Scripture: Joshua 4:1-24
Observation: When all of the people crossed the river, the Lord commanded Joshua to have one man from each tribe go back in, take a rock from the bottom of the Jordan, and use it to construct a memorial. They did this, and after everyone else had safely crossed, Joshua commanded the priests who were carrying the Ark of the Covenant to come out of the riverbed. As soon as they did, the river began flowing again as usual. After successfully crossing the river, the Lord made Joshua a great leader among the Israelite people, just as he did with Moses.
Application: Remember playing Chutes & Ladders as a kid? It’s a game of chance where you try to get from square 1 to square 100 by a series of spins and the help (or hindrance) of chutes and ladders. The ladders typically help you get closer to your goal, while the chutes set you back a few moves. However, there are those rare occasions where landing on a chute late in the game can actually set you up to land on square 80 – which is home to a ladder that helps you win the game.
Sometimes you have to move backwards to move forwards.
After the miraculous crossing of the Jordan River, the Lord commanded Joshua to have a few people go back into the river and remove stones to use for a memorial.
They had moved forward and were standing on the edge of the Promised Land – yet they had to go back before they could move forward.
“‘Now choose twelve men, one from each tribe. Tell them, ‘Take twelve stones from the very place where the priests are standing in the middle of the Jordan. Carry them out and pile them up at the place where you will camp tonight.’” (v. 2-3)
They had to go back for one simple reason: God didn’t want them to forget his faithfulness.
“For the Lord your God dried up the river right before your eyes, and he kept it dry until you were all across, just as he did at the Red Sea when he dried it up until we had all crossed over.” (v. 23)
While they were able to bask in the miracle and praise God in that moment, God knew things wouldn’t always feel victorious. When war broke out and doubt filled their minds and discouragement welled up in their spirits, he wanted them to remember: His faithfulness lasts forever. He was faithful then, and he will be faithful now.
Today, remind yourself of God’s faithfulness – the miracles he’s performed in your life, the gifts he’s given you, the peace he has filled you with.
Memorialize the miracle.
Prayer: God, thank you for every miracle, every act of faithfulness, every time you’ve made a way. I pray I can remember your goodness and live with a grateful heart full of faith and a willingness to obey wherever you lead. Amen.