The Memorial Stone of Victory (Joshua 4:1-24)
by Rev. White Young Jeon
2014,2.16 Lord’s day Worship
1When the whole nation had finished crossing the Jordan, the Lord said to Joshua, 2“Choose twelve men from among the people, one from each tribe, 3and tell them to take up twelve stones from the middle of the Jordan, from right where the priests are standing, and carry them over with you and put them down at the place where you stay tonight.”
4So Joshua called together the twelve men he had appointed from the Israelites, one from each tribe, 5and 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, 6to serve as a sign among you. In the future, when your children ask you, ‘What do these stones mean?’ 7tell 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.”
8So the Israelites did as Joshua commanded them. They took twelve stones from the middle of the Jordan, according to the number of the tribes of the Israelites, as the Lord had told Joshua; and they carried them over with them to their camp, where they put them down. 9Joshua set up the twelve stones that had beena in the middle of the Jordan at the spot where the priests who carried the ark of the covenant had stood. And they are there to this day.
10Now the priests who carried the ark remained standing in the middle of the Jordan until everything the Lord had commanded Joshua was done by the people, just as Moses had directed Joshua. The people hurried over, 11and as soon as all of them had crossed, the ark of the Lord and the priests came to the other side while the people watched. 12The men of Reuben, Gad and the half-tribe of Manasseh crossed over, ready for battle, in front of the Israelites, as Moses had directed them. 13About forty thousand armed for battle crossed over before the Lord to the plains of Jericho for war.
14That day the Lord exalted Joshua in the sight of all Israel; and they stood in awe of him all the days of his life, just as they had stood in awe of Moses.
17So Joshua commanded the priests, “Come up out of the Jordan.”
18And the priests came up out of the river carrying the ark of the covenant of the Lord. No sooner had they set their feet on the dry ground than the waters of the Jordan returned to their place and ran at flood stage as before.
19On the tenth day of the first month the people went up from the Jordan and camped at Gilgal on the eastern border of Jericho. 20And Joshua set up at Gilgal the twelve stones they had taken out of the Jordan. 21He said to the Israelites, “In the future when your descendants ask their parents, ‘What do these stones mean?’ 22tell them, ‘Israel crossed the Jordan on dry ground.’ 23For the Lord your God dried up the Jordan before you until you had crossed over. The Lord your God did to the Jordan what he had done to the Red Seab when he dried it up before us until we had crossed over. 24He did this so that all the peoples of the earth might know that the hand of the Lord is powerful and so that you might always fear the Lord your God.”
1)God pleased that the children of Israel keep the command of the Lord by establishing the memorial stone at Gilgal. Verses 5-7 say “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, 6to serve as a sign among you. In the future, when your children ask you, ‘What do these stones mean?’ 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.”
2)What should they hand down to their children?
First, they should teach that the victory comes out of only following God’s guide.
1)Verse 7 says “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.” Crossing of the Red Sea means the salvation out of sins and the justification but crossing of Jordan river means sanctification that is, the growth towards the salvation. As they crossed over the river Jordan, they needed to deny the self and to bear their cross. Now God command that they build the memorial stones in order to teach that the victory way is to follow the guidance of the Lord.
In the Christian life to obey the word of God is the essential of all victories. What is the victory? it is the accomplishment of God’s will, God’s purpose and God’s plan. Through remembering the great picture of crossing the Jordan river God reveals the methodology of spiritual victory in the earth. The victory comes out of the almighty God and the obedience is the channel of God’s victory.
It is very simple to obey the word of God but it is the only way to get the glorious victory.
Ex: In the event of crossing red sea, what is the method of salvation for Israel? It must be the obedience. Then God commanded that they should walk toward the dry land in the sea. They could walk in the water on the way God provided for them. But in the text God commanded that as they walked on the water the way was made automatically. When the ark of covenant will be approached on the water, the Jordan river was cut off. When we follow the word of God we can meet to cut off the problems as Israel did at the Jordan river. What did they do? It was to follow the Ark of covenant. To follow the ark points the obedience of the Word of God.
As we know, when we serve the Lord in our ministry, it is very important to obey his words in our lives. The king Saul was failed because of his small obedience in his life. One day the Lord commanded him to kill every enemies before God. But he hated to obey them completely. He left many cattle and few leaders for his covet. Then Samuel rebuked him to teach that the obedience is better than the offering. Only the obedience is able to sustain the continuous victory in the ministry.
Such thing reveals in the ministry of the Lord repeatedly. The obedience is the channel of the miracle. In Jn 2:1-10 we can find that the obedience of the servants made the wonderful thing in the event. They who obeyed the command of the Lord, can know the wonderful sign in his ministry.
Such fact reveals in our daily lives. What is the normal Christian life? The obedience is the main point of Christian life that was based on the authority of the word of God.
How can we obey the Word of God in our lives? We can get the answers out of the Scripture. We must admit the authority of the Word. We have to understand it. We should endure to keep the Word of God. What is the main cause of disobedience? It is the pleasure. According to Mt 13: , the good soil is to receive the word of God and to keep it and endure to product the fruit.
Second, they should teach to believe on Almighty God.
- Opening the water and closing the water was executed by God not by their craft skill, only they should obey the command of God. (18) “And the priests came up out of the river carrying the ark of the covenant of the Lord. No sooner had they set their feet on the dry ground than the waters of the Jordan returned to their place and ran at flood stage as before.”
- According to moving of the ark of covenant the miraculous stream was flown in the situation. It means that the Almighty God could do that. Who is the Lord of Israel? He is the creator, the provider and the redeemer for his people. Above of all, they and their children need to learn the knowledge of God fully. This is the foundation of their lives and their ministry. Actually the true knowledge of God must be the character of eternal life.(Jn17:3) In fact, we grow up in knowing God, in the knowledge of the abundant life. So if any body abide in grace, he shall understand living God deeply. He shall enjoy his love, his faithfulness, his mercy and his righteousness in his heart.
When we started our regeneration, as Peter confessed that you are Christ as well as the son of living God, we know God progressively in the illumination of Holy Spirit. So Paul asked for Ephesian church “ give them the spirit of revelation to know God.” The knowledge of God is the purpose of our salvation.
In our Christian life we have to pursue to know God. Why? Because it is the way to enjoy the eternal life and to imitate the image of God, righteousness, mercy and faithfulness.
In fact, we find that every pictorial revelation appeared by the mode of event focuses on the knowledge of God. For example, what is the focus(purpose) of the event that changed the water into the wine? John 2:11 says “This, the first of his signs, Jesus did at Cana in Galilee, and manifested his glory. And his disciples believed in him.“ What does it mean? It means that it reveals to know Christ as son of God. Then his disciples believe on him.
As the same stream the text focused on not the salvation or, some special event but on the knowledge of God.
So Exodus 15 :1-3 says “1Then Moses and the people of Israel sang this song to the Lord, saying,“I will sing to the Lord, for he has triumphed gloriously; the horse and his ridera he has thrown into the sea. 2The Lord is my strength and my song, and he has become my salvation; this is my God, and I will praise him, my father’s God, and I will exalt him. 3The Lord is a man of war; the Lord is his name.”
The passage points to the importance of God’s knowledge. The event, crossing the red sea proves that the Lord is almighty God. As we know, Joshua proclaimed that I and my family shall serve Jehovah continuously. And he compelled that you have to choose your worshipping object.
In Cambodia we have to know our worshipping object , almighty God very well by accepting the revelation of Scripture and should hand down the knowledge to the children to glorify God. Do you believe in it?
Third, they should keep the fear of the Lord eternally.
It is important to know God’s lead and His omnipotence but it is more important to take the fear of the Lord. (24) “He did this so that all the peoples of the earth might know that the hand of the Lord is powerful and so that you might always fear the Lord your God.”
To have the fear of the Lord is the purpose of our work.(Philiph2:12-13) “12Therefore, my beloved, as you have always obeyed, so now, not only as in my presence but much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling, 13for it is God who works in you, both to will and to work for his good pleasure. “ This is the core of our knowledge, our wisdom, our activities and our all thinking. Proverb 1:7 says “the fear of the Lord is the foundation of wisdom, knowledge and insight.” Actually it is the meaning of the faith in the New Testament. The belief should reveal the fear of the Lord. Of course, the fear is compounded by the affection and trembling. If we have the fear in our heart, it proves the eternal life in our heart. So we are not devouring greedy people but sincere people in our live that completed our salvation with the fear and the trembling. This is the way of the eternal life. The false way despises the spiritual tension. According to II Corinthian 7:9-13 says “9As it is, I rejoice, not because you were grieved, but because you were grieved into repenting. For you felt a godly grief, so that you suffered no loss through us. 10For godly grief produces a repentance that leads to salvation without regret, whereas worldly grief produces death. 11For see what earnestness this godly grief has produced in you, but also what eagerness to clear yourselves, what indignation, what fear, what longing, what zeal, what punishment! At every point you have proved yourselves innocent in the matter.
Here are two kinds of anxiety. The First is worldly anxiety, and the second is the spiritual anxiety. How can we discern the fact? The criteria is the true fear. spiritual tension. What is the purpose of the children education? It is to make them to live the righteousness and justice.
What is the Christian education? It aims on the fear of God. that consisted of righteousness and justice as Abraham did in Genesis. (Gen 18:19).
Why do we teach the word of God, the Scripture? Only the Scripture reveal the God and the character, rigorousness, justice and love to us. In fact the Scripture is the method of grace and the purpose of grace. Why did the Lord stress the self denial and cross bearing in Christian life? through these things we can get the grace of righteousness and justice.
(1) In Cambiodian Christian ministry, we should think of three elements of the Christian education. We have to learn the obedience, the knowledge of God and we have to have the fear of God and transfer these things to our children as Timothy did it. II Timothy 1:4-5 says “As I remember your tears, I long to see you, that I may be filled with joy. 5I am reminded of your sincere faith, a faith that dwelt first in your grandmother Lois and your mother Eunice and now, I am sure, dwells in you as well. 6 “ one grand mom had true faith and was transferred to his daughter, later it was handed down to Timothy. Our contemporary church needs to hand out such stream to our children.
(2) May the grace of God be with you all.