By Dr. Chuck F. Betters
One of the most amazing stories of faith and legacy building is found in Joshua 3 and 4, the parting of the Jordan River. The WattsOne is immediately struck at the connection to the previous generation when Moses parted the Red Sea. Under Joshua,a new generation of Israel was in view. The demonic power that held the previous generation captive for 40 years as they wandered aimlessly in the wilderness and had refused to let them go was vanquished. God, in grace and mercy opened a new door for them to receive their inheritance.
When all the nation had finished passing over the Jordan, the LORD said to Joshua,  “Take twelve men from the people, from each tribe a man,  and command them, saying, ‘Take twelve stones from here out of the midst of the Jordan, from the very place where the priests' feet stood firmly, and bring them over with you and lay them down in the place where you lodge tonight.’”  Then Joshua called the twelve men from the people of Israel, whom he had appointed, a man from each tribe.  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.”  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 4:1-10 ESV)
One would be hard-pressed to fail to see the Gospel in the story of the supernatural crossing of the Jordan River. When Satan's captives are set free by the miracle of God’s grace we are set free for a purpose…the “so what” of our salvation. In the recording of this amazing miracle God made provision for the next chapter in Israel’s existence. He gave them everything they needed to cross over. He gave them a leader in Joshua - the “captain of their salvation.” He gave them the Ark of the Covenant – the symbol of His presence in them and His power through them. He gave them the priesthood who would lead the nation in the practice of His presence in worship.
God instructed Joshua to select one man, likely the patriarch, from each of the 12 tribes, to pick up a stone from the spot where the priests stood in the water just before the crossing took place. With the previous generation under Moses, at the Red Sea, Israel neither left twelve stones in its bed, nor took twelve with them unto the other side. Instead, God drowned Pharaoh and his chosen captains, his chariots and his host so that Israel sang “ The depths have covered them: they sank into the bottom as a stone” (Ex. 15:4-5).
In one very real sense Israel’s crossing at the Jordan River foreshadowed the resurrection. At the Jordan the redeemed of God were shown their own passage through death and resurrection by the figure of the twelve stones taken out of the Jordan River. Thus, Israel entered upon a new stage in their history. Moses was gone and the matter of slavery in Egypt was behind them as was the entire generation that died in the wilderness. This was a new chapter and a brand new generation.
There would never be another Moses. He led them into this new chapter and now it was Joshua’s turn along with the leaders of each tribe. It was the next generation’s turn. It didn’t take long for that generation to make its mark and to then fail miserably because they did not continue the legacy started by Moses and cultivated by Joshua. By the time Judges ends the rebirth of humanism took place as every man did what was right in his own eyes.
I see twelve legacy stones in Joshua’s story that can help us intentionally build a legacy of faith. Have you considered your own legacy? What will be written on your tomb stone? Start praying now for the Lord to open your heart to those places where you can intentionally put into place “stones” that will build a strong legacy of faith for your family.
In His grip,
Dr. Chuck F. Betters
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