Joshua 4:1 - 10
1 When all the nation had finished passing over the Jordan, the LORD said to Joshua2 “Take twelve men from the people, from each tribe a man3 and command them, saying, ‘Take twelve stones from here out of the midst of the Jordan, from the very place where the priests’ feet stood firmly, and bring them over with you and lay them down in the place where you lodge tonight.’”4 Then Joshua called the twelve men from the people of Israel, whom he had appointed, a man from each tribe.5 And Joshua said to them, “Pass on before the ark of the LORD your God into the midst of the Jordan, and take up each of you a stone upon his shoulder, according to the number of the tribes of the people of Israel6 that this may be a sign among you. When your children ask in time to come, ‘What do those stones mean to you?’7 then you shall tell them that the waters of the Jordan were cut off before the ark of the covenant of the LORD. When it passed over the Jordan, the waters of the Jordan were cut off. So these stones shall be to the people of Israel a memorial forever.”8 And the people of Israel did just as Joshua commanded and took up twelve stones out of the midst of the Jordan, according to the number of the tribes of the people of Israel, just as the LORD told Joshua. And they carried them over with them to the place where they lodged and laid them down there.9 And Joshua set up twelve stones in the midst of the Jordan, in the place where the feet of the priests bearing the ark of the covenant had stood; and they are there to this day.10 For the priests bearing the ark stood in the midst of the Jordan until everything was finished that the LORD commanded Joshua to tell the people, according to all that Moses had commanded Joshua. The people passed over in haste.
Moses has died, and Joshua is now in charge. It’s been 40 years since they had the opportunity to cross over into the Promised Land, and the day is finally here.
It’s going to be a miraculous crossing. The priest and the ark were to walk down in the river, and the water was to stop flowing. All the people would then cross over on a dry river bed.
1. You leave a legacy by following.
Joshua 3 3 Then Joshua rose early in the morning and they set out from Shittim. And they came to the Jordan, he and all the people of Israel, and lodged there before they passed over. 2 At the end of three days the officers went through the camp 3 and commanded the people, “As soon as you see the ark of the covenant of the Lord your God being carried by the Levitical priests, then you shall set out from your place and follow it. 4 Yet there shall be a distance between you and it, about 2,000 cubits in length. Do not come near it, in order that you may know the way you shall go, for you have not passed this way before.” 5 Then Joshua said to the people, “Consecrate yourselves, for tomorrow the Lord will do wonders among you.” 6 And Joshua said to the priests, “Take up the ark of the covenant and pass on before the people.” So they took up the ark of the covenant and went before the people.
Joshua followed God, the priest followed Joshua, the people followed the priest and the stones were set up. They were to follow 1000 yards behind because they didn’t know where they were going.
No matter how big we get, we can never stop following. The miracle never happens because we can run out front in our own strength - it happens because we follow the One who does the miracles. The best legacy we could leave others is for them to see us following. In all of Psalm 23, David is following!
2. Someone has to step in the water.
Joshua 3: 14 So when the people set out from their tents to pass over the Jordan with the priests bearing the ark of the covenant before the people, 15 and as soon as those bearing the ark had come as far as the Jordan, and the feet of the priests bearing the ark were dipped in the brink of the water (now the Jordan overflows all its banks throughout the time of harvest), 16 the waters coming down from above stood and rose up in a heap very far away, at Adam, the city that is beside Zarethan, and those flowing down toward the Sea of the Arabah, the Salt Sea, were completely cut off. And the people passed over opposite Jericho. 17 Now the priests bearing the ark of the covenant of the Lord stood firmly on dry ground in the midst of the Jordan, and all Israel was passing over on dry ground until all the nation finished passing over the Jordan.
God prepares the circumstances, and faith completes the circuit. Someone has to carry the ark, someone has to walk across, someone has to pray, someone has to believe, someone has to give, someone has to forgive, someone has to forget.
The story we are telling is how God provided the miracle, and we trusted the miracle.
Joshua 4:10-11 The people passed over in haste. 11 And when all the people had finished passing over, the ark of the Lord and the priests passed over before the people.
Stop wondering if it is really a miracle and get across the river. Don’t committee the miracle to death. MOVE! Too many people stand at the brink of a miracle and lose the moment. Legacies are built by crossing when the river is stopped up.
Mark 6:7 And he called the twelve and began to send them out two by two, and gave them authority over the unclean spirits. 8 He charged them to take nothing for their journey except a staff—no bread, no bag, no money in their belts— 9 but to wear sandals and not put on two tunics. 10 And he said to them, “Whenever you enter a house, stay there until you depart from there. 11 And if any place will not receive you and they will not listen to you, when you leave, shake off the dust that is on your feet as a testimony against them.” 12 So they went out and proclaimed that people should repent. 13 And they cast out many demons and anointed with oil many who were sick and healed them.
When Jesus sent out the 12, they just went. Jesus empowered for a miracle, and the disciples witnessed the miracle by faith.
3. God will do the miracle - you decide whether it gets remembered.
Stack the stones where they should not be. These were river stones that they were carrying on their shoulders up out of the bottom of the river to dry land. They were not just rocks; they were out of place.
As followers of Christ, we should be ensuring that the story of faith never dies. We should be remembering the right things. Don’t make the mistake of just remembering that you were there; make sure you remember what God did.
Regular stones tell the story that you passed through this area, river stones let everyone know you were at the bottom of the river.
Deuteronomy 6:4 “Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. 5 You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might. 6 And these words that I command you today shall be on your heart. 7 You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise. 8 You shall bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be as frontlets between your eyes. 9 You shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates. 10 “And when the Lord your God brings you into the land that he swore to your fathers, to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob, to give you—with great and good cities that you did not build, 11 and houses full of all good things that you did not fill, and cisterns that you did not dig, and vineyards and olive trees that you did not plant—and when you eat and are full, 12 then take care lest you forget the Lord, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of slavery.
1. What stood out to you most from this week’s message?
2. What is a time you have gotten frustrated while following someone else’s lead? What made it difficult?
3. How does distance help us see a situation better?
4. Why is it difficult to be the first one to step in the water (take an action in faith before anyone else does)?
5. When is a time that God brought you to a situation and you saw him do something amazing AFTER you took the first step?
6. When is a time you felt God telling you to do something that you talked yourself out of? What have you learned since then?
7. How do we shift focus from just having been through something to remembering what God did with it?
8. What are some memorials in your life about what God has done for you?
9. What can our memorials mean for others?
10. What would you like to differently because of this week’s message?