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In Joshua 4 we see instructions (vv.1-7), actions (vv.8-14), more instructions (vv.15-18), and then a justification:
“The people went up from the Jordan on the tenth day of the first month and camped in Gilgal on the eastern border of Jericho. Now Joshua set up in Gilgal the twelve stones they had taken from the Jordan. He told the Israelites,
“When your children someday ask their fathers,
‘What do these stones represent?’
explain to your children,
‘Israel crossed the Jordan River on dry ground.’
For the LORD your God dried up the water of the Jordan before you while you crossed over. It was just like when the LORD your God dried up the Red Sea before us while we crossed it. He has done this so all the nations of the earth might recognize the LORD’s power and so you might always obey the LORD your God”.
(Joshua 4.19-24, NET)
Why are the people stacking stones up now the river has been crossed? The stones are to stand as a memorial forever (v.7) to God’s supernatural ability to save His people. The stones stand to remind God’s people – and others who see them – that the Lord your God saved His people. The stones stand to remind all who see them that He [did] this so all the nations of the earth might recognise the Lord’s power and so [they] might always obey the Lord your God.
The same is true for you. Times where God has shown Himself to be supernaturally strong stand like stones in our memories and minds and move us towards stronger obedience.
Think about a time when you had no idea how things would turn out, then God intervened so powerfully and evidently to resolve the situation in such a way as to glorify Himself and for your eternal good.
Think about all the occasions in the Bible where people were hopeless, no idea where to turn, no idea how the situation would ever come to a positive conclusion…and then the Lord steps in and brings something out of nothing.
The stones stood as a visual reminder of a time when God worked supernaturally to save His people. Do we have anything similar in our lives? Do we have a symbol of a time when God worked supernaturally to save His people? How about this:
As those stones stood to inspire future confidence in God’s ability to guide and provide by reminding the people of time when this has been on show so powerfully and evidently, so the cross of Christ stands for us, now. Don’t forget what God has done in your life, even when things feel hopeless or as if they will never resolve positively. Look back, look back to the cross and keep moving forward.