The crossing of the Jordan River was as significant as it was miraculous. The Israelites had finally, officially, dramatically entered into the Promised Land. It signaled a new era of their history, one that had been promised many years before. It meant the end of their wandering and the beginning of a new way of life. Such events need memorials, visible symbols that mark the moments that define a people. God had a plan.
From each of Israel’s twelve tribes, one man was selected to take a stone from the Jordan riverbed. As soon as the men had chosen their stones and climbed up the banks of the river, the priests followed them with the Ark of the Covenant. Once the Ark was clear of the riverbed, the Jordan began to flow again and became as it was before (v.18).
Joshua took the twelve stones from the men and “set them up” (v.20). Scripture does not tell us how he arranged them. Perhaps he piled them in a heap, stacked them like an altar, or formed them into a circle. However he did it, Joshua pointed to the stones when he had finished and spoke to the nation: “When your children ask what this monument is for, tell them how God rolled back the Jordan River so that you could cross over on dry ground. And when you tell them that story, remember that your God is mighty to save” (v.21-24).
What God-stories do you have to tell? What are the “memorial stones” in your life? What have been the defining moments for you spiritually? Think about your salvation experience and when you were baptized. Think of the first time you led someone to Jesus or taught a Bible study class. Remember the first time you sang a solo, went on a mission trip, or had an answered prayer. Take the time to share those experiences with your spouse, your children, your grandchildren, and your friends. Write them down so that future generations will know that the hand of the Lord was mighty for you.
May we never forget what He has done. And may we always follow Him obediently into new territory and new exploits.