Joshua 4 1And it came to pass, when all the people were clean passed over Jordan, that the LORD spake unto Joshua, saying, 2Take you twelve men out of the people, out of every tribe a man, 3And command ye them, saying, Take you hence out of the midst of Jordan, out of the place where the priests' feet stood firm, twelve stones, and ye shall carry them over with you, and leave them in the lodging place, where ye shall lodge this night. 4Then Joshua called the twelve men, whom he had prepared of the children of Israel, out of every tribe a man: 5And Joshua said unto them, Pass over before the ark of the LORD your God into the midst of Jordan, and take you up every man of you a stone upon his shoulder, according unto the number of the tribes of the children of Israel: 6That this may be a sign among you, that when your children ask their fathers in time to come, saying, What mean ye by these stones? 7Then ye shall answer them, That the waters of Jordan were cut off before the ark of the covenant of the LORD; when it passed over Jordan, the waters of Jordan were cut off: and these stones shall be for a memorial unto the children of Israel for ever. 8And the children of Israel did so as Joshua commanded, and took up twelve stones out of the midst of Jordan, as the LORD spake unto Joshua, according to the number of the tribes of the children of Israel, and carried them over with them unto the place where they lodged, and laid them down there. 9And Joshua set up twelve stones in the midst of Jordan, in the place where the feet of the priests which bare the ark of the covenant stood: and they are there unto this day. 10For the priests which bare the ark stood in the midst of Jordan, until everything was finished that the LORD commanded Joshua to speak unto the people, according to all that Moses commanded Joshua: and the people hasted and passed over. 11And it came to pass, when all the people were clean passed over, that the ark of the LORD passed over, and the priests, in the presence of the people. 12And the children of Reuben, and the children of Gad, and half the tribe of Manasseh, passed over armed before the children of Israel, as Moses spake unto them: 13About forty thousand prepared for war passed over before the LORD unto battle, to the plains of Jericho. 14On that day the LORD magnified Joshua in the sight of all Israel; and they feared him, as they feared Moses, all the days of his life. 15And the LORD spake unto Joshua, saying, 16Command the priests that bear the ark of the testimony, that they come up out of Jordan. 17Joshua therefore commanded the priests, saying, Come ye up out of Jordan. 18And it came to pass, when the priests that bare the ark of the covenant of the LORD were come up out of the midst of Jordan, and the soles of the priests' feet were lifted up unto the dry land, that the waters of Jordan returned unto their place, and flowed over all his banks, as they did before. 19And the people came up out of Jordan on the tenth day of the first month, and encamped in Gilgal, in the east border of Jericho. 20And those twelve stones, which they took out of Jordan, did Joshua pitch in Gilgal. 21And he spake unto the children of Israel, saying, When your children shall ask their fathers in time to come, saying, What mean these stones? 22Then ye shall let your children know, saying, Israel came over this Jordan on dry land. 23For the LORD your God dried up the waters of Jordan from before you, until ye were passed over, as the LORD your God did to the Red sea, which he dried up from before us, until we were gone over: 24That all the people of the earth might know the hand of the LORD, that it is mighty: that ye might fear the LORD your God for ever.
Today's Scripture Meaning:
Stones taken out of Jordan. (1-9) The people pass through Jordan. (10-19) The twelve stones placed in Gilgal. (20-24) Verses 1-9: The works of the Lord are so worthy of rememberance, and the heart of man is so prone to forget them, that various methods are needful to refresh our memories, for the glory of God, our advantage, and that of our children. God gave orders for preparing this memorial. Verses 10-19: The priests with the ark did not stir till ordered to move. Let none be weary of waiting, while they have the tokens of God's presence with them, even the ark of the covenant, though it be in the depths of adversity. Notice is taken of the honour put upon Joshua. Those are feared in the best manner, and to the best purpose, who make it appear that God is with them, and that they set him before them. Verses 20-24: It is the duty of parents to tell their children betimes of the words and works of God, that they may be trained up in the way they should go. In all the instruction parents give their children, they should teach them to fear God. Serious godliness is the best learning. Are we not called, as much as the Israelites, to praise the loving-kindness of our God? Shall we not raise a pillar to our God, who has brought us through dangers and distresses in so wonderful a way? For hitherto the Lord hath helped us, as much as he did his saints of old. How great the stupidity and ingratitude of men, who perceive not His hand, and will not acknowledge his goodness, in their frequent deliverances!
Today's Scripture Application Each day we walk through the Bible chapter by chapter making an application of our text to help us grow in the Lord. Many applications can be made from each day's text. Today we Continue in the book of Joshua with Chapter 4 and we see we see the nation of Israel passing over the Jordan River. Israel passed on dry land as the river was split in two again just like the red sea showing the other nations who is the God of Israel. In making application we see Israel passing over with the Ark of the Covenant representing the presence of God. It shows us that we need not get ahead of the Lord nor behind but should walk in His presence. If we do we will be in His will having His power delivering us with every step. Looking at our circumstances can be deceiving but when we look toward our Lord we experience the reality of His Power and Provision for our life. It reminds me of times in my life where I have looked around at circumstances in my life and reacted instead of focusing on the Lord and allowing Him to part the waters in my life, How about you? Do you see the importance in walking and focusing on the Lord with His timing provision. Let us learn from today's text to walk with the Lord and let Him part the waters in our life.
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Sincerely, Dr. David Burnette
Director, The United States Bible Society, Inc.