Joshua 4 & Psalms 129-131

Joshua 4

    When all the nation had finished passing over the Jordan, the LORD said to Joshua, “Take twelve men from the people, from each tribe a man, and command them, saying, ‘Take twelve stones from here out of the midst of the Jordan, from the very place where the priests' feet stood firmly, and bring them over with you and lay them down in the place where you lodge tonight.’” Then Joshua called the twelve men from the people of Israel, whom he had appointed, a man from each tribe. And Joshua said to them, “Pass on before the ark of the LORD your God into the midst of the Jordan, and take up each of you a stone upon his shoulder, according to the number of the tribes of the people of Israel, that this may be a sign among you. When your children ask in time to come, ‘What do those stones mean to you?’ then you shall tell them that the waters of the Jordan were cut off before the ark of the covenant of the LORD. When it passed over the Jordan, the waters of the Jordan were cut off. So these stones shall be to the people of Israel a memorial forever.”

    And the people of Israel did just as Joshua commanded and took up twelve stones out of the midst of the Jordan, according to the number of the tribes of the people of Israel, just as the LORD told Joshua. And they carried them over with them to the place where they lodged and laid them down there. And Joshua set up twelve stones in the midst of the Jordan, in the place where the feet of the priests bearing the ark of the covenant had stood; and they are there to this day. For the priests bearing the ark stood in the midst of the Jordan until everything was finished that the LORD commanded Joshua to tell the people, according to all that Moses had commanded Joshua.

    The people passed over in haste. And when all the people had finished passing over, the ark of the LORD and the priests passed over before the people. The sons of Reuben and the sons of Gad and the half-tribe of Manasseh passed over armed before the people of Israel, as Moses had told them. About 40,000 ready for war passed over before the LORD for battle, to the plains of Jericho. On that day the LORD exalted Joshua in the sight of all Israel, and they stood in awe of him just as they had stood in awe of Moses, all the days of his life.

    And the LORD said to Joshua, “Command the priests bearing the ark of the testimony to come up out of the Jordan.” So Joshua commanded the priests, “Come up out of the Jordan.” And when the priests bearing the ark of the covenant of the LORD came up from the midst of the Jordan, and the soles of the priests' feet were lifted up on dry ground, the waters of the Jordan returned to their place and overflowed all its banks, as before.

    The people came up out of the Jordan on the tenth day of the first month, and they encamped at Gilgal on the east border of Jericho. And those twelve stones, which they took out of the Jordan, Joshua set up at Gilgal. And he said to the people of Israel, “When your children ask their fathers in times to come, ‘What do these stones mean?’ then you shall let your children know, ‘Israel passed over this Jordan on dry ground.’ For the LORD your God dried up the waters of the Jordan for you until you passed over, as the LORD your God did to the Red Sea, which he dried up for us until we passed over, so that all the peoples of the earth may know that the hand of the LORD is mighty, that you may fear the LORD your God forever.”

(Joshua 4 ESV)

Psalm 129

A Song of Ascents.

    “Greatly have they afflicted me from my youth”—
        let Israel now say—
    “Greatly have they afflicted me from my youth,
        yet they have not prevailed against me.
    The plowers plowed upon my back;
        they made long their furrows.”
    The LORD is righteous;
        he has cut the cords of the wicked.
    May all who hate Zion
        be put to shame and turned backward!
    Let them be like the grass on the housetops,
        which withers before it grows up,
    with which the reaper does not fill his hand
        nor the binder of sheaves his arms,
    nor do those who pass by say,
        “The blessing of the LORD be upon you!
        We bless you in the name of the LORD!”

(Psalm 129 ESV)

Psalm 130

A Song of Ascents.

    Out of the depths I cry to you, O LORD!
        O Lord, hear my voice!
    Let your ears be attentive
        to the voice of my pleas for mercy!
    If you, O LORD, should mark iniquities,
        O Lord, who could stand?
    But with you there is forgiveness,
        that you may be feared.
    I wait for the LORD, my soul waits,
        and in his word I hope;
    my soul waits for the Lord
        more than watchmen for the morning,
        more than watchmen for the morning.
    O Israel, hope in the LORD!
        For with the LORD there is steadfast love,
        and with him is plentiful redemption.
    And he will redeem Israel
        from all his iniquities.

(Psalm 130 ESV)

Psalm 131

A Song of Ascents. Of David.

    O LORD, my heart is not lifted up;
        my eyes are not raised too high;
    I do not occupy myself with things
        too great and too marvelous for me.
    But I have calmed and quieted my soul,
        like a weaned child with its mother;
        like a weaned child is my soul within me.
    O Israel, hope in the LORD
        from this time forth and forevermore.

(Psalm 131 ESV)

Something to Consider

Joshua 4: The faithfulness of God ought to remain fresh in our hearts and at the forefront of our minds. After once again providing a miraculous path through the waters, God orders Joshua to construct a memorial that will help His people remember this event in history. There was nothing superstitious or supernatural about the memorial itself. It was simply constructed in order to help God’s people remember to share God’s faithfulness with the next generation. 

What are some landmark events of God’s faithfulness that need to be memorialized in your own life? The Bible is obviously full of God’s most direct acts of faithfulness to us His people, but what are some of the more personal (unique to you and your family) moments in which God has worked marvelously in a way that ought to be remembered?

It is our duty and indeed ought to be our delight to share the faithful works of God with our children and the next generation. May we teach our children the very Word of God, but may we also tell them the many ways God’s Word has worked powerfully through our own personal experiences so that they may know that the hand of the Lord is mighty and that they may fear the Lord our God forever.