Week Fifteen: Day 5

    April 19, 2024 | Be God's Light

    Twelve Stones as a Memorial

    Scripture: Joshua 4 (NIV)

    1 When the whole nation had finished crossing the Jordan, the Lord said to Joshua, 2 “Choose twelve men from among the people, one from each tribe, 3 and tell them to take up twelve stones from the middle of the Jordan, from right where the priests are standing, and carry them over with you and put them down at the place where you stay tonight.”

    4 So Joshua called together the twelve men he had appointed from the Israelites, one from each tribe, 5 and said to them, “Go over before the ark of the Lord your God into the middle of the Jordan. Each of you is to take up a stone on his shoulder, according to the number of the tribes of the Israelites, 6 to serve as a sign among you. In the future, when your children ask you, ‘What do these stones mean?’ 7 tell them that the flow of the Jordan was cut off before the ark of the covenant of the Lord. When it crossed the Jordan, the waters of the Jordan were cut off. These stones are to be a memorial to the people of Israel forever.”

    8 So the Israelites did as Joshua commanded them. They took twelve stones from the middle of the Jordan, according to the number of the tribes of the Israelites, as the Lord had told Joshua; and they carried them over with them to their camp, where they put them down. 9 Joshua set up the twelve stones that had been in the middle of the Jordan at the spot where the priests who carried the ark of the covenant had stood. And they are there to this day.

    10 Now the priests who carried the ark remained standing in the middle of the Jordan until everything the Lord had commanded Joshua was done by the people, just as Moses had directed Joshua. The people hurried over, 11 and as soon as all of them had crossed, the ark of the Lord and the priests came to the other side while the people watched. 12 The men of Reuben, Gad and the half-tribe of Manasseh crossed over, ready for battle, in front of the Israelites, as Moses had directed them. 13 About forty thousand armed for battle crossed over before the Lord to the plains of Jericho for war.

    14 That day the Lord exalted Joshua in the sight of all Israel; and they stood in awe of him all the days of his life, just as they had stood in awe of Moses.

    15 Then the Lord said to Joshua, 16 “Command the priests carrying the ark of the covenant law to come up out of the Jordan.”

    17 So Joshua commanded the priests, “Come up out of the Jordan.”

    18 And the priests came up out of the river carrying the ark of the covenant of the Lord. No sooner had they set their feet on the dry ground than the waters of the Jordan returned to their place and ran at flood stage as before.

    19 On the tenth day of the first month the people went up from the Jordan and camped at Gilgal on the eastern border of Jericho. 20 And Joshua set up at Gilgal the twelve stones they had taken out of the Jordan. 21 He said to the Israelites, “In the future when your descendants ask their parents, ‘What do these stones mean?’ 22 tell them, ‘Israel crossed the Jordan on dry ground.’ 23 For the Lord your God dried up the Jordan before you until you had crossed over. The Lord your God did to the Jordan what he had done to the Red Sea when he dried it up before us until we had crossed over. 24 He did this so that all the peoples of the earth might know that the hand of the Lord is powerful and so that you might always fear the Lord your God.”


    It’s important to find ways to keep things from being forgotten. Every Thanksgiving our children and their families come to our house for three days of keeping memories alive. During one of the meals, we always share what the past year has given us and what the next year has in store. Sometimes the sharing contains painful experiences or challenges. Other times the past, present and future are nothing but blessings. Always, we see God’s hand at work.

    In today’s Scripture, God wanted to make sure that the Israelites always remembered what He had done for them, and that He would be with them forever. The monument made of twelve stones ensured that the miraculous crossing of the Jordan would never be forgotten. Joshua told them, “These stones are to be a memorial to the people of Israel forever.”

    I have some memorial stones in my own life:

    • My three-acre homeplace, where I grew up from birth to college.
    • Industry Church, where Sunday School teachers shaped my childhood.
    • Gethsemane Church, where my faith took shape in my teen years.
    • Slater Hill at Purdue, where I received my call to ministry.
    • Cookson Hills in Oklahoma, where on four week-long mission trips I developed a heart for serving.
    • The apartment in Durham, North Carolina, where Lisa and I began our married life together.
    • Memories at each of our churches and homes, where we raised our family.
    • The tombstone of my dad and mom, who shaped my life in countless ways.

    What are some of the memorial stones in your life? How have they impacted you? What is one that you need to set up for what God is doing in your life today?


    Twelve Stones From The Jordan

    When crossing the river
    When sailing through storms
    When treading death’s valley
    When flesh presents thorn
    God’s grace all sufficient
    Will be there for you
    Twelve stones from the Jordan
    Reminder of truth
    How God gave you passage
    Death’s powers he killed
    His calming of windstorms
    His words, “Peace, be still!”
    His presence in shadows
    Of valleys you faced
    The thorns from the cursing
    His mercy, full grace
    So pick up the stones
    From the journey you made
    Remember God’s goodness
    From peril He saved
    They are ‘Ebenezer’
    “My God helped me here!”
    Twelve stones from your Jordan
    God’s sustenance clear

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