movies have made minor miracles seem so ho hum. Regardless, I believe in order for us to see how awesome God is, we must sanctify ourselves unto Him. Otherwise we would be saying, “I’ve already heard this, I saw this when I was younger. It is no big deal!”

How much time do you actually spend each week getting alone with God. How much time do you spend thinking about Him, about what He is doing, what He is planning, what He is wanting to do. We don’t take the time to set ourselves apart to God, and then it is no wonder that we hear amazing spiritual truth and just go “ho hum” We see an amazing thing and our hearts are barely touched.

If you want to see wondrous things, if you want to see wondrous things in the Word, you need to take time to be alone with God. An hour a week is not enough. Your enthusiasm for the Power of God wil be indirect relation to the time you spend alone with Him.

God looks on our heart, and yet we spend so little time letting Him work on our heart. We need time to tremble before God, to cry before God. But while ” man looketh on the outward appearance the Lord looketh on the heart.” Psalms 90:8 (NLT) “You spread out our sins before you— our secret sins—and you see them all.”

In order to Cross the Jordan and go into the Rest, the Promised Land-God wants you to take time to set yourselves apart and unto Him, to always keep your eyes on Him and His Word, and to Bring your family with you! Be involved with their lives and teach them how to always Keep God in view.

What Miracles Have You Seen?

Has God ever woke you up when you’ve drifted off at the wheel, just in time to prevent you from running into the back of the vehicle in front of you?  That’s providence.  But if you didn’t wake up, and God lifted your car over the one you were about to hit, that would be a miracle.  Both are plausible, and I know, I’ve experienced both.


Joshua 4:1-6 (NKJV) And it came to pass, when all the people had completely crossed over the Jordan, that the Lord spoke to Joshua, saying: “Take for yourselves twelve men from the people, one man from every tribe, and command them, saying, ‘Take for yourselves twelve stones from here, out of the midst of the Jordan, from the place where the priests’ feet stood firm. You shall carry them over with you and leave them in the lodging place where you lodge tonight.’ ” Then Joshua called the twelve men whom he had appointed from the children of Israel, one man from every tribe; and Joshua said to them: “Cross over before the ark of the Lord your God into the midst of the Jordan, and each one of you take up a stone on his shoulder, according to the number of the tribes of the children of Israel, that this may be a sign among you when your children ask in time to come, saying, ‘What do these stones mean to you?’…21″When your children ask their fathers in time to come, saying, ‘What are these stones?’ 22 then you shall let your children know, saying, ‘Israel crossed over this Jordan on dry land’; 23 for the Lord your God dried up the waters of the Jordan before you until you had crossed over, as the Lord your God did to the Red Sea, which He dried up before us until we had crossed over, 24 that all the peoples of the earth may know the hand of the Lord, that it is mighty, that you may fear the Lord your God forever.”


I had a stone wall fall down. And I decided to repair it myself. Didn’t do it very well, and in fact I’m embarrassed to show the after picture. I did it in my own strength with limited abilities. God allows us to stack eternal stones of lasting value and influence, when we allow Him to do the work. That is what the crossing of the Jordan represented. The world (Canaan) was not expecting this crossing. In fact they thought it too preposterous to even attempt. God specializes in the Impossible when we die to our own flesh and strength and say GOD YOU ARE! GOD YOU ARE ABLE! We must build our life on the Eternal Rock of Jesus Christ, so that we can build eternal monuments of God’s grace in our life!Our Stone Wall Fell Down

Is your life built upon the Rock? Do your children and grandchildren see you pray? Do they see you read your Bible? Do they ask you what Jesus means to you? Is there anything of eternal value that you will eave behind? What Stones are your stacking in your life? We need monuments in our homes and in our lives-testimonies of how God has worked. Something we can point to and tell our children about, tell our grandchildren about.

Stone Monument in IsraelWe really aren’t big on monuments, at least erecting them in our yard. So God has led me to leave each one of my children and grandchildren, a book of my thoughts toward them, and what I want to see happen in their life. I will give it to them after I die, unless the Lord tells me otherwise.

Joshua Restores Circumcision

Joshua 5:2-5 (NKJV) At that time the Lord said to Joshua, “Make flint knives for yourself, and circumcise the sons of Israel again the second time.” So Joshua made flint knives for himself, and circumcised the sons of Israel at the hill of the foreskins. And this is the reason why Joshua circumcised them: All the people who came out of Egypt who were males, all the men of war, had died in the wilderness on the way, after they had come out of Egypt. For all the people who came out had been circumcised, but all the people born in the wilderness, on the way as they came out of Egypt, had not been circumcised. Joshua 5:9-15 (NKJV) Then the Lord said to Joshua, “This day I have rolled away the reproach of Egypt from you.” Therefore the name of the place is called Gilgal to this day.


Flint Knives for CircumcisionCircumcision is a sign of separation unto God. It is an interesting and impressive thing that the new generation which had arisen in the wilderness had never been circumcised. The parents had neglected this command of God, and those parents had all died in the wilderness. This means that they had ignored the spiritual law of heart separation unto God, so what arises is this: there is no entering into the inheritance without a circumcised heart. The heart has to be wholly and utterly for the Lord. If that is not true, sooner or later there is going to be a tragedy in the Christian life.

Now the children of Israel camped in Gilgal, and kept the Passover on the fourteenth day of the month at twilight on the plains of Jericho. And they ate of the produce of the land on the day after the Passover, unleavened bread and parched grain, on the very same day. Then the manna ceased on the day after they had eaten the produce of the land; and the children of Israel no longer had manna, but they ate the food of the land of Canaan that year. And it came to pass, when Joshua was by Jericho, that he lifted his eyes and looked, and behold, a Man stood opposite him with His sword drawn in His hand.

What would you think if you saw a man, who was a prince of the royal household and therefore an heir to all that that household inherited, in prison, with his clothes in rags, his food being doled out to him from time to time, never able to choose anything for himself, and without money or home of his own? What would you say? ‘What a shame!’ That would be a reproach to a prince, would it not? It would be a great shame upon such a person! Yet these children of a prince with God were in Egypt like that. No, princes ought never to be in a position like that! That was the reproach of Egypt, the shame of the whole situation. It is called the house of bondage, and no prince ought to be in that. As Christians we are children of the King. When we choose to be like the world, we are dressing as a pauper, clothed in filth. We are a shame to the Gospel of the King. There is only one way we can roll away the reproach of the world…

The Cross Must Come Before the Battle

Victory Belongs to the CrucifiedWe must realize that salvation means we are crucified with Christ. We must embrace the Cross-Life, the exchanged life, the life of Galatians 2:20. The life I am now living is not my own, but Christ is living through me!

The Israelites are now clean over Jordan, their hearts are circumcised, and now they are wholly for the Lord. They are totally following the Captian of the Hosts, led by Joshua, a type of the Holy Spirit. The reproach and the shame of the past are rolled away. They have encountered the Cross represented by the River Jordan!

What a glorious thing to have the reproach and shame of our past life all rolled away! Why are you not shouting ‘Hallelujah’? I think it is because you are listening to the word but are not having the spirit – or perhaps I should say that you are taking the word seriously. But our rightful place, dear friends, is where all the reproach of the past is rolled away. That is the place of the heirs of the inheritance.


This is the deeper, and inward meaning of the Cross, because the New Testament teaches us that the Cross is the place of spiritual circumcision. And this just says one great thing: only truly crucified Christians, and only a truly crucified Church can meet the enemy in the coming battle with any hope of victory. This entering into our inheritance is something which is withstood by all the principalities and powers. All these evil powers in the universe are set against one thing, that is, God having a people for Himself to whom He is going to give the Kingdom, when the kingdoms of the world become the kingdom of our God and His Christ. All the spiritual forces are so against that, they will fight to keep the people from coming out to the Lord, and if they cannot do that, they will work to keep them from going on. And if they cannot prevent them from going on, they will not give up the battle.


The Captain of the Lord's ArmyAnd Joshua went to Him and said to Him, “Are You for us or for our adversaries?” So He said, “No, but as Commander of the army of the Lord I have now come.” And Joshua fell on his face to the earth and worshiped, and said to Him, “What does my Lord say to His servant?” Then the Commander of the Lord’s army said to Joshua, “Take your sandal off your foot, for the place where you stand is holy.” And Joshua did so.

He is in that which stands wholly for God and with a people who are wholly the Lord’s and while they in holiness of life and purpose are all wholly for God, in that thing or that people He is Captain, and so we come under His Sovereign Headship, but there must come into this nothing of Man. The Holy Spirit is not going to recognise the flesh, and says, “No, I am not with a company of people as a people, but am only in and in control of that which is wholly the Lord’s.”


The peril is that having begun in the Spirit, you might turn aside to make some compromise with Amalek, because of the hardness of the way, the greatness of the cost, by reason of the conflict and forgetting God’s word – “utterly destroy Amalek” (1 Samuel 15:3). “Walk not after the flesh but after the Spirit” (Rom. 8:4).


Veggie Tales Promised LandNow the children of Israel camped in Gilgal, and kept the Passover on the fourteenth day of the month at twilight on the plains of Jericho. And they ate of the produce of the land on the day after the Passover, unleavened bread and parched grain, on the very same day. Then the manna ceased on the day after they had eaten the produce of the land; and the children of Israel no longer had manna, but they ate the food of the land of Canaan that year. The Veggie Tales expressed what was happening in a little song called “The Promised Land”

Percy: We didn’t have a lot of fun in the desert We didn’t have a lot of fun in the sand

Tom: But saddle up your cow

Percy: And fall behind us now

All: Because we’re goin’ to the Promised Land!

Jimmy: For years I’ve eat nothing but manna A dish that is filling, but bland

Jerry: But now we’re on our way

Pa Grape: I’ll have a cheese souffle

All: Because we’re goin’ to the Promised Land! And in the Promised Land, it’s gonna be so grand We’ll have our fill from the grill, As much as we can stand It’ll be so great, oh we can hardly wait ‘Cause we’re goin’ to the Promised Land!

Scooter: The dining was lousy with Moses But we’ll be feasting with Josh in command!

Jimmy: I’d like a taco, please And some pintos and cheese

All: Because we’re goin’ to the Promised Land! And in the Promised Land, it’s gonna be so grand! We’ll have our fill from the grill, As much as we can stand! It’ll be so great, oh we can hardly wait ‘Cause we’re goin’ to the Promised Land! And in the Promised Land, it’s gonna be so grand! We’ll have our fill from the grill, As much as we can stand! It’ll be so great

Jimmy: With waffles on my plate!

All: ‘Cause we’re goin’ to the Promised Land!

Pa Grape: I hear it’s flowing with milk and honey

Jimmy: Sounds sticky!

All: ‘Cause we’re goin’ to the Promised Land! Yeah, we’re goin’ to the Promised Land! ‘Cause we’re goin’ to the Promised Land!—–

That may be a trite little ditty but there’s quite an element of truth in it.  Because if we are going to claim the promised land of Canaan we’re gonna have to change our diet and start feeding on God’s Word.  It’s a feast God has set before us but we go all week without it, acting like we’re not really hungry.  This feast will produce what God is seeking: the Lord is after getting us inwardly resting in HIMSELF. Unrest, anxiety, is ever the ground of defeat. Uncertainty about the Lord brings weakness and defeat; the Lord sets great value on BELIEVING GOD – faith in GOD. But that Faith comes by Feasting on the Word of God!


Canaan Land of Milk and HoneyCanaan pictures the victorious Christian life.  It means you are no longer a slave to habits and sinful thinking and ways of life.  Not perfect, but in the midst of a major make over!  It’s a place of joy, not necessarily happiness at all times.  But walking with God and trusting Him in all things, not like some Christians who walk around looking like they were baptized in pickle juice! Sure, we all have rivers of difficulty in our way.  But don’t let those rivers keep you from your land of opportunity.  You know in your heart God has more for you in life, and you are right!

What’s your river?  Doubt?  Fear?  Discouragement?  Distraction?  God commands you to cross that river and good news:  He’ll make a way!

  • Got any rivers that seem uncross able?
  • Got any mountains you can’t tunnel through?
  • God specializes in things thought impossible
  • And He knows a thousand ways to make a way for you!

The Man in Glory

There’s a Man in Glory Whose Life is for me–Triumphant and free. He’s wise and He’s loving, Tender is He; And His Life in Glory, My life must be. There’s a Man in the Glory Whose Life is for me, He overcame Satan; From bondage He’s free. In life He is reigning, Kingly is He;And His Life in the Glory My life must be. There’s a Man in Glory Whose Life is for me, In Him is no sorrow; No weakness has He. He’s strong and in vigor; Buoyant is He; And His Life in the Glory; My life may be. There’s a Man in Glory Whose Life is for me, His peace is abiding; Patient is He. He’s joyful and radiant, Expecting to see His Life in Glory Lived out in me.

The Man of GloryAre You Ready to Step Out? Ready to Join the Man of Glory? Are You Ready to Stack Stones Worth Remembering?

Stones of money, career, house, car will not last. You won’t be rotting in your grave before your relatives will be fighting over them. What Eternal Stones of Glory will you leave your family? Do You have anything eternal in your life that your children will want to know about?Ready to Step Out and Stack Stones

Is your Life built upon the Rock, this Man of Glory? Are you following the Captain? Then take off your shoes, take off the flesh, take off all your worldly things, for you are standing on HOLY GROUND! God is seeking men and women willing to take that first step of faith, to die to self and step in the raging water. God is seeking those who desire to Stack Stones that will stand for all Eternity!

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