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 ~