1-3 When all the people had crossed the Jordan, the Lord said to Joshua, “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.’”
19-24 The people crossed the Jordan on the tenth day of the first month.Then they camped at Gilgal, just east of Jericho. It was there at Gilgal that Joshua piled up the twelve stones taken from the Jordan River.
Then Joshua said to the Israelites, “In the future your children will ask, ‘What do these stones mean?’ Then you can tell them, ‘This is where the Israelites crossed the Jordan on dry ground.’ 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. He did this so all the nations of the earth might know that the Lord’s hand is powerful, and so you might fear the Lord your God forever.”
This passage of Scripture marks the very moment the Israelites stepped into the land that God had promised would be theirs. I imagine that the excitement of the day and the anticipation of what was to come was pretty palpable in the air on the banks of the Jordan and at camp that night. All the excitement and joy of finally arriving in the promised land could make a person lose sight of how they had gotten there in the first place. So, God wanted to make sure they marked the occasion – quite literally – with some stones. Twelve to be exact. One for each tribe of Israel, to remind them that God had shown his power in mighty ways to get them to where they were…to mark the journey and God’s faithfulness along the way.
I am sure that as you look back, you can recall moments in your own life that are marked by the movement of God in mighty ways and that display His faithfulness. They might not be marked by literal stones, but they are marked in our hearts and our memories as milestones in our lives. Those stones were a good reminder for the Israelites of God’s faithfulness each time they saw them and it gave them a place to teach the next generation about God’s faithfulness. This week, as we explore some personal milestones in our devotions, our prayer is that you will spend time looking back at your own “stones,” remembering all that God has done in your life. Take the time to thank God for those moments and then share them with someone else, passing on how faithful God has been to you.