“. . . Take for yourselves twelve stones from here, out of the midst of the Jordan, from the place where the priests’ feet stood firm. You shall carry them over with you and leave them in the lodging place where you lodge tonight.” (Joshua 4:3, NKJV)
After their forty-year wilderness experience, the children of Israel were finally entering the Promised Land (Joshua 4). As they prepared to cross the Jordan River into their new homeland, Joshua instructed a man from each tribe to pick up a stone from the riverbed and carry it to the other side. This may have seemed a strange request, but there was a purpose for this. In the years ahead as the people settled into their new homeland, it would be so easy for the miracles they experienced to be forgotten. Future generations would never learn of God’s miracles. These twelve stones were to be a memorial—a visual reminder of God’s faithfulness.
“And those twelve stones which they took out of the Jordan, Joshua set up in Gilgal. Then he spoke to the children of Israel, saying: “When your children ask their fathers in time to come, saying, ‘What are these stones?’ then you shall let your children know, saying, ‘Israel crossed over this Jordan on dry land.’” (Joshua 4:20-22, NKJV)
I have a particular place where I sit during most church services. (Yes, I’m one of those people.) Several families with infants and young children sit around me. Children wiggle, make noise, get fussy, and need to be taken out occasionally. I don’t mind; I love seeing them in church. Will they remember much of the service? I doubt it. But I appreciate that the parents make the effort to bring them to the house of God. Even at such a young age, children can feel God’s presence and observe others worshiping. I applaud faithful parents who begin teaching their children about God while very young.
While church attendance is vital, the home is the true training ground for Christian living. There, from morning until night, parents model God as the center of the family. As you wake your children in the morning, sit together at dinner, drive them to school, and tuck them in bed at night, make God part of your conversation. Pray over them and with them.
What do you teach your children?
- God is with you.
- God will never fail you.
- God will never leave you.
- God will make you strong.
- God will give you courage.
(Adapted from Joshua 1:5-7)
During family devotions, tell your family’s story. Share your testimony and talk about the miracles God has done in your life. Teach your children that God is at work in each of their lives and has a wonderful future planned for them. As you speak of these things, you will be teaching them eternal truths. These family times will become their “stones of remembrance.”
If we don’t teach this generation, how will future generations learn the great things of God?
“You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, when you walk by the way, when you lie down, and when you rise up.” (Deuteronomy 6:7, NKJV)
Lord, help me to be the role model my children need to learn how to walk in the power of the Spirit. Give me the wisdom to guide them and teach them eternal values. Help me to gather memorial stones so that my children and grandchildren will choose to faithfully serve you all the days of their lives.