Saturday Morning Devotional
I have been reading the Book of Joshua. When I got to Joshua Chapter 4 and the stones of remembrance, the journaling started flowing! There are so many life lessons for us in these verses from so long ago.
If you have ever read the Book of Joshua, you know that when Moses died, the Lord passed his leadership responsibilities to Joshua. Joshua Chapter 4 is one of the great missions he took on in leading the tribes of Israel to the Promised Land. In doing so, the entire nation got to witness God’s miracle in the River Jordan.
A Brief History – Before Joshua Chapter 4
In the days of Jacob (Israel), there was a tremendous drought and famine in the land. Because the Lord had sent Joseph ahead of the family to Egypt (long story, but beautiful), Jacob moved his family to Egypt.
Several hundred years later, they were now headed home. Moses had miraculously led them across the Red Sea on dry ground as the Lord held back the waters. Once they got to the other side, they wandered in the wilderness for 40 years due to disobedience (another long but wonderful story).
A New Generation
Now there was a new generation, a generation with new challenges and victories. Joshua was one of only two men who were at the crossing of the Red Sea with Moses. Now he would face the same miraculous crossing, but it would be at the Jordan River.
The Lord gave specific directions to Joshua as to how to cross the waters of the Jordan. Not only would He miraculously get them across the Jordan, but He would exalt Joshua “in the sight of all Israel.” After this, they trusted Joshua all the days of his life.
As the feet of the priests touched the waters of the Jordan, the Jordan turned to dry land. As long as the priests’ feet stood in the middle of the Jordan, the people continued to walk across, and the land remained dry.
Joshua Chapter 4
“Choose twelve men from the people, one man for each tribe, and command them: Take twelve stones from this place in the middle of the Jordan where the priests are standing, carry them with you, and set them down at the place where you spend the night.” Joshua 4:2-3
What a testament, to set up stones that were in the middle of the Jordan. If the water had not been held back and the land dried, they wouldn’t have been able to get the large stones.
Two sets of stones were set up that day. One was set in the middle of the river, and the other was set in the sight of the people, at the lodging place. This one would be very visible to the whole nation.
“so that this will be a sign among you. In the future, when your children ask you, ‘What do these stones mean to you?’ you should tell them…” Joshua 4:6
They needed to be able to share their story and pass down the miracle they experienced.
“Therefore these stones will always be a memorial for the Israelites.” Joshua 4:7c
They didn’t have the Bible yet to tell their stories, but they had a visual reminder – the memorial stones.
“In the future, when your children ask their fathers, ‘What is the meaning of these stones?’…This is so all the people of the earth may know…and so that you may always fear the Lord your God.” Joshua 4:21-24
There was one stone for each of the Israelite tribes – all were included in God’s promises. The whole nation got to experience the miracle, and they were to tell the future generations.
They must have done exactly as they were supposed to, because we are still hearing about the crossing of the Jordan and God’s faithfulness today.
Purposes of the Stones of Remembrance
The stones served many purposes:
- They helped them remember what the Lord had done for them.
- Are there times you have forgotten how the Lord brought you through battles?
- What significant events or great things have you seen the Lord do in your life?
- You may not have an actual stone memorial, but you can go back to the “stones of remembrance” and recall.
- The stones would be a great conversation starter for the entire nation. This would be an easy way to tell their kids and family about the Lord’s power and to share their testimony.
- What do your kids and/or family see in your life?
- Share with your family how the Lord has brought you through hard times.
- The stones would also show the power of God to the outside non-believing world around them.
- If you read further into the next chapter, the people of Jericho were terrified of the Israelites, because they knew that the hand of the Lord was with Israel.
- Can non-believers see what the Lord has done in your life?
What stones of remembrance or memorial stones do you have set up in your life for these purposes? Let them be a constant reminder of God’s Faithfulness.
When you feel discouraged, defeated, or just spiritually tired, go back to the stones of remembrance and be refreshed and encouraged – even if you have to get real memorial stones.
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Until next week…
“Joshua also set up twelve stones in the middle of the Jordan where the priests who carried the Ark of the Covenant were standing.” Joshua 4:9