Israel’s Trophy Case

Joshua 4:4-7 4 So Joshua called together the twelve men he had appointed from the Israelites, one from each tribe, 5 and said to them, “Go over before the ark of the LORD your God into the middle of the Jordan. Each of you is to take up a stone on his shoulder, according to the number of the tribes of the Israelites, 6to serve as a sign among you. In the future, when your children ask you, ‘What do these stones mean?’ 7 tell them that the flow of the Jordan was cut off before the ark of the covenant of the LORD. When it crossed the Jordan, the waters of the Jordan were cut off. These stones are to be a memorial to the people of Israel forever.”

Americans like to collect trophies.  It is our symbol of victory.  Kids collect them; professional athletes collect them.  And if you are successful enough, you might even have a trophy case – a monumental display of your pure awesomeness.  Some people might think it’s vain to display your victories in this way.  Those people are probably right, but who cares?  There’s nothing wrong with being proud of the things you have achieved.

In fact, Joshua did the same thing.  He built a monument that symbolized the crossing of the Jordan River.  It had a slightly different purpose, however.  It’s purpose was to be a remembrance.  He told each of the tribes to go into the Jordan and pull out a stone.  I imagine these were large stones – you can’t really build a monument with pebbles.  He wanted to build something that their children would someday ask, what’s that thing?  The answer would be simple: “this monument signifies the time when God brought us through the Jordan and to the promised land.  He stopped up the river and we walked on dry ground.”  That remembering would bring life, faith, and hope to the Israelite people and to their children.

It strikes me that a monument of this kind is actually a good idea.  And I wonder if we have taken the time to build spiritual monuments in our life? These markers are beneficial to our Christian walk.  Because there is something faith building about looking back and seeing the great things that God has done.  They remind of us His faithfulness and give us the courage to walk into the next thing that He has called us to.  They make the unknown less scary, because we have a trophy reminding us that God will carry us through just like He did before.  I would challenge you to this today.  Take a few moments and write down the great things that God has done in your life.  Remember them often, but even more importantly – add to them as you move forward.  I think you will find out how life-giving a pile of rocks can be.


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