What an amazing scene we get to read today in Joshua 4 as God’s people finally reach the Promised Land. In chapter 3 we saw the miraculous way God cut off the Jordan River (reminiscent of the way He parted the Red Sea) so that His people could walk across on dry land. Here in chapter 4 we see the continuation and completion of God’s will to bring Israel into the land He promised them. While the miracle in and of itself must have been an absolutely amazing site to see and live through; God made sure that the memory of this moment didn’t die with the generation that experienced it firsthand. God makes it clear to Joshua that this event needed to be remembered for generations to come. So, He directs Joshua to set up a memorial of twelve stones (representing the twelve tribes of Israel) to mark the place where this miracle took place. Then Joshua, through the direction of The Lord, tells the people why they have done this:
“When your children ask their fathers in times to come, ‘What do these stones mean?’ 22 then you shall let your children know, ‘Israel passed over this Jordan on dry ground.’ 23 For the Lord your God dried up the waters of the Jordan for you until you passed over, as the Lord your God did to the Red Sea, which he dried up for us until we passed over, 24 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.”
As parents of a 3 year old son, Sarah and I get asked a minimum of one thousand questions a day. “Who built our house, Mommy?” “What was your favorite superhero when you were a boy, Daddy?” “Why can’t I ride my bike in the road?” The curious mind of a child at this formative stage is quite hilarious sometimes, to be honest. But then you get those moments where the questions are so much more significant: “Who is Jesus, Daddy?” “Why did Jesus have to die on the cross?” “Why do you read your Bible in the morning before you go to work?” When Sarah and I get these questions we are overjoyed because we know that God is giving us a golden opportunity to share the gospel with our son and share with him how transformative Jesus has been in our lives.
Mom and Dad, are you listening for those “what do these stones mean?” questions to come up in your relationship with your child? You may not set up memorial stones in your house to point to the glory of God in your life; but God gives us opportunities every day to live our lives and use our words in a way that testifies to how mighty and powerful Christ is to us. You may have never experienced a moment like Israel when they crossed the Jordan here in Joshua 4 to tell your kids about. But, you have experiences in your relationship with Jesus that your children need to hear! Beginning with how you came to know Christ. It is never too early to begin to have those conversations and trust that God will use those seeds to draw them to Himself. I know that I primarily wrote to parents today, but the principle is really true in other relationships that we have. Live your life in such a way and listen for those “what do these stones mean?” questions and be ready in and out of season to give a reason for the hope that you have!
By: Matt Mofield