(Stones from the bottom of the Red Sea used to build an altar to the Lord as the Israelites enter the Promised Land!)
Joshua 4:24 That all the people of the earth might KNOW the hand of the LORD, that it is mighty, that ye may fear the LORD your God forever.
Joshua 24:14 Now therefore fear the LORD and serve Him in sincerity and in truth and put away the gods which your fathers served on the other side of the flood and in Egypt and serve ye the LORD.
From the crossing of the Jordan River into the Promised Land until Joshua is saying his final good-byes, Joshua’s focus was the LORD and serving Him through leading the Israelites and teaching the precepts God had set out in His commandments.
Twice the children of Israel have passed through the waters: once coming out of Egypt they crossed the Red Sea and once entering the Promised Land by crossing the Jordan River. Each time, on the “other side” they built an altar and worshipped the LORD who had miraculously provided a path through the waters. Passing through the water is a symbol of dying to an old way of life, dying to self and entering a new life of following God. A baptism.
The Israelites have witnessed many miracles. Miracles have a purpose: To melt hearts, to destroy our independent spirit, and focus our attention on God and who He is. Follow God and miracles happen. The biggest miracle is a changed heart. It is not the miracle we chase, it is God we pursue. The officer and gentleman as he fought for his life, a healing from the cancer, he often said, “To those who believe no miracle is necessary, to those who doubt, no miracle is sufficient.”
Joshua understood this too. In His farewell address, Joshua recounts the works of GOD! Not his personal accomplishments, but what his God has done. Joshua is thankful for what the Lord has done and tells his people this is why they should fear the Lord, serve the Lord, and follow the truth of the Lord. Joshua follows this with his most famous saying: “Choose you this day whom ye shall serve, but as for me and my house we will serve the LORD.”
We all choose–must choose–and to not choose is to make a choice. Choices have consequences which are both immediate and eternal.
Like Joshua and the Israelites, we too need to build memorials to the LORD. Visual reminders of what the LORD has done to be used as both a teaching tool to those who come after us and physical points of reference to the goodness of God for all. (We all are just as short on memory as the Israelites!)
What has the Lord done for you? Have you built a memorial to Him? Have you retold your story to others that they might be encouraged and KNOW the hand of the LORD? Are you choosing and pursuing the LORD? These are questions to seriously consider as we evaluate our relationship to the Lord and ask ourselves if we really do stand in awe and reverence. We cannot serve two masters. (Matthew 6:24)