One of the most famous stories in all the Bible occurs when Moses finally leads the Israelites out of Egypt after 400 years of bondage. This story is told in the book of Exodus. After the plagues over Egypt, Pharoah tells Moses to take Moses’ people away from Egypt. After they leave, however, Pharoah has a change of heart and rallies his army to pursue them.
Stuck between being pursued by the most fearsome military in the world and the impassability of the Red Sea in front of them, Israel’s escape from Egypt is only made possible by the miracle of God parting the Red Sea in order for them to pass on dry land.
After 40 years of wandering and fighting enemies in the wilderness, God is now poised to do another miracle to confirm the belief of the new Israelites. The facts of what God does in Joshua 3 & 4 are meant to draw an inclusion around Israel’s wilderness experience. God began their journey to the Promised Land by parting the Red Sea and he will conclude the journey by parting the River Jordan.
Read together the story of how God commands Israel to pass from the eastern bank of the Jordan to the western bank.
Joshua 3 & 4
This is a long bit of narrative, but focus on the following elements: 1) The expectation that faith will show itself in obeying the word that God is giving through Joshua to GET MOVING! 2) The centrality of the ark of the covenant, which symbolizes the presence of God amongst the people 3) the use of memorials so that God’s works are not forgotten by future generations of Israelites.
- Why do you think it is important for God to do a miracle in the sight of all the people? Couldn’t they just take time to build boats or wait for the waters to recede after the spring?
- What is the significance that this takes place during the time that Israel had been commanded by Moses to observe the Passover?
- What role did the obedience of the priests and the people play in what God did?
- What is the significance of the ark of the covenant standing in the middle of the Jordan while the people cross over?
- How do you observe faith at work in this story?
- Why is it important that the men crossed “ready for war?”
- What sign does Joshua leave in the Jordan?
- What sign do the twelve tribes leave after they cross the Jordan?
- Why would God command a sign be left?
- What are some significant spiritual markers that you can point to in the history of your own life that continue to feed your faith today?