The Israelites had been in the desert for 40 years and now the time had come time to leave the desert and go to the promise. A land that had been promised to them, promised to their parents or grandparents whose lack of belief caused them to die in the desert but these, they were about to cross over.
The Jordan River separated them from their new home. Where they could finally reach the place they had dreamed about and what seemed to be the finish line. As I try to place myself this morning, I imagine my husband being Joshua…(wink) and he is telling me to prepare our family to cross the river, but also knowing that the land promised to us was currently being inhabited by others, I would be so tired and weary. I would have been a little frustrated with God…”really, after all this time here we can’t just cross over and settle my family? My husband has to go to war over the land that is ours? Haven’t we endured enough? Why must we fight for what you said was ours?”
But what choice would I have but to trust this God who had kept us and follow the leading of my husband, who I know has heard from Him.
As I read this with my Joshua this morning this particular part of the story spoke to both of us very differently but so beautifully together.
Forty thousand! Forty thousand people (families) were to cross over. So I can imagine the chaos of what was going on in the moment. They had heard the stories of their ancestors crossing dry land on the Red Sea but I would be hiding my fear, because that does seem a little crazy. Packing up my belongings and my children to cross with another 40,000 people…I mean crazy. So when the Lord commanded of Joshua to pick up 12 stones from the middle of the Jordan, I would have thought…Lord that is so trivial. My husband needs to help me carry our children across, or carry my loads, but then he has to stop and pick up a large stone?
I am always focusing on the battle and what we need to do to conquer the battle. As in I see our adoption as a battle, I see our time here in Uganda working in ministry, there are battles in fighting for your marriage, there are battles within our immediate family. Battles doesn’t necessarily mean that things are going wrong but it means that because Jesus is trying to move Satan is attacking and you have to go in and face it as a battle. I don’t take the time to stop in my day and pick up a stone to mark the faithfulness of God even in the midst of the battle or the preparing.
What is your battle you are fighting or see in the near future and you are busy preparing for it? In the midst of it all are you picking up stones of remembrance for every act of faithfulness of Him? Are you sharing it with your children and can they see that we are looking each day for His faithfulness and we make it a priority to look for stones rather than fighting the battle.
The Lord also gave instructions after the obedience of the people. He didn’t give all the instructions at once. He didn’t say you are going to cross the river, pick 12 stones, place them on the altar where you sleep, go to the city of Jericho and then march around it. No. He gave the instructions one at a time. One step in front of the other.
Once He saw the obedience, He gave the next instruction. In the middle of it I want scream because I want to get all the instructions at once and then I can go fast and try to hurry to the result. But Jesus knew. He knew that His people including myself needed one instruction at a time. In this moment, I want all of my instructions but as my husband was so faithful to point out this morning, He has given us one right now. After that He will give another, until the walls of Jericho fall down and we live in the place He has called us to.
What battles are you facing today that you are wanting to know how to strategically fight? Is it addiction, your marriage, your business, an adoption? We want to get to the end but as we see in Joshua, His people took one instruction at a time and He instructed them to pick up stones to declare His faithfulness. I need to stop and look around to see if there is someone in my path that He wants me to minister to, give myself to, or serve to move to the next instruction? And lay a stone.
Then when the battle is won we have a stone for each way He provided for the victory and what brought the white flag. We sit and tell our children of each stone and we raise a generation that knows going into battle to look for stones.
“So the Israelites did as Joshua commanded them. They took twelve stones from the middle of the Jordan according to the tribes of the Israelites, as the Lord had told Joshua; and they carried them over with them to the camp, where they put them down. And they are there even to this day.”