Rocks of Ages—Joshua 4

17 And the priests who carried the ark of the covenant of the Lord stood firm on dry ground in the middle of the Jordan while all Israel crossed on dry ground, until all the nation had finished crossing the Jordan. Joshua 3:17 (NAS)

23 “For the Lord your God dried up the waters of the Jordan before you until you had crossed, just as the Lord your God had done to the Red Sea, which He dried up before us until we had crossed; 24 that all the peoples of the earth may know that the hand of the Lord is mighty, so that you may fear the Lord your God forever. Joshua 4:23–24

When faced with a huge problem, and you’re trusting God, he goes before you to solve it. He lays the groundwork. We might speculate that even if the Lord peels back the water the river bed will still be too soft. He makes sure it’s dry. You may worry about the vast number of people who have to cross and if the opening will be wide enough and how long it’ll stay open and whether the water will be released too soon. God knows what he’s doing. And he did so in this instance in flood season! He goes before us.

Second, what he did in the past he can do in the future. He’s not a one-hit wonder. We seem to get into the same messes over and over. He can get us out of them over and over, and he might just do it the same way, hoping that we’ll pick up on his reliability. Case in point, both Elijah and Elisha crossed the same river under the same conditions (2 Kings 2:12).

Third, the Lord really wants us to remember past deliverances, so much so he uses visual aids. In Joshua’s case, he commanded that a representative from each of the twelve tribes collect one huge river stone and carry it to the nation’s first campsite. There they’d erect a memorial. For good measure, Joshua built his own memorial where the priests and ark were stationed in the river bed, so that when the waters returned, the tops of the stones would be visible for all to see where they stood and what the Lord had done.

6 “Let this be a sign among you, so that when your children ask later, saying, ‘What do these stones mean to you?’ 7 then you shall say to them, ‘Because the waters of the Jordan were cut off before the ark of the covenant of the Lord; when it crossed the Jordan, the waters of the Jordan were cut off.’ So these stones shall become a memorial to the sons of Israel forever.” Joshua 4:6–7

How can we erect memorials to his past assistance? Perhaps in a journal. Maybe something unique and creative. For example, God called for a memorial built to code. Joshua improvised and did an additional one of his own. (Joshua 4:9) Maybe he just wanted future generations to know when they saw the top of the stones in the river, it’d be an even greater testimony to God’s power. Whatever the case, the Lord did not object.

Finally, there’s no problem too great, too thorny, too difficult for God to fix. Somehow he’ll provide enough obvious direction to get you through it. The ark was carried to the middle of the Jordan for direction. He’ll do the same for us somehow. But it might be that the only direction we’ll have is that he’s done the same miracle before! One last thing. He will not pick us up and carry us. We need to make it through on our own two feet.

About Rick Reynolds

You'll find me in the far right hand corner of evangelical Christianity. Been studying the Word for 40 years and counting.
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