Big Idea: God’s presence makes everything happen for the possessor.
A. God’s presence guides us. According to 3:3, the children of Israel were to follow the ark of the covenant over into the Jordan. The ark of the covenant represents to just the law of God but also the presence of God. Whatever position they were in before this journey meant nothing now as they transitioned into destiny. What mattered now was that the presence of Almighty God was leading the people of Israel into their destiny. Here is the point: you will not get where God wants unless God Himself is leading the way.
B. God’s presence exalts others. The irony of God’s presence is that He willingly exalts His leaders in the presence of others while simultaneously glorifying Himself. God’s big point is not to deify flesh. Rather, God confirms the anointing and calling of Joshua for a people who had lost the only God-sent leader they had known. Joshua’s exaltation is less about him and more about God making sure that Israel understood that the LORD’s plans and purposes for them did not die with Moses. God is always bigger than the dream or vision He ordains.
C. God’s presence transcends obstacles and transforms our current situation (3:13-15). Biblical scholars point out that followers of false gods in and near Canaan often believed that gods proved the truth of something or someone using a trial-by-water test in which the truth of someone’s charge was determined by whether he or she sank or floated. If they floated, then the gods proved the person was telling the truth. If the person sank, the person was considered a liar. That God had miraculously parted the waters AGAIN was a testament to not only His integrity but also His sovereignty and power. He was and is the One True God. When the presence of God goes forth on your behalf, whatever obstacles are in front of you will cease to be an issue. Israel learned that and so must we in our present-day, realtime drama.
D. God’s presence prepares the way of deliverance for others (3:16-17). The ark of the covenant and the priests stood in the Jordan while the children of Israel passed on dry land. God is the deliverer but He often uses other people as instruments of deliverance and liberation. I should be willing to “stand in the water” while those in need of walk on the dry ground of liberation.