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Remember the Past


Churches and workplaces often publicize their vision or plan for the future. And, as individuals, we are encouraged to be forward-thinking. Financial advisors and health care professionals remind us to live in a way now that will benefit us in years to come. But it is also important to consider our past.

After the entire nation passed through the rocky bed of the Jordan River and landed safely on the other side, the only thing that stood in the way of the land promised to them was an all-out war (3:17; 4:1). We can imagine the warriors sharpening their swords, tightening their belts, and strategizing their combat tactics with one another. However, before the Lord instructed them to move forward, He wanted them to take a step back and remember.

A leader was selected from each of the 12 tribes. They were told to go into the dried riverbed where the priests remained with the Ark of the Covenant, choose a large stone, and carry it back to the camp (v. 2). In Gilgal, Joshua built an altar to the Lord and declared that the stones would serve as a reminder for all the Israelites for generations to come (v. 7). When children would ask their parents the meaning and purpose of the stones, Joshua instructed them to pass on the miraculous story of their river crossing. They were to emphasize the presence of Yahweh as they stepped into their promised territory (vv. 21–24). Their mission was not only to occupy the Promised Land but also to remind their descendants that the Lord was and had been with them.

>> Is there something that can remind you of God’s guidance and grace in your life? Maybe it is a special necklace, a newly planted tree, a sticky note, or even a stone. Use this object as a reminder of what God has done in your life. One day, your grandkids might ask, “What does that mean?”

BY Chris Rappazini

Chris Rappazini is the associate professor and program head of the BA and MA in Pastoral Studies at Moody Bible Institute and Moody Theological Seminary. He is the vice president of the Evangelical Homiletics Society and previously served as the associate minister of preaching and teaching at Southside Christian Church in Spokane, Washington. Chris and his wife, Ashley, and their three children reside in Northwest Indiana.

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