After the Israelites had crossed the Jordan River into the Promised Land, one man from each of the 12 tribes walked back into the previously flooded, now miraculously parted waterway and picked up a large stone.
An odd choice, it might appear, unless we read of the purpose for the stones.
“So Joshua called together the twelve men he had chosen—one from each of the tribes of Israel. He told them, “Go into the middle of the Jordan, in front of the Ark of the Lord your God. Each of you must pick up one stone and carry it out on your shoulder—twelve stones in all, one for each of the twelve tribes of Israel. We will use these stones to build a memorial. In the future your children will ask you, ‘What do these stones mean?’ Then you can tell them, ‘They remind us that the Jordan River stopped flowing when the Ark of the Lord’s Covenant went across.’ These stones will stand as a memorial among the people of Israel forever.” (Joshua 4:4-7)
This extremely visual account from Hebrew history is incredibly relevant to us today.
Particularly the five-word question that Joshua said would come from generations of children.
“What do these stones mean?”
The people in Joshua’s day could easily recall the meaning of those stones and the memories of God’s deliverance power that accrued to the Israelites. Trusting God and obeying God was always the best way because He could ALWAYS deliver on His promises if His children obeyed Him.
The stones served as a tangible reminder of God’s endless love, earthly power and eternal purpose.
You and I haven’t walked across the dried bottom of a miraculously stopped up river. But we have been delivered by God’s grace through some very difficult emotional, physical, financial or spiritual obstacles.
It is that deliverance that we should memorialize with stories or keepsakes or even with dedicated places of prayer in our homes or churches.
And those stories or keepsakes or dedicated places of prayer should prompt questions by others — particularly children — about why we have such memorials.
“God was SO good to me and here’s what He did…..” should be our introduction to a recounting of God’s grace, shared with inquiring hearts.
I want to encourage you to set up “stones” in your life that prompt children or other adults to ask questions about God’s intercession in your life.
Write out a testimony of how God helped you through a tough situation.
Frame some pictures of you serving in an important volunteer ministry at church and put them in places that people will see them and ask about the activity.
Prepare a prayer garden in your yard or at your church so that people can inquire as to its purpose and be told of God’s intervening nature.
Assemble a small, decorative array of stones — picked up on the grounds of an missions ministry outpost — in a pretty bowl on your work desk and be prepared to explain the work of the Lord in that place.
Perhaps you’re one who can memorialize a deliverance from alcoholism by smashing booze bottles into tiny pieces and gluing them to the base of a small cross placed on your desk.
People need to see us memorialize our deliverance so that we can teach them about Him.
As they do, some just might want to join us on the “other side” of the river.
As always, I love you