03/20/17 Markers for the Nations

READING: Joshua 4-6, Luke 1:1-20

“So these stones shall become a memorial to the sons of Israel forever.”

Joshua 4:7

“When your children ask, ‘What do these stones mean?'” Joshua said, “you can tell them that Israel crossed the Jordan River on dry ground. Tell them that God dried up the waters of the river so the people could cross, just like He had done with the Red Sea for another generation.” I read the stories of God’s calling His people to set up markers to recall His mighty works, and I’m reminded of how much we need help remembering things – even significant things like seas and rivers being rolled back and dried up so large numbers of people could cross on dry ground!

You would think that people would not forget such miracles, but what is a widespread story of the miraculous in one generation can become a vague memory in a second generation. That vague memory later becomes a non-existent one in future generations, as the time between the event and the present grows long. All of us need marker events that remind us of God’s provision in the past so that our trust in Him grows in the present and in the future. 

That’s not what most captures me in today’s reading, however. Instead, it’s the global nature of God’s plan in leading His people across the Red Sea and later the Jordan River: He led them that way “that all the peoples of the earth may know that the hand of the Lord is mighty, so that you may fear the Lord your God forever” (Josh. 4:24). The God who promised blessings to the nations through Abraham (Gen. 12:1-3) worked miracles for His people so the nations might know of His might. Indeed, Rahab had previously said that the Canaanites feared the Hebrew God not only because His people had conquered other kings, but also because He had dried up the Red Sea (Josh. 2:10). Even as God rescued and guided His people, He did so in a way that the peoples of the earth would learn of His power. In turn, His people would fear Him forever as they told the stories from generation to generation. 

Let’s not miss the gracious acts of God in our lives. Mark them. Tell your children about them. And, make sure the nations hear about them as well. Perhaps, then, others around the world will serve Him, and they, too, can begin to set up markers in their own lives.

ACTION STEPS: 

  • Think about the marker events in your spiritual life. Today, tell somebody about at least one of them. 
  • Pick one nation, and pray that its peoples would hear about the power of God.

PRAYER: “Father, thank You for the markers in my life. Help me not to ignore or forget them.”

TOMORROW’S READING: Joshua 7-9, Luke 1:21-38