Summary: This study is about the significance of God's command for Joshua to erect memorial stones taken from the River Jordan as a monument of God's faithfulness for generations to come. In the same manner, we must never forget the things He has done.
Joshua 4: 1-7 (NIV) 4 When the whole nation had finished crossing the Jordan, the Lord said to Joshua, 2 “Choose twelve men from among the people, one from each tribe,3 and tell them to take up twelve stones from the middle of the Jordan, from right where the priests are standing, and carry them over with you and put them down at the place where you stay tonight.”
4 So Joshua called together the twelve men he had appointed from the Israelites, one from each tribe, 5 and said to them, “Go over before the ark of the Lord your God into the middle of the Jordan. Each of you is to take up a stone on his shoulder, according to the number of the tribes of the Israelites,6 to serve as a sign among you. In the future, when your children ask you, ‘What do these stones mean?’ 7 tell them that the flow of the Jordan was cut off before the ark of the covenant of the Lord. When it crossed the Jordan, the waters of the Jordan were cut off. These stones are to be a memorial to the people of Israel forever.”
We are now in the fourth chapter of the Book of Joshua.
Last week, we learned about Israel crossing the River Jordan after many years of wandering in the wilderness.
The Crossing of the River Jordan signified that they had to fix their eyes upon the ark of the covenant, they have to live sanctified lives and they have to take that step of faith and advance.
Now is the time for them to move forward and be transformed becoming conquerors of the Promised Land.
But before they do that, they had to set up memorial of stones for future generations to remember that day.
And so, Joshua called twelve men, one from each tribe to pick up a stone from around the spot where the priests stood in the middle of the river.
They are to pick these stones and place them on the site where they will dwell for the night.
Although there were no inscription engraved on them, yet, it will stand to record their miraculous passage over the Jordan River.
Then, when the ark of the Lord passed over carried by the priests the people crossed over.
Then, the children of Reuben fully armed shown themselves ready for battle in the presence of the people.
These were fighting men to prepare them to invade the land.
And on that day, the Lord magnified Joshua in the sight of all Israel.
Erecting those memorial stones is a way to teach Israel to remember the past in order to claim their future.
They have to learn to trust God and not rush into doing things by their own strength.
Many of them probably would have wanted so much to immediately invade Jericho.
Why not take advantage of the time when they are all afraid of Israel?
But God is never in a hurry.
He knows that something had to be done in their minds before they could do something with their spears.
They have to be reminded that it is never their battle but the Lord.
That is why God had to set up memorial stones representing each tribe of Israel to instill their faith and trust in God alone.
They were one nation united under God with a purpose to conquer Jericho under His guidance.
And this, they must never forget for the rest f their lives.
And so, the memorial was for the people of Israel to teach their children about the great things God has done in the past and the great things that God is about to do in the future.
When they see these stones, the work of God would not be forgotten among the future generations.
You, see, we often fail to trust God because we forget the great things he has done in our lives particularly the past.
We have a very short memory.
Because of that, we have difficulty moving forward because we lose sight of our dependency on Him.
We though that it was by our own strength, by our own abilities and skills that we accomplished these things.
We missed the point of our real source of victory.
That is why we need to have a clear memory of remembering what God did for us.
When we look at these monuments of God's goodness,
When we tell stories of God's faithfulness,
When we are reminded of how God pulled us through our past difficulties,
Then we never cease to wonder and be amazed of God's greatness and power at work when others have lost their faith.
Surely, we need to erect those memorial stones in our lives.
Let me tell you a story.