Leadership, direction, (Joshua 3:3-4), assurance (Joshua 3:7), and victory (Joshua 3:9-10) are the key themes in Joshua 3 that are associated with the ark of the covenant.
The ark of the covenant was a chest-like object that contained a pot of manna, Aaron’s rod that budded, and the tablets of the Law (Hebrews 9:4-5).
The ark was more than an acacia wood chest, with a gold-plated lid, and cherubim placed on top. It was a symbol of the Lord’s presence guiding His people.
This is how the ark functioned in Joshua 3.
Twelve times in Joshua 3 the ark is referred to as the ark, the ark of the covenant of the Lord, the ark of the covenant, or the ark of the Lord.
The ark of the covenant of the Lord leads the nation of Israel across the parted waters of the Jordan into the promised land of Israel.
In this march that is reminiscent of the Exodus, God saturates the context with references to Himself as the one who will lead the nation of Israel, give them direction, be with them, and provide them victory.
In order to prepare for the wonders of the day, the Lord calls upon His people to set themselves apart (3:5), sanctify themselves, instead of preparing their weapons of warfare.
Joshua 3 ends with all the nation of Israel crossing the dry riverbed of the Jordan into the Promised Land.
May God help us to be willing to follow the leadership of our ever present Lord Who lovingly leads us, Who graciously directs us, Who repeatedly assures us, and Who successfully brings us to every station of life He has prepared for us.