When all the nation had finished passing over the Jordan, the Lord said to Joshua, 2 “Take twelve men from the people, from each tribe a man, 3 and command them, saying, ‘Take twelve stones from here out of the midst of the Jordan, from the very place where the priests’ feet stood firmly, and bring them over with you and lay them down in the place where you lodge tonight.’” 4 Then Joshua called the twelve men from the people of Israel, whom he had appointed, a man from each tribe. 5 And Joshua said to them, “Pass on before the ark of the Lord your God into the midst of the Jordan, and take up each of you a stone upon his shoulder, according to the number of the tribes of the people of Israel, 6 that this may be a sign among you. When your children ask in time to come, ‘What do those stones mean to you?’ 7 then you shall tell them that the waters of the Jordan were cut off before the ark of the covenant of the Lord. When it passed over the Jordan, the waters of the Jordan were cut off. So these stones shall be to the people of Israel a memorial forever.”
When was the last time that God made a defining impact on your life? Can you recall a time where God made His power, faith, mercy, love, or even wrath so clear to you?
This weekend, our little Moyer clan went to NW Iowa to visit my family. We had a great time of celebrating and fellowship together. It’s always nice to have my little one run around with other littles, watching all that energy burn off as bed time comes closer and closer. A mother’s heart can rejoice knowing that sleep may be desired at a decent time! (bahahaha! One can dream!)
Near the end of our weekend, we joined my parents at their church. The sermon there was about Joshua 4, and how God had provided yet again for the people of Israel. They were then instructed to build a memorial…a pile of river stones.
River stones are not like what you’d see on land. They were smooth due to the river currents continuously rolling over them. If people walked by a pile of 12 big river rocks on dry ground, carried quite a ways from a water source, it’s going to spark curiosity.
What strikes me funny is when we think of why God instructed the Israelites to build the memorial. It wasn’t like God said “Forge your names in the rocks so people can remember what you accomplished this day.” We see many times in scripture where God instructs someone to build a memorial. Sometimes they aren’t even instructed to build something; they just do it cause they want everyone to remember that something amazing happened at this spot!
What God is saying here is, “Make a memorial so that everyone will know that I did something amazing here.” These stones of remembrance are for what God did for Israel. This seems like a no-brainer, but how many times does God do something amazing in our lives and we puff our chests with pride? We pray for God to give us strength to accomplish a task that we believe is beyond our ability, but when He answers and provides for us we take the medal and hold it high for all to see. I’m not pointing fingers at anyone here except me, because I know I do this more than I’d want to admit.
This is a great reminder of how in ALL things we should be giving thanks and glory back to our God. The little things like studying for a test, to starting your own business. The success is in God’s hands, not ours.
What are your stones of remembrance? What are the things that have happened in your journey that when you look back you are reminded of God’s attributes?
One of mine was way back when I was in 9th grade. My youth group went to Salt Lake City Utah for a youth convention. Previous to that, I had been struggling with very immoral images. I couldn’t shake the thoughts or images that I had due to experiencing something of that nature when I was about 5 or 6. It was engraved in my memory and dwelling in my heart.
It was night time, and I was with another high school friend of mine. We were talking, and I fell to my knees (dramatically mind you…I was quite dramatic). I didn’t have the mindset to receive what I did in that moment. My friend put his hand on me and prayed for me. I was being an attention-seeking silly little freshman with a big crush and seeking any chance I could get for compassion. What I got in return was healing and release. My friend prayed, and I prayed with him. From that moment on, those images left and I was free. I am reminded of that moment still as I ponder the Goodness of God and how He heals not only physically, but emotionally and spiritually. He gave a freshman girl a reason to build a stone of remembrance. I visit that stone a bit today.
I encourage you to locate your stones of remembrance. Where has God revealed His glory to you in a way that it has impacted you so deeply that it can only send you to a place of worship and remembrance of Him?
I’ll give you a good place to start….the Cross. Where Jesus did the most amazing miracle…He gave you the ability to not only love Him, but deny yourself FOR Him. To say, “I’m nothing without you.”
Our stones may not be as visible as they were back then, but God is still giving us reason to build memorials for Him.
If you would like to share your stones of remembrance in the comments of this blog, I would love to hear about it and praise along with you! This is how we can keep striving and thriving together!