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.”
The Israelites had passed 40 years in the wilderness. The generation that had followed Moses out of Egypt was gone and the next generation was ready to enter the Promised Land. Joshua led them to the banks of the Jordan River, but the river was in flood. God spoke to Joshua and told them what to do: “Tell the priests who carry the ark of the covenant: ‘When you reach the edge of the Jordan’s waters, go and stand in the river.’” (Joshua 3: 8)
As soon as priest’ feet touched the waters of the river, the water from upstream stopped flowing so that the people could cross over. And when the people were on the other side, the river started flowing again.
God told the Israelites how to remember this miracle. They were to gather 12 stones from the river bed and keep them as a memorial. And He told them that when their children ask what the stones meant, they were to teach them what God had done.
As the Israelites kept 12 stones, we Christians keep the cross. The Israelites remember being separated from the Promised Land by a river in flood, but we Christians remember being separated from God by the slavery of sin. God made a way for them to pass over an impassible barrier, and God made a way for us to pass over to Him. As the Israelites could point to the stones and say what God had done for them, we point to the cross and say what Christ had done for us.
No matter how great the miracle, things seem to return to normal. The river flowed again as though it had never stopped. Jerusalem continued as though there was no empty tomb. And our lives might seem to continue as before. However, like the Israelites, we are no longer the same. Before they had been on one side of the river, and now they were on the opposite side. Before we had been separated from God, but now we are His. But we must remember the cross.
Have you forgotten:
– What your life was like before you accepted Christ?
– What God did for you and how much He has changed you?
– The cross and the price that Jesus paid?
Ask God to help you remember and feel gratitude in your heart for all that He has done.