This article was first published on our church website
4 So Joshua called together the twelve men he had appointed from the Israelites, one from each tribe, and said to them, “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, according to the number of the tribes of the Israelites, to serve as a sign among you. In the future, when your children ask you, ‘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. When it crossed the Jordan, the waters of the Jordan were cut off. These stones are to be a memorial to the people of Israel forever.”
“One of the great disadvantages of hurry is that it takes such a long time.” (G.K. Chesterton)
Try and put yourself in the shoes of the Children of Israel. Finally (and I mean finally) after 40 years of wandering, they had reached the promised land. Just a short hop, skip and a jump across a dry river bed and they would be in their dreamland. However, Joshua is instructed by God, to gather a bunch of stones from the river bed and make a monument – think Cairne on top of a mountain! Why slow things down? Why not just hurry into all the new opportunities that were before them? Why not hurry into the hundred-and-one things that a military campaign required? Why not, like so many of us, hurry their way into the future?
In verse 7 we read the answer, these stones were to be a “memorial” or reminder to the people of Israel for generations to come, of God’s preservation of them over 40 years and then his miraculous river-crossing for them. These stones were meant to slow them down so they could remember God’s faithfulness to them.
Do you and I need some memorial stones? I’m not meaning actual stones but rather, tools to help us remember the faithfulness of God in our lives? If so, maybe the following questions could serve as those stones in your life?
- How did God save you?
- In what ways has God been leading you over the last few months?
- How has God been faithful to you over this last week?
- What evidence of God’s kindness have you seen today?
Ask these questions, and then ask them again and again and again, and maybe you too will have a “memorial” in your life to God’s activity!
Dear Father, thank you that you are always at work in my life. Forgive me for only seeing and savouring a small fraction of this kindness you pour out on my life. Help me to constantly be remembering your faithfulness and kindness and activity in my life. And where hurry is getting in the way, slow me down, so I might live a grateful life. Amen