Hitler – Zionist or anti-Zionist?

Joshua 4: Those Twelve Stones

What legacy do I want to leave behind? This commentary on Joshua 4 by Matthew Henry helped me think more about that. At times I think I am so insignificant, what is the point? I don't want anyone to remember me. But, then I see these things that God has done in my life and I want them to be known so He may be known. For example, here is a picture of 2 of the 8 shelves of books I've accumulated over the years. I love these books. As I look at them I see this huge contrast with what they could have been. As a teenager I had three stacks of magazines – Science News, Scientific American, and Omni Magazine, a science fiction hall of fame book of short stories, and two books by Isaac Asimov, Understanding Physics and Life and Energy. It was a start, but it was a direction that I never continued. God set me off on a different path. All of those other books by now have been revised and updated and consequently become somewhat irrelevant as they have been replaced with new discoveries that reveal past ignorance. I'm glad such books don't clutter my shelves. I mean, do you want to read a biology book that is 50 years old? These that I show here are still mostly relevant and will be 50 years from now.

 Stones taken out of Jordan. (1-9)
 The people pass through Jordan. (10-19)
 The twelve stones placed in Gilgal. (20-24)

Joshua 4:1-9 Now when all the nation had finished crossing the Jordan, the Lord spoke to Joshua, saying, 2 “Take for yourselves twelve men from the people, one man from each tribe, 3 and command them, saying, ‘Take up for yourselves twelve stones from here out of the middle of the Jordan, from the place where the priests’ feet are standing firm, and carry them over with you and lay them down in the lodging place where you will lodge tonight.'” 4 So Joshua called the twelve men whom he had appointed from the sons of Israel, one man from each tribe; 5 and Joshua said to them, “Cross again to the ark of the Lord your God into the middle of the Jordan, and each of you take up a stone on his shoulder, according to the number of the tribes of the sons of Israel. 6 “Let this be a sign among you, so that when your children ask later, saying, ‘What do these stones mean to you?’ 7 then you shall say to them, ‘Because the waters of the Jordan were cut off before the ark of the covenant of the Lord; when it crossed the Jordan, the waters of the Jordan were cut off.’ So these stones shall become a memorial to the sons of Israel forever.”

8 Thus the sons of Israel did as Joshua commanded, and took up twelve stones from the middle of the Jordan, just as the Lord spoke to Joshua, according to the number of the tribes of the sons of Israel; and they carried them over with them to the lodging place and put them down there. 9 Then Joshua set up twelve stones in the middle of the Jordan at the place where the feet of the priests who carried the ark of the covenant were standing, and they are there to this day.

The works of the Lord are so worthy of rememberance, and the heart of man is so prone to forget them, that various methods are needful to refresh our memories, for the glory of God, our advantage, and that of our children. God gave orders for preparing this memorial.

Joshua 4:10-19 For the priests who carried the ark were standing in the middle of the Jordan until everything was completed that the Lord had commanded Joshua to speak to the people, according to all that Moses had commanded Joshua. And the people hurried and crossed; 11 and when all the people had finished crossing, the ark of the Lord and the priests crossed before the people. 12 The sons of Reuben and the sons of Gad and the half-tribe of Manasseh crossed over in battle array before the sons of Israel, just as Moses had spoken to them; 13 about 40,000 equipped for war, crossed for battle before the Lord to the desert plains of Jericho.

14 On that day the Lord exalted Joshua in the sight of all Israel; so that they revered him, just as they had revered Moses all the days of his life.

15 Now the Lord said to Joshua, 16 “Command the priests who carry the ark of the testimony that they come up from the Jordan.” 17 So Joshua commanded the priests, saying, “Come up from the Jordan.” 18 It came about when the priests who carried the ark of the covenant of the Lord had come up from the middle of the Jordan, and the soles of the priests’ feet were lifted up to the dry ground, that the waters of the Jordan returned to their place, and went over all its banks as before.

19 Now the people came up from the Jordan on the tenth of the first month and camped at Gilgal on the eastern edge of Jericho.

The priests with the ark did not stir till ordered to move. Let none be weary of waiting, while they have the tokens of God’s presence with them, even the ark of the covenant, though it be in the depths of adversity. Notice is taken of the honour put upon Joshua. Those are feared in the best manner, and to the best purpose, who make it appear that God is with them, and that they set Him before them.

Joshua 4:20-24 Those twelve stones which they had taken from the Jordan, Joshua set up at Gilgal. 21 He said to the sons of Israel, “When your children ask their fathers in time to come, saying, ‘What are these stones?’ 22 then you shall inform your children, saying, ‘Israel crossed this Jordan on dry ground.’ 23 “For the Lord your God dried up the waters of the Jordan before you until you had crossed, just as the Lord your God had done to the Red Sea, which He dried up before us until we had crossed; 24 that all the peoples of the earth may know that the hand of the Lord is mighty, so that you may fear the Lord your God forever.”

It is the duty of parents to tell their children betimes of the words and works of God, that they may be trained up in the way they should go. In all the instruction parents give their children, they should teach them to fear God. Serious godliness is the best learning. Are we not called, as much as the Israelites, to praise the loving-kindness of our God? Shall we not raise a pillar to our God, who has brought us through dangers and distresses in so wonderful a way? For hitherto the Lord hath helped us, as much as he did his saints of old. How great the stupidity and ingratitude of men, who perceive not His hand, and will not acknowledge his goodness, in their frequent deliverances!

Questions & Notes

These questions are from The NIV Serendipity Bible.

A.For what five audiences was this dramatic miracle intended? (Josh 4:6-7, Josh 4:11, Josh 4:13, Josh 4:24, Josh 5:1)


B.Israel crossed the Jordan “on dry ground,” but armed for war, indicating that God delivers, but battles will follow. Are you battle-ready or battle-weary these days?
C.What one life-changing encounter with God will you be sure to tell your kids?
D.What “memorial” or other testimonial evidence would your co-workers, neighbors, or family come across which might prompt them to ask what God is doing in your life?
My Answers:
A. I'll let you discover that yourself.
B. Battle-ready. I feel I am always trying to get battle ready, but I have more to go. The terrain keeps changing.
C. I've shared my testimony of how I became a Christian numerous times. It's a great story for even me to remember! It reminds me how powerful God is.
D. I don't know how to answer that. Maybe my books? They do show the sort of stuff I am interested in.

Click on the “MHCC-Joshua” tag below to see all the posts in this series. To go to the start of this series click here.