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Joshua 4:4-8

14 05 18 - 22:51

A Twelve Stone Memorial

Joshua 4:4-8

4  Then Joshua called the twelve men, whom he had prepared of the children of Israel, out of every tribe a man: 5  And Joshua said unto them, Pass over before the ark of the LORD your God into the midst of Jordan, and take ye up every man of you a stone upon his shoulder, according unto the number of the tribes of the children of Israel: 6  That this may be a sign among you, [that] when your children ask [their fathers] in time to come, saying, What [mean] ye by these stones? 7  Then ye shall answer them, That the waters of Jordan were cut off before the ark of the covenant of the LORD; when it passed over Jordan, the waters of Jordan were cut off: and these stones shall be for a memorial unto the children of Israel for ever. 8  And the children of Israel did so as Joshua commanded, and took up twelve stones out of the midst of Jordan, as the LORD spake unto Joshua, according to the number of the tribes of the children of Israel, and carried them over with them unto the place where they lodged, and laid them down there.

Joshua immediately obeyed the LORD's commandment. It appears from the statement in the first verse, "And it came to pass, when all the people were clean passed over Jordan, that the LORD spake unto Joshua," that the nation had already finished crossing when the LORD commanded Joshua to take up the twelve stones. The priests must have remained in the river until the men retrieved the twelve stones, which were to be used to make a memorial to the event.

The twelve men who were chosen earlier in Joshua 3:12 were now told to go back into the river bed and each pick up a large stone for the memorial. The stones were large enough that they had to be carried upon the shoulder. There would be one stone for each of the twelve tribes.

This was a memorable event, not only because the Jordan had been parted (That was nothing compared to the parting of the Red Sea.), but also because it marked the fulfillment of the promise that God had made to Abraham over five hundred years earlier. God's works were very important in the Hebrew mind. When asked to describe their God, they would describe Him by the works He had done. That is unlike our way of thinking. We would describe Him as a Spirit, omniscient, omnipresent, omnipotent and triune God. Therefore, it was important for Israel to remember this very important event in their history.

It was the responsibility of every parent to teach their children about the LORD's work so that His name would always be exalted and worshiped and He would always be obeyed. Thus, they were told, "When your children ask..." about the memorial, they should be able to tell them about the LORD's miracle that took place there. This was a pattern followed by the LORD. (See Exo 13:14; Exo 12:26-27, and Deu 6:20-21.)

As the men obeyed Joshua's command and built the memorial, Joshua was exhibiting the leadership qualities that God had given him. He was obedient to the word of the LORD, and his people respected him as being chosen by God to be their leader. They followed his every instruction and had now set foot upon the land of their inheritance.

Christians today have similar responsibilities. God never changes nor do His laws. We need to be able to give a testimony to the children about how God has worked in our lives through the Lord Jesus Christ. His memory should never be allowed to die with any single generation. Our salvation experience and the other miracles that we have seen the Lord perform are just as important as was the crossing of the Jordan. These too are the fulfillment of the promise made to Abraham four thousand years ago.

Before The Throne:

Thank the Lord for your salvation through Jesus Christ. Ask Him to help you effectively communicate your experiences with Him to your children and others whom He brings into your life. Pray for those whom you believe need to hear your testimony.

For Further Study:

(v.4) * prepared. Mark 3:14-19;

(v.6) * a sign. Josh 22:27; Exod 12:14; Exod 13:9; Exod 31:13; Num 16:38; Isa 55:13; Ezek 20:12, 20; * when your. Josh 4:21; Exod 12:26-27; Exod 13:14; Deut 6:20; Deut 6:21; Deut 11:19; Ps 44:1; Ps 71:18; Ps 78:3-8; Isa 38:19; Acts 2:39;

(v.7) * the waters. 3:13-16; * memorial. Exod 12:14; Exod 28:12; Exod 30:16; Num 16:40; Ps 111:4; Isa 66:3; 1Co 11:24;

(v.8) * did so as Joshua. Josh 1:16-18;



Author David Roth has been the Multihousing and Community Outreach Director for the York Baptist Association in Rock Hill, S.C. for nearly 20 years. He is the founder and pastor of Midtown Ministries, an inner city ministry to over 50 children and is presently pastoring My Radical Church, a new church plant that is focusing on reaching the homeless and poorest of the city. He has written over 3,000 daily bible studies and is in the process of posting them on this website.

The image in the header is © Andreas Reinhold.

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