In His Grip Devotions
By Dr. Chuck F. Betters
Week of May 10, 2015
Week 2 – Where is Your Gilgal?
The crossing of the Jordan River was a type of judgment. “Jor” means “I spread”; Dan means “God is judge.” In New Testament times that river would become the very place where the Lord's forerunner, John the Baptizer exercised his ministry. And what was his message? “Repent.” That is, “judge yourselves.” By so doing the baptized masses acknowledged that death was what they deserved.
The priests carried the Ark of the Covenant into the River and did not emerge until the last of the elect were saved.
For the priests which bare the ark stood in the midst of Jordan until every thing was finished that the Lord commanded Joshua to speak unto the people, according to all that Moses commanded Joshua (Joshua 4:10).
Only then does he order that 12 large stones be carried out of this river of judgment and brought onto dry ground. They were to build a memorial altar with these stones and leave them at Gilgal, a special place for Israel, a celebrated place between the Jordan and Jericho, where the Israelites first encamped, after the passage of that river. It was where they first celebrated the Old Testament sacraments of circumcision and Passover. Gilgal continued to be the headquarters of the Israelites for several years while Joshua was busy subduing the land.
A large city was built there and became famous for many events. It was in Gilgal that the tabernacle rested until its removal to Shiloh. It was in Gilgal that the priest Samuel offered sacrifices and held his court as a judge of Israel. It was in Gilgal that Saul was crowned as Israel’s first King. A seminary was built in Gilgal and yet it afterwards appears to have become a seat of idolatry. This was Israel’s special place. It was the seat of great memories and miraculous victories. For what purpose? The next generation.
And Joshua said to them, “Pass on before the ark of the LORD your God into the midst of the Jordan, and take up each of you a stone upon his shoulder, according to the number of the tribes of the people of Israel, that this may be a sign among you. When your children ask in time to come, ‘What do those stones mean to you?’ then you shall tell them that the waters of the Jordan were cut off before the ark of the covenant of the LORD. When it passed over the Jordan, the waters of the Jordan were cut off. So these stones shall be to the people of Israel a memorial forever.” (Joshua 4:5-7 ESV)
Those large stones (they had to be carried on their shoulders) were arranged in such a manner (a la Stonehenge), possibly placed one on top of another so as to attract the attention and invoke the questions of any who would come after them. Our homes are to be our Gilgals where God works his wonders. My entire family, four children and 15 grandchildren was started in one of those homes and each of them has memoires of what God did in and through one family, one young man and his bride from which all of us have been touched. What are the memorial stones you have built for your families?
In His grip,
Dr. Chuck F. Betters
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