Boulders that become landmarks for our Christian faith often times take some digging in deep waters to acquire. I hope you love this story as much as I do. If you aren’t used to reading the Bible it can feel like it belongs in another time! It’s stories seem so far removed from our lives. They have names we can’t pronounce and customs that make absolutely no sense to us so sometimes it can be a reach to dig in. I get it I do! But then there’s that story that just hits you square between the eyes and that really hits home! This is the story for that!
I have many of those but the one I want to share today is found in Joshua 3-4:9. Let me do a cliff notes version then I want you to go read it for yourselves. I tell you guys all the time don’t just eat my crumbles of study. Take what you read then go dig for more goodies!
The Israelites have just left the wilderness! Finally!! Let me reiterate they have been in the wilderness for 40 years! Their next opportunity to trust Him is standing right in front of them. It’s the raging river called the Jordan. The leader Joshua is told to take the ark of the covenant which was a picture of God’s presence around them and cross the raging river with it. This was no small adventure to cross the Jordan with the ark in tow. There are lots of lessons to be learned within the journey to get the ark across the Jordan but that’s not the point of today’s lesson. Let’s just cut to the chase! They are obedient to everything God says do! God parts the waters as they trust Him with obedience!
Now when all the nation had finished crossing the Jordan, the LORD spoke to Joshua saying, Take for yourself twelve men from the people, one man from each tribe, and command them, saying, “Take up yourselves twelve stones from here out of the middle of the Jordan, from the place where the priests’ feet are standing firm, and the middle off the Jordan, and carry them over with you and lay them down in the lodging place where you will lodge tonight.” So Joshua called the twelve men whom he had appointed from the sons of Israel, one man from each tribe; and Joshua said to them, “Cross again 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. Let this be a sign among you, so that when your children ask later, saying, “What do these stones mean to you?” 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,” Thus the sons of Israel did as Joshua commanded, and took up twelves stones from the middle of the Jordan, just a the LORD spoke to Joshua, according to the number of the tribes of the sons of Israel; and they carried them with them to the lodging place and put them down there. Then Joshua set up twelve stones in the middle of the Jordan at the place where the feet of the priests who carried the ark of the covenant were standing, and they ware there to this day.
So here they are on the other side of this raging river then God gives another directive! Can I just say mid study, God is all about the stretch! He is always looking to dig us deeper into trusting Him. As in Godly fashion, He gives another opportunity to test their trust. So they are on the other side and God gives the next step. He asks them to dive in again! What? Yes! That’s exactly what God asks of them.
He wants them to never forget His goodness and provision so He asks for a landmark of sorts be built. He tells them to choose 12 men to choose twelve stones, I will call them boulders for the purpose of this study! The 12 men are to choose the stones from where the priests stood in the waters! So get this picture! He says go back into raging waters and gather stones, bring them out of the water and set them up as a sign so your children can have a visual to inquire about this odd looking structure. I would be saying, “God I just went through there!” “God why do I have to go back in?”
Scripture is plain! God wants a visual representation to show the next generation but I would have been so proud I had been obedient. After that big moment of obedience I would have anticipated God would give me a breather! Often times this is not the case my friends!
All of us have moments like these etched in our mind. Those moments that conjure up the statement, “won’t do that again” or “that had to be God!” This is just what happened with the Israelites! God had moved miraculously so God asks them to erect a reminder. How quickly we forget! He asks them to build a reminder from the foundation rocks of the season we thought would drown us! Did you catch that?? He asks them to build a reminder from the foundation rocks of the season we thought would drown us!
This is literally one of my favorite stories in the Bible. The picture I’ve had in my head all these years are that these were small rocks. But I have to tell you if it’s something so significant that I am going to make a physical marker to remind myself then it’s probably not going to be a baby rock. If it has marked my life to that extent, it is going to be a boulder! It is going to be a landmark that I can go back to for remembering what God did!
God does boulder size work in our lives all the time! God wants you and I to remember them. He challenges us to teach the next generation of His works and goodness. When He works He asks our cooperation in the form of steps of faith. What an opportunity! I’m reminded stepping in and stepping back in again at His command will give Him opportunity to show His might! We are His living breathing testimony today! Cross that water and build that landmark!!
So what stones are you leaving…What markers does your family line know about God from your relationship with him? It will matter to your downline !! Cross the water and build the landmark!
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