My dearly beloved, I believe it would be interesting to you and me to study together for a little while the crossing of the Israelites from that dreary stroll in the wilderness, through the beautiful river Jordan, over into the lovely Canaan land. We read in Joshua 3:17, “And the priests that bare the ark of the covenant of the Lord stood firm on dry ground in the midst of Jordan, and all the Israelites . . . were passed clean over Jordan.”
First, we want to notice that there was no crossing of the Israelites until they had broken camp. We see that a man must break camp and leave the old crowd before he can cross Jordan and get into the land of Canaan.
Second, we notice that the water did not divide until the feet of the priests had struck the brim of the water. It is just so with us; we must start by faith, and faith alone.
Third, when their feet struck the brim of the water, the waters were cut off from the waters, and the lower waters were dried up and the upper waters were backed up
Fourth, while the priests were standing on dry land in the bottom of the river Jordan, God commanded Joshua to command the people to take twelve stones and pile them up in the river Jordan. This was to be a hidden, secret testimony that was hid from the eyes of man. For the Lord knew that the waters would soon cover the twelve stones. But it is a fact that every man that crosses Jordan has a beautiful hidden testimony that is hid from the eyes of a grinning, giggling, hateful, scornful world.
Fifth, they were to take up twelve stones from out of the bottom of Jordan and put them on their shoulders, and carry them up and pile them on the banks of Jordan. This was to be a public testimony, for this pile of stones on dry land was where everybody could behold it. So that proves that every man is to have two testimonies: one hidden and the other public. All this was to prove they had crossed over Jordan and were now on the Canaan side of life.
Sixth, they struck camp over in Canaan and it was known to all the dwellers in the land that the Israelites were now in Canaan, and in possession of their own country.
Seventh, when the Israelites crossed the river Jordan, God seemed to draw a line through the river, and the waters above the line backed up, we read, “very far from the city of Adam,” and the little city on the banks of Jordan that was called Adam was overflowed and drowned out, and the city has never been rebuilt. So it is with us. When we make the second crossing, the city of Adam in us is destroyed with the baptism of the Holy Ghost and fire, and it is God’s will and plan and purpose with us that that old city shall never be rebuilt. Well, amen, thank the Lord! I remember when the city of Adam was destroyed in me. I felt the fire burning, and I saw the smoke curling, and I saw the devil running, and I was leaping in the air, praising God that the “old man” was dead. I went to my own funeral, and there wasn’t but one mourner there, and that was the devil. And while the devil howled and growled, and said it wouldn’t last, and it was all a delusion, and there was nothing to it, and nobody had ever had it, and that I couldn’t live it, I sat down and laughed and cried, and praised God that I had traded off nothing and gotten everything. From that day to this, I have been as happy as a bald-headed bumblebee in a hundred acres of red-top clover.
In my visions I have seen rainbows, and orange blossoms, and clover fields; I have heard the birds singing, and have seen bees sipping honey from the clover blossoms. I have had a bee gum in the back yard of my soul that I haven’t robbed this spring, and my bees have swarmed every week for thirty years, and my pancake tree is loaded to the water line and my honey pond is deep enough to swim in, and I don’t call the devil “Colonel” any more; I just call him devil, for he is one, and he knows he is, and I won’t take it back. Amen! I ring off right here.