Readings:  Joshua 4:1-24  and Acts 9:23-43

Joshua 4:19-24  The people came up out of the Jordan on the tenth day of the first month, and they encamped at Gilgal on the east border of Jericho. And those twelve stones, which they took out of the Jordan, Joshua set up at Gilgal. And he said to the people of Israel, “When your children ask their fathers in times to come, ‘What do these stones mean?’ then you shall let your children know, ‘Israel passed over this Jordan on dry ground.’ 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, 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.”

 

“What Do These Stones Mean”

I encourage you to read the whole chapter of Joshua 4. Here we find the second time God parts the waters for His Children to pass through on dry ground. The first time was when they were leaving slavery in Egypt and were being pursued by the Egyptian army. They passed through safely, while the Egyptians were drowned as the parted waters were again joined.

After wandering for forty years in the wilderness, now God’s people are entering into the Promised Land.  Even Moses, who had led them all those years, would not go in with them because he had disobeyed God’s command.  Joshua who, along with Caleb, returned from spying out Canaan with a favorable report, would lead them into their new home.

But there is the issue of the Jordan River before them. God instructs the priests to take the Ark of the Covenant into the middle of the river to allow the people to pass through on dry ground.  As the priests step into the waters, the waters part so that the people and the priests remain dry!

God also tells Joshua to have each of the leaders take a stone from the river where the priests stood. These twelve stones would become a memorial, a marker of the miracle God had performed for them.  I remember walking the path on Mackinac Island and seeing many markers piled along the way. Maybe your rocks are more figurative than literal, but we all pile up rocks. 

Markers are important for us too because they remind us of some of the miracles we have experienced. They may remind us of an event or someone special to us.

Think of all the pictures you have in your home. When you look at them what do you remember? Do you remember an occasion? Maybe you remember something special about the person. It is a reminder.

Now, look at the knickknacks you have. Do they remind you of a trip you took? You might think of the very day you bought the item.

Has anyone ever asked you about the picture or the knickknack? Did you take time to explain the importance of it to them? Were they more interested when you finished telling them than when you began? You have placed a marker, a monument, that allowed you to share! 

Look at the markers of faith you have in your life. Maybe you have piled up rocks to remind you of them. Maybe your marker is your well-used Bible sitting beside your chair or on a table in your house, visible for everyone who enters to see or it could be that you have a number of crosses or religious plaques that share your faith. Whatever it is, let your markers be a door that opens opportunity to others. When they see your stones piled up and ask about it, let them know of the love of Jesus in your life, and that it is available to them, too!

PRAYER: When people ask, O Lord, of the markers I have placed, let them serve as an opening to share the faith I have in You. Lead me to part my lips, even as You parted the waters, to fill those listening ears with words that will well up even to everlasting life. Save Your people and bless Your heritage as many call upon You. Let Your Word lead people to You and instill in them a faith that will never fail. Pile up the memories that point to Your goodness; through Jesus, our Lord. Amen.