“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, to 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.” Joshua 4:5-7
There are some events that can only be explained by God’s supernatural intervention. Many times God graciously smiles on us through less obvious providential dealings. His grace comes to us in daily provisions. But sometimes, his hand seems to reach down and touch a circumstance that reveals his power in an obvious way. These miracles build our faith and are meant to encourage us.
But then what? In the OT we read about a custom of raising up stones. These standing stones were to remind future generations of God’s supernatural intervention. As a people, we tend to be forgetful. One method for remembering is standing stones. There are a number of examples throughout the OT. Jacob set up stones after God appeared to him in a dream and reaffirmed his covenant with him (Genesis 35:14). Moses set up twelve standing stones at the bottom of Mount Sinai after the giving of the Ten Commandments (Exodus 24:2-4). Samuel raised a stone up after a particularly important victory (1 Samuel 7:12).
One of the most memorable marked events occurred when Joshua led the nation of Israel through the Jordan. To commemorate that event, Joshua was instructed to bring twelve stones from the bottom of the Jordan and stack them in the Promised Land. Even more fascinating is that there was to be matching stones piled up at the bottom of the Jordan also. They both stood as a witness to the miraculous intervention that had occurred there.
Similarly, there are times God acts supernaturally in our time. And when those divine interventions occur, we too need to take note of them and set forth some sort of visual marker. These markers will serve as visual reminders of God’s action on our behalf. They will help us have faith in times when we don’t sense God’s action. And they will enable our children to remember God’s time of miraculous intervention.
How will you set up standing stones that will remind you to tell your children or grandchildren the works of God you have seen? Individuals and families can set up standing stones any number of ways. Our family has used two methods: Christmas ornaments and a list in my Bible. We have taken a picture of the particular miraculous intervention and made a Christmas ornament out of it. The helps us retell the miracles every Christmas. The list in my Bible is my personal list of faith-building miracles.
So, let us celebrate this provision with a standing stone to remind us of God provision. And let us notice other provisions that we might encourage the faith of our children and grandchildren.
What about you? How might you set up standing stones that build your faith, reminding you and your family of God’s provision?