“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: 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? 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.” Joshua 4:5-7
A monument is a type of structure that was explicitly created to commemorate a person or event, or which has become relevant to a social group as a part of their remembrance of historic times or cultural heritage, due to its artistic, historical, political, technical or architectural importance.
We have heard a lot of stories on the news in the last few weeks of people destroying or vandalizing monuments that have been set up in cities and towns across the nation. It is hard to believe that people think that by destroying a symbol, they can wipe out the past.
In this fourth chapter of Joshua, we find the story of the children of Israel finally crossing over into the Promised Land. Joshua has instructed them to take twelve stone out of the Jordan River, as the people walked over on dry ground, and to erect a memorial on the shore. This memorial would stand as a reminder forever of how the Lord had led His people safely over the Jordan. When their children in the future would ask them what it meant, they would once again relate the story of God’s miracle in rolling the waters back.
God has done so much for us, gave us many miracles, and protected us through times of trial and danger. What kind of monuments are we erecting that the next generation and the next can look at and remember? Are we passing on to our children stories of the great things that God has done for us? To quote the words of a Gospel song, “Where are the landmarks set up for our children, so they will know the way to get home? We should be laying stones so they can follow the pathway that leads to God’s throne.”
Prayer: Thank you Lord for all the wonderful things you have done for us. Help us to lay stones of love, forgiveness, mercy so that the next generation will desire to serve you.
Devotion by Anne Johnston