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Essential Weekly – Joshua 4

As we begin to discuss Joshua 4 this week, I’d love to begin with prayer.

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Pray with me,

Lord, I come to you with an open heart and an open mind. I confess the ways I’ve sinned again you and pray that you help me to turn away from the ways I’ve fallen short. Pour out your spirit on me today and help me to hear the things that you want me to hear as I study your word. Thank you for your sovereignty and grace, Father.

Amen.

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Joshua 4 begins in the midst of action. The entire nation of Israel had just crossed the Jordan River, which was parted by the Lord. Joshua waits to hear from God before going forward to which God gives him a unique command, “Choose twelve men from among the people, one from each tribe, and 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.” (Joshua 4:2-3 NIV)

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Can you imagine how confused the priests probably were? They had stood in the Jordan River holding the ark of the covenant for most likely hours while the nation of Israel passed them by and now Joshua wanted to get some rocks from where they were standing? I think if I were them, I would have felt a bit impatient with God.

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However, they continued to stand as Joshua carried out the word of God.

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I love how patiently and obediently that Joshua waits for and follows the will of God. How often do we truly wait to move until God beckons us to do so? We are so focused on the step ahead of us that we forget to ask God whether it’s the right one. Yet each of us can look to Joshua as an inspiring model of leadership.

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The most beautiful part of this story is why the Lord wanted Joshua to take these rocks with him; they were to act as a memorial for all Israelites to remember what the Lord did for them.

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“Tell them, ‘Israel crossed the Jordan on dry ground.’ For 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 Sea when he dried it up before us until we had crossed over. 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.” (Joshua 4:22-24 NIV)

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The power of the stones is that they could act as a precious reminder of the goodness of God. God knew that discouragement would occur. He knew that the Israelites would face trouble and temptation. He knew that darkness would fall upon them at some point.

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So, God commanded them to make a memorial that could remind them of the past to encourage them for the future.

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So, my question for you today is, what is a battle the Lord has brought you through? What is a miracle that He performed in your life? When did you know God was real? When were you saved?

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How often do you truly think back on this moment to remember God’s goodness, His grace, & His power?

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If you’re anything like me, chances are that when the storms happen, you forget the storms that God has brought you through before. It’s a blind spot that we all occasionally fall into, just as God knew the Israelites would too.

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However, this is the very reason we must remember to celebrate these wonderful moments where God showed up for us and showered us with compassion.

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How can you create a memorial today? Maybe it’s a painting or a song. Maybe it’s a note on your mirror or a letter to yourself. Maybe it’s as simple as a rock or as big as an annual day of praise. Whatever it could be, pray that the Lord reveals to you how He wants you to remember what He’s done.

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Lastly, if you feel like God hasn’t done anything significant enough to remember in your life, please note that the greatest thing He could have done for you is paying the price of your sin on the cross.

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“And he took bread, gave thanks and broke it, and gave it to them, saying, ‘This is my body given for you; do this in remembrance of me.’” (Luke 22:19 NIV)