Cross Your River!


Rev Raymond Fong

Scripture Passage: Joshua 3:1-17 (NIV)



Summary | After wandering for 40 years the nation of Israel was finally poised to cross the Jordon River to reach the Promised Land!

We can glean spiritual lessons from this account but can only grasp the significance of crossing the river when we understand what lies beyond it! This was their land of intended rest tied to the faithfulness of God who had kept covenant with His people and given the land to symbolise the fulfilment of His promises. We too are called to a spiritual Promised Land and this year we are called to a place of Sabbath rest! Eph 1:3 tells us we are blessed with every spiritual blessing in Christ. This is our Promised Land where we can follow, know, abide and rest in Jesus! We will still have challenges and suffering, but we will be in a place of God’s purposes, revelation and calling where we are set free from sin and made whole …. BUT we need to cross the river!

‘Crossing the river’ may mean that we have to make some changes, give up a bad habit or a toxic relationship, step into obedience and surrender; it may mean offering forgiveness, a trial to suffer … but it has to be done in order to enter the Promised Land. Will you cross your river?

Here are three lessons from Joshua 3.

1. Consecrate Yourself – The emphasis is not on consecration but on God who is ready to act for us to help us cross our river. (Joshua 3:5) We must purify ourselves through true repentance, truly desiring to turn our hearts wholly to the Lord as in Psalm 139:23 where David asks God to search his heart and reveal any wicked ways in him. Consecration is a posture where we are spiritually alert and ready for the river crossing.

2. Follow His Lead – God is present so follow His lead! The river crossing is not about our ability but about following God. We need to watch the Ark! Joshua 3:11. To the Israelites the Ark symbolised the all-encompassing presence of God. It contained the stone tablets of the Ten Commandments, the pot of manna, the rod of Aaron and on top of it, the mercy seat with the two cherubim - all powerful visual symbols of God’s relationship, providence and life-giving power manifested on behalf of their ancestors and also promised to them. The Ark went ahead of them in v14, stayed in the middle of the dried up river allowing the people to pass in v17 and finally brought up the rear! This signifies that God is always with us to watch over us! We are not alone as we cross our river. Jesus gives us all we need to cross. We are always preoccupied with the purpose of God but let us first seek His presence and we will know His purpose!

3. Step Out In Faith – God is faithful so by faith we know that we can take the first step out into the river. When God asked the Israelites to cross the river, it was full, furious and fast flowing. God worked an unseen unknown miracle, stopping the water 24 km higher up. When the people crossed the Red Sea 400 years earlier, they could see the clear path, but on this occasion the people had to surrender to God and step out into the swirling waters by faith when they could not see what God was doing. Often we are fearful that God won’t really show up and keep His promises. God works in amazing and different ways but HE IS FAITHFUL! So today, be brave and courageous to take the first step! Maybe for some we have to cross the river every day! Be encouraged and know that our faithful God will provide and accompanies you with His presence as you step out in faith to cross your river.

(Sermon Notes by Frances Lim)


1. Why did the Israelites have to consecrate themselves before crossing river Jordan? Why was consecration essential?

2. Why was the ark so significant to the Israelites?

3. Have you encountered instances of God's divine leading which deeply impacted your faith?

4. Why is it difficult to take that first step of faith? Share with each other your struggles.

5. How have you experienced God's provision for the rest of the journey after you took the first step of faith?

6. Is there a "river Jordan" you need to cross? Pray for each other to find the courage and grace from God to do so.