Each Man a Stone

As soon as… the feet of the priests bearing the ark were dipped in the brink of the water (now the Jordan overflows all its banks throughout the time of harvest), the waters coming down from above stood and rose up in a heap very far away,.. and those flowing down toward the Salt Sea, were completely cut off. And the people passed over opposite Jericho. Now the priests… stood firmly on dry ground in the midst of the Jordan… until all the nation finished passing over the Jordan.

“When the nation had finished passing over,.. Joshua said [as God commanded], ‘Take up each of you a stone upon his shoulder, according to the number of the tribes of the people of Israel, that this may be a sign among you… a memorial forever.’

“And when… the soles of the priests’ feet were lifted up on dry ground, the waters of the Jordan returned to their place and overflowed all its banks, as before… And Joshua set up [those twelve stones]. And he said to the people of Israel, ‘When your children ask in times to come, “What do these stones mean?” then you shall let your children know, “Israel passed over this Jordan on dry ground.” For the Lord your God dried up the waters of the Jordan for you until you passed over,.. so that all the peoples of the earth may know that the hand of the Lord is mighty, that you may fear the Lord your God forever.” Joshua 3:15-4:1,5-7,18,20-24

The LORD had held back the flooding rushing waters of the Jordan so His people could pass over into the land they’d anticipated for a whole generation, the place of promise. And God wanted His miraculous act remembered, so He instructed that one from each tribe shoulder a large stone of remembrance. This was not to be an, “I heard someone say the harvest waters stopped,” but “God did this for me, for us!”

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Certainly we are to share recountings of God’s faithful acts of forefathers and others we know, but it’s important we have our own stories, specific personal encounters with our living Lord, that stand as markers of places walked, lessons learned, and triumphs gained in our own lives.

Do I quote others’ messages or lessons from scripture more than I can speak my own? Do I prefer another’s bounty of insights into God’s word, from footnotes or sermons, more than I value digging for and discovering hidden treasure myself? Am I relying on what the Lord has taught someone else, or asking the Holy Spirit to give me discernment to understand His wisdom? Am I trying to build a faith-life with someone else’s stones, or collecting my own experiences and fulfilled promises? (Proverbs 2:1-11)

Where has God shown Himself mighty for me? Through what tempest or impossible relationship or circumstance has He made for me a miraculous way? What encounters and situations have taught me to fear Him and love Him more deeply? How am I strengthened, reinforced, or enlightened by His voice or help to me? Would I recount these, sing praises, and tell?

Lord, may my life be a living memorial of Your might and mercies, that others will know You are great and worthy of praise.

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