In our world, there are many monuments made to remember the accomplishments of man. There are far fewer which are established to remember the glory of what YHWH has done. As we build monuments and tell tales to our children to remember what has happened in the past of significance, let our focus on the role and glory of YHWH rather than that of men “so that you may fear the LORD your God forever.”
Memorial Stones from Jordan
1Now when all the nation had finished crossing the Jordan, the LORD spoke to Joshua, saying, 2“Take for yourselves twelve men from the people, one man from each tribe, 3and command them, saying, ‘Take up for yourselves twelve stones from here out of the middle of the Jordan, from the place where the priests’ feet are standing firm, and carry them over with you and lay them down in the lodging place where you will lodge tonight.’” 4So Joshua called the twelve men whom he had appointed from the sons of Israel, one man from each tribe; 5and Joshua said to them, “Cross again to the ark of the LORD your God into the middle of the Jordan, and each of you take up a stone on his shoulder, according to the number of the tribes of the sons of Israel. 6“Let this be a sign among you, so that when your children ask later, saying, ‘What do these stones mean to you?’ 7then you shall say to them, ‘Because the waters of the Jordan were cut off before the ark of the covenant of the LORD; when it crossed the Jordan, the waters of the Jordan were cut off.’ So these stones shall become a memorial to the sons of Israel forever.”
8Thus the sons of Israel did as Joshua commanded, and took up twelve stones from the middle of the Jordan, just as the LORD spoke to Joshua, according to the number of the tribes of the sons of Israel; and they carried them over with them to the lodging place and put them down there. 9Then Joshua set up twelve stones in the middle of the Jordan at the place where the feet of the priests who carried the ark of the covenant were standing, and they are there to this day. 10For the priests who carried the ark were standing in the middle of the Jordan until everything was completed that the LORD had commanded Joshua to speak to the people, according to all that Moses had commanded Joshua. And the people hurried and crossed; 11and when all the people had finished crossing, the ark of the LORD and the priests crossed before the people. 12The sons of Reuben and the sons of Gad and the half-tribe of Manasseh crossed over in battle array before the sons of Israel, just as Moses had spoken to them; 13about 40,000 equipped for war, crossed for battle before the LORD to the desert plains of Jericho.
14On that day the LORD exalted Joshua in the sight of all Israel; so that they revered him, just as they had revered Moses all the days of his life.
15Now the LORD said to Joshua, 16“Command the priests who carry the ark of the testimony that they come up from the Jordan.” 17So Joshua commanded the priests, saying, “Come up from the Jordan.” 18It came about when the priests who carried the ark of the covenant of the LORD had come up from the middle of the Jordan, and the soles of the priests’ feet were lifted up to the dry ground, that the waters of the Jordan returned to their place, and went over all its banks as before.
19Now the people came up from the Jordan on the tenth of the first month and camped at Gilgal on the eastern edge of Jericho. 20Those twelve stones which they had taken from the Jordan, Joshua set up at Gilgal. 21He said to the sons of Israel, “When your children ask their fathers in time to come, saying, ‘What are these stones?’ 22then you shall inform your children, saying, ‘Israel crossed this Jordan on dry ground.’ 23“For the LORD your God dried up the waters of the Jordan before you until you had crossed, just as the LORD your God had done to the Red Sea, which He dried up before us until we had crossed; 24that all the peoples of the earth may know that the hand of the LORD is mighty, so that you may fear the LORD your God forever.”
Many today take exception to “fearing” YHWH. But we should be careful to take heed to the written word. The Hebrew root word for fear used here refers to fear, to respect, to reverence. This is used often in referring to YHWH. One such well known usage is in Proverbs 1.
7The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge;
Fools despise wisdom and instruction.
We need not fear Him as some unpredictable dictator, but rather as in a strong Father and leader, who will discipline those whom He loves and those who rebel against Him, for the benefit of His people. A healthy and appropriate fear of YHWH helps us to believe and live morally, according to His instruction rather than the ways of man.
I can well imagine today, if this miracle of crossing the Jordan had been accomplished people may well make a monument to Joshua, but not to YHWH. Let us not remember history only from the perspective of what man has done, but rather let us remember history from the perspective of what YHWH has done and is doing!
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