Joshua – Remembering

Searching His Word
 Seeking His Heart

The tribes of Israel saw the power of God when the Red Sea parted. Now their descendants have seen the parting of the Jordan River at flood stage. (See “Joshua – Crossing the River“)

When monumental things happen in our lives, we want to do something to remember. We may take pictures or videos, give special gifts, write a letter, record it in our journal, or even make a statue of historical happenings—anything to remember this special event.

That’s exactly what God wanted Joshua to do after the children of Israel walked on dry land through the Jordan River into the Promised Land. Each tribe sent a representative to Joshua and he gave them these twelve men instructions from the Lord,

“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 to serve as a sign among you.” Joshua 4:5-6a

          

These aren’t little rocks to hold in one hand. I imagine we’re talking about stones that are much larger than a basketball! They were to bring the stones to Gilgal, their first settlement when they crossed over the river. 

The four priests remained in the middle of the Jordan until the twelve representatives retrieved their stones and left.

Then the Lord said to Joshua, “Command the priests carrying the ark of the Testimony to come up out of the Jordan.” No sooner had they set their feet on dry ground than the waters of the Jordan returned to their place and ran at flood stage as before. Joshua 4:15, 18b

So what’s with the stones? Just as we make our videos, or statues are erected, or gravestones are put in place, we do these things to remember the person or the event or the historical significance. 

Joshua set up the twelve stones and said,

“These will serve as a sign among you. In the future, when your children ask, ‘What do these stones mean?’ tell them that the flow of the Jordan was cut off before the ark of the covenant of the Lord. These stones are to be a memorial to the people of Israel forever.” Joshua 4:6-7

The Covid-19 virus has certainly been an historic event in our time, affecting our whole country and the whole world for that matter. What will we designate as a remembrance? Pictures of having to look through a glass at our new grandbabies or older loved ones in assisted living facilities? Friendships deepened with those we have helped with grocery shopping, phone calls, or zoom Sunday School lessons?

Have some learned to home school their children? Or have greater appreciation of teachers? Have things around the house benefited from over-due projects?

If I get my book published by the end of the year, that will be my memorial of extra hours available during this time!

If someone asks you about your rock memorial, what do you want them to remember?

~ Joyce ~

 

Joshua – Pause and Reflect

Searching His Word
 Seeking His Heart

As we pause with the children of Israel who have now made it to the Jordan River, (See Joshua – Get Ready! Click on BLOG), let us reflect on the journey that these people have traveled for forty long years.

Can you imagine the excitement they must feel as they consecrate themselves for this momentous occasion?  Remember that after Joshua and the spies of his day returned from their journey, the people were frightened and unwilling to go farther into the Promised Land. God told them

“In this desert your bodies will fall, every one of you twenty years old or more … except for Caleb and Joshua. Your children will be shepherds here for forty years, suffering for your unfaithfulness.” Numbers 14:29-30, 33

I’m thinking only the ones who had been 5 to 20 years-old would even remember leaving Egypt or the crossing of the Red Sea. These young ones would now have reached the age of 45 to 60. That means those who were now under 45 would have only known the desert.

I imagine that on this night, the grandpas and the fathers would have sat the younger ones down at dinner time to recall the past. I envision them talking about the hard life in Egypt as slaves, the plagues, and Moses’ leadership to bring them out of their bondage.

Then with excitement, they might retell the glory of God’s protection with the pillar of fire by night and the and the pillar of cloud by day. Excitement would build as the story-telling grandfather would speak of Pharaoh’s army storming across the desert behind them and the panic the people felt with a rushing sea in front of them–nowhere to go!

The children might be waiting for the climatic part of the story they had heard so many times, how Moses raised the staff and God parted the waters before them. The father might be nodding his head and getting caught up in the old story as well. He might recall, “And we walked across on dry ground while the waters were held back beside us!”

The patriarch of the family might remind the younger ones, “And now, the land just across this river before us is the very land that God promised us years ago, all the way back to our father Abraham.”

I imagine the fathers would have tears in their eyes as they realized that the promise is finally about to be fulfilled right before their eyes. Perhaps, even the children sense the awesome days that are before them.

We wait with them, reflecting on the wondrous way their lives will soon change. What will it be like? Will they have stone houses to live in? Do the younger ones even know about stone houses? What kind of food will they eat? All they have ever known is manna. This area is already so different from the hot desert. They see green palm trees, grass and a river. They feel cooler temperatures.

What more is in store?

~ Joyce ~