Joshua 4:15–24 (ESV)
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.”
The fathers will have quite a story to tell their children. The tenth day of the first month just happens to be Passover. In their culture, that’s history day.
This timing is not a coincidence. The analogy between this crossing and the crossing of the Red Sea is unmissable: the supernatural parting of the waters, the crossing on dry ground.
History day has a new chapter.
The lesson of the stones was mentioned just a few verses ago. Now, the lesson is repeated, with the twist of coupling it with the Passover and the crossing of the Red Sea. Obviously, this is a very big deal.
As it should be. Nothing is more heartbreaking than failing to pass on our faith to our descendants. We can pray our hearts out, plus make a seemingly airtight case, and still fail. There simply isn’t any guaranteed method.
The stones and the history behind them, which leads into the lesson on the harrowing escape from Egypt, is about as solid a case as one could make.
But the larger lesson is that this solid case doesn’t work. Even the presence onshore of large river rocks from the bottom of a great river isn’t enough to convince future generations. They’ll abandon faith in the LORD over and over.
Thus does the lesson of God’s faithfulness set up the lesson of man’s unfaithfulness. That’s the central lesson of the whole Old Testament.
It’s how the whole Old Testament points to Christ.
These Monday—Friday DEEPs are written by Mike Slay. The Weekend DEEPs are written by Matt Richardson. To subscribe to all the DEEPs click here:
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Except as indicated, Scripture taken from the New King James Version. © Copyright 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved. ESV stands for the English Standard Version. © Copyright 2001 by Crossway. Used by permission. All rights reserved. NIV stands for The Holy Bible, New International Version®. © Copyright 1973 by International Bible Society. Used by permission. All rights reserved. KJV stands for the King James Version.