Biblical Truth: When God gives a person an opportunity to lead, He also encourages and empowers the person to lead.
Mark the Victory: Joshua 4:1-3, 8.
 Now when all the nation had finished crossing the Jordan, the LORD spoke to Joshua, saying,  “Take for yourselves twelve men from the people, one man from each tribe,  and command them, saying, Take up for yourselves twelve stones from here out of the middle of the Jordan, from the place where the priests’ feet are standing firm, and carry them over with you and lay them down in the lodging place where you will lodge tonight.”  Thus the sons of Israel did as Joshua commanded, and took up twelve stones from the middle of the Jordan, just as the LORD spoke to Joshua, according to the number of the tribes of the sons of Israel; and they carried them over with them to the lodging place and put them down there. [NASU]
[1-3] God made provisions for
 The people follow their leader precisely, doing just what Joshua commanded. This is the theological point of the present context. God has raised up for Himself and His people a leader who listens to the divine word and to whom the people listen obediently. The crossing of the Jordan River taught
The Old Testament memorials of God’s mercy are innumerable. There was circumcision, the memorial of God’s covenant with Abraham; the stone set up at
Recognize God’s Work in the Victory: Joshua 4:10-11, 17-18.
 For the priests who carried the ark were standing in the middle of the Jordan until everything was completed that the LORD had commanded Joshua to speak to the people, according to all that Moses had commanded Joshua. And the people hurried and crossed;  and when all the people had finished crossing, the ark of the LORD and the priests crossed before the people.  So Joshua commanded the priests, saying, "Come up from the
[10-11] Verse 10 brings a narrative and theological climax. Joshua had commanded the priests to stand in the water while the people crossed [3:8]. This command is obeyed in 4:10. The priests stood with the ark in the bed of the river during the whole time that the people were passing through the
[17-18] Again the divine command is followed by human command. The result is human obedience [18a]. The major result is the miracle [18b]. God’s action, rather than human obedience, is again in the center of focus. Once the crossing was completed and the twelve stones removed from the river bed, then the priests carried the ark out of the river bed and back in front of the people. Immediately after the ark was removed from the river bed the waters returned to normal. It is the ark that is the medium of the miracle-working power, the priests are but its servants and attendants. The ark, as the symbol and throne of the Divine presence, is the center around which all the supernatural glory of the incident gathers.
Recall the Victory: Joshua 4:19-24.
 Now the people came up from the
[19-20] The crossing took place on the tenth day of the first month, that is to say, on the same day on which, forty years before,
[21-22] The twelve large stones were arranged in such a manner so as to attract the attention and invoke the inquiry of those who should afterwards behold them. That monument of stones was designed first as a “sign” to
The stones are to be a teaching tool for the fathers to teach their children about God’s provision for His people. They must let their children know that
The wisdom of God is seen in the command to raise such a memorial. It meets that weakness in human nature by which it comes to pass that the most sacred impressions are prone to die – the lapse of time and the succeeding waves of circumstance obliterate them. The sign was to be a stimulus to spiritual apprehension and a help to faith. Every passing experience of His grace is a pledge that He will not fail us in emergencies yet to come. Anything is good that deepens this impression, provokes to thankfulness, and rebukes distrust.
[23-24] These two verses speak to two audiences. First, it seeks to demonstrate to all the enemies of
The practical result at which all instruction should aim is that you may fear the Lord your God forever. The miracle, the memorial, the teaching, all find here their ultimate purpose. All subordinate purposes must lead on to this – the showing forth of God’s glory and the submission of His intelligent creatures to Him in reverence and godly fear. The remembrance of this wonderful work should effectually restrain them from the worship of other gods. And it should constrain them to abide and abound in the service of their faithful God. Note, in all the instructions parents give their children, they should have this chiefly in view, to teach and engage them to fear God always.
SUMMARY: The experience at the
The people of God must realize that God does not help them automatically. God helps them when they obey His commands given through His leader. The final context makes certain of these commands important.
God did not do miracles of the proportion of the Exodus or the Jordan in every generation. Yet every generation could devise teaching and worship situations in which
We can also learn from the story of the
Questions for Discussion:
1. After the people safely crossed the river, why would God have them stop and build the memorial of stones instead of proceeding with the task of defeating their enemies? What was God telling His people? What can we learn from this event about how we are to serve God?
2. What was the role of the ark in this miracle? What were the Israelites to learn from the use of the ark in this miracle of the crossing?
3. Why is it so important that we have “reminders” of God’s work in our lives? What type of memorials, traditions, symbols, etc. do you have in your home that serve as “reminders” and as teaching tools for your children?
Joshua, Trent Butler, Nelson Publishers.
The Book of Joshua, C.F. Keil, Eerdmans.
Gleanings in Joshua, Arthur Pink, Moody Press.