In His Grip Devotions
By Dr. Chuck F. Betters
Week of May 25, 2015
Week 4 – Twelve Personal Memorial Stones, Part 1
And the people of Israel did just as Joshua commanded and took up twelve stones out of the midst of the Jordan, according to the number of the tribes of the people of Israel, just as the LORD told Joshua. And they carried them over with them to the place where they lodged and laid them down there.  And Joshua set up twelve stones in the midst of the Jordan, in the place where the feet of the priests bearing the Ark of the covenant had stood; and they are there to this day.  For the priests bearing the ark stood in the midst of the Jordan until everything was finished that the LORD commanded Joshua to tell the people, according to all that Moses had commanded Joshua. The people passed over in haste. (Joshua 4:8-10 ESV)
In addition to the monument erected on the Canaan side of the river we are told that…
And Joshua set up twelve stones in the midst of the Jordan, in the place where the feet of the priests bearing the ark of the covenant had stood; and they are there to this day.“ (Joshua 4:9)
Thus, there was a double monument to perpetually commemorate Israel's passing through the place of judgment: the one in the midst of the Jordan where the judgment occurred and the other in their new camping-ground at Gilgal. It is a picture of our salvation.
Over the past few weeks we have looked at the story of Israel’s miraculous crossing the Jordan River. Two memorials of 12 stones were erected as a witness to the fact that God preserved this new generation and that a new day had dawned in redemption history. As I think through my own journey as a believer and a church leader I envision 12 memorial stones by which we can all recall the goodness of God in my life and that of my family.
- The memorial stone of the Gospel.
We have been saved by grace through faith. Our salvation is the work of God that existed before the foundation of the world.
- The memorial stone of a Godly heritage.
We all came from somewhere and someone. How did you meet your spouse? Did he or she just happen? My marriage is a story of remarkable travel through a maze of God’s sovereignty. The details of how God formulated my family is truly mind-boggling. What men call “circumstantial” I call “providential.”
- The memorial stone of Christ-like suffering.
How lovely is your dwelling place, O LORD of hosts!  My soul longs, yes, faints for the courts of the LORD; my heart and flesh sing for joy to the living God.  Even the sparrow finds a home, and the swallow a nest for herself, where she may lay her young, at your altars, O LORD of hosts, my King and my God.  Blessed are those who dwell in your house, ever singing your praise! Selah (Psalm 84:1-4 ESV)
Blessed are those whose strength is in you, in whose heart are the highways to Zion.  As they go through the Valley of Baca they make it a place of springs; the early rain also covers it with pools.  They go from strength to strength; each one appears before God in Zion.  O LORD God of hosts, hear my prayer; give ear, O God of Jacob! Selah (Psalm 84:5-8 ESV)
The Valley of Baca, or the Valley of Tears was a track of desert where weary pilgrims traveled in order to get to the Holy City. Along the way they grew accustomed to expect that others who traveled before them had dug the ditches so that the sudden and infrequent downpours of rain would fill them up with much needed water. They would then drink of the water from the ditches others dug for them and then dig another ditch for the pilgrims coming behind them. Suffering is never to be narcissistic, that is, your suffering is never exclusively all about you. There are others in your circle of legacy coming up behind you who are depending upon you to pave the way for them to endure their own suffering. You are the Brook in the Way for them.
Behold our shield, O God; look on the face of your anointed!  For a day in your courts is better than a thousand elsewhere. I would rather be a doorkeeper in the house of my God than dwell in the tents of wickedness.  For the LORD God is a sun and shield; the LORD bestows favor and honor. No good thing does he withhold from those who walk uprightly.  O LORD of hosts, blessed is the one who trusts in you! (Psalm 84:9-12 ESV)
This is the goal, the objective of your suffering… to dwell in the courts of our God eternally. Next week, we’ll look at Memorial Stones #4 – 7.
In His grip,
Dr. Chuck F. Betters
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