Day 6: Joshua 4
The Israelites had arrived in the Promised Land! This was a moment they had waited for for sometime, and finally it had happened.
In Chapter 4:1-3 we read:
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.
I wonder have you ever heard the phrase ‘the first thing I am going to do when…’? Perhaps somebody is planning a holiday, and they say the first thing I’m going to do when I arrive on holiday is jump in the pool etc. For the Israelites they’d dreamed of this moment for some time, but before they did anything else, they had an important instruction from God.
They were instructed to pick up 12 stones from the middle of the river, and set them down in the place where they were staying. Why did God want the people of Israel to do this?
In a world where not many people could read or write, symbols and actions were really important in establishing the people’s collective history. These stones emphasised the significant event that had taken place that day. They reminded the Israelites when they forgot, (which they did), and stood as a testimony to future generations.
There would come a day when Israel’s children would ask for an explanation of these stones. The explanation God gives is as follows:
“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.”
God wanted the next generation to know what he had done, so it would be a foundation on which they could build their faith.
As we reflect on these 12 stones today, let us remember that God is faithful to his people, and all the ways he has been faithful to us. Let’s make sure we don’t allow these things to slip our minds. Let us remember that even when insurmountable obstacles stand in our way that God is faithful. Let us remember that even if God seems to delay in bringing about breakthroughs, that he will always do what he has promised.
We remember not only to build our faith, but also to store up treasures for the future generations, so they too can know what a powerful God we serve.
Ps Hannah Hoyle
Bishop Auckland Campus Pastor