Joshua 4:1-7 – “Now when all the nation had finished crossing the Jordan, the LORD spoke to Joshua, saying, 2 ” Take for yourselves twelve men from the people, one man from each tribe, 3 and command them, saying, ‘Take up for yourselves twelve stones from here out of the middle of the Jordan, from the place where the priests’ feet are standing firm, and carry them over with you and lay them down in the lodging place where you will lodge tonight.'” 4 So Joshua called the twelve men whom he had appointed from the sons of Israel, one man from each tribe; 5 and Joshua said to them, ” Cross again to the ark of the LORD your God into the middle of the Jordan, and each of you take up a stone on his shoulder, according to the number of the tribes of the sons of Israel. 6 ” Let this be a sign among you, so that when your children ask later, saying, ‘What do these stones mean to you?’ 7 then you shall say to them, ‘Because the waters of the Jordan were cut off before the ark of the covenant of the LORD; when it crossed the Jordan, the waters of the Jordan were cut off.’ So, these stones shall become a memorial to the sons of Israel forever.” NASB
Is it possible that we too frequently allow momentous events and victories in our lives to go “unmarked”? Later we remember that it happened, but we have nothing to refer back to and nothing to point to for the next generation and relate the story of God’s accomplishment in our lives and what it means to us, the ministry entrusted to us, and our families.
Here, Israel is about to enter the “Promised Land.” Moses, the key figure in the deliverance from Egyptian bondage, the wanderings in the wilderness, the nation becoming a nation and developing the ability to fight as one man, is dead. A new leader is taking his place and this new leader is somewhat unproven. Moses had placed the mantle on him and identified him as the one God had chosen for the people but at this point, the people had not seen his leadership firsthand so there was some trepidation.
As they cross Jordan in another miracle from the Lord, God instructs Joshua to do something significant that we all need to learn to do in our lives and battles. He had him build a “Memorial” to be remembered by future generations and as a reminder to the present generation of God’s hand of deliverance.
One stone for each tribe was taken from the river, the place of the problem which potentially blocked the path to victory. Out of the bed of the river the priest lifted stones and assembled them on the Canaan side of the river so that whenever future generations asked, “What does this mean?” they could relate God’s miraculous deliverance all the way back to Egypt.
It was a Memorial of Victory! Call it whatever you will, but it was an identification point that would inspire faith and confidence in a proven act of God under His assigned leadership. Following God’s man, in God’s plan, God’s way leads to victory and allows the body to function as ONE!
I have built many memorials to past victories in the Lord, and some are as insignificant as a note, a stone, an artifact, or a framed Bible verse. But, when I go back to them, I remember the event as though it were yesterday and am able to relate it to my children, grandchildren, and anyone who asks and the faith that was borne in my heart on that day rises to the surface again and takes root in my heart motivating me to continue to move forward. We dare not “cast away our confidence” but should carefully guard memories of the victories of the Lord in our lives as triggers to inspire both faith and determination to continue pressing toward the mark.
Today, many of you will have the opportunity to build a memorial of memory and a tribute to the miracle-working hand of God. Take this opportunity to establish something that will serve as both encouragement and trigger faith in the future when things might not seem so rosy. On this day, God…
May God bless you as you continue your week in Him!