Artwork by Doug Kallerson
Twelve Stones, Part I
As you know, the Lord works through various literary devices in order to reveal Himself and His intentions for us. We constantly see typology concerning something anticipating Christ, the law, and so on. There are metaphors where one thing is equated to another, such as the tongue being a fire, a world of iniquity.
Various things like water, a stone, or an olive tree will symbolize other things. When seen, they are very consistent in their representation. Numbers are like this. In today’s passage, we will see twelve men of Israel select twelve stones that are to be set up later. Stones have their own meaning as do the number of them.
After they set up these stones, Joshua will set up another twelve stones in order to make another picture. These will have their own meaning as well. But there is also the truth that twelve and twelve equal twenty-four. And so, it is an obvious number to consider –
“Twenty four being a multiple of twelve, expresses in a higher form the same signification. It is the number associated with the heavenly government and worship, of which the earthly form in Israel was only a copy. We are told that both Moses and David ordered all things connected with the Tabernacle and Temple worship by direct revelation from God, and as a copy of things in the heavens, [Hebrews 8:5; 1 Chronicles 28:12, 19]. And the sevenfold phrase (in Exo 40) ‘as the LORD commanded Moses’ witnesses to the Divine ordering of all. It was so with the twenty-four courses of priests in the earthly Temple; these were formed on the ‘pattern of things in the heavens.’” EW Bullinger
Text Verse: “And the twenty-four elders who sat before God on their thrones fell on their faces and worshiped God.” Revelation 11:16
Bullinger says more about the number twenty-four, but you get the point. It signifies heavenly government and heavenly worship. Here we have two sets of twelve stones. How would that fit into what is being said? That is, if it does at all.
We won’t answer that today, but it is a good thought to consider. For now, we have a sermon full of information to look over. It will be a sermon that will necessarily be followed by another in order to understand the entire chapter and what it is telling us.
This means that if you are hearing this sermon now, unless the Lord comes for you by death or rapture, you’ll need to be here for part two next week. Yes, the rapture would be far preferable if one of the two happens, but there is no guarantee of that.
As such, it is always best to be prepared to meet your Maker on friendly terms, and always be prepared for whatever lies ahead. Death, rapture, another sermon. It is all in God’s hands, but where you will go, if it is death, is in yours. Jesus has made the offer. Be sure to respond appropriately.
And one thing is for sure: what He did in order to make that offer possible continues to be pictured in today’s verses. I hope you will enjoy what we see today and will consider it while waiting for next week’s sermon.
Great stuff is to be found in God’s superior word. And so, let us turn to that precious word once again and… May God speak to us through His word today and may His glorious name ever be praised.
I. The Waters of the Jordan Were Cut Off (verses 1-9)
And it came to pass, when all the people had completely crossed over the Jordan,
Rather than “people,” it more appropriately refers to the entire nation: vayhi ka’asher tammu kal ha’goy la’avor eth ha’yarden – “And it was, according to which finished all the nation to cross through the Jordan.”
As noted in Joshua 3, the word “over” is better translated as “through.” This is to fit the typology repeatedly used of faith in Christ in the New Testament –
“But now the righteousness of God apart from the law is revealed, being witnessed by the Law and the Prophets, 22 even the righteousness of God, through [dia] faith in Jesus Christ, to all and on all who believe.” Romans 3:21-22
As for the narrative, it continues exactingly from the previous chapter with words that detail the fulfillment of what was just recorded as Chapter 3 ended –
“…and all Israel crossed through on dry ground, until all the people [nation] had crossed completely through the Jordan.”
“…when all the people [nation] had completely crossed through the Jordan.”
The focus is not on individuals, but the entire nation. But more, it is a term, ha’goy, used at times when speaking of the nations of Gentiles and the nation of Israel when they are in a state of disobedience. As such, it is as if it is saying, this “uncircumcised nation had crossed through.”
It is what was seen in the previous sermon: the salvation of Israel that Paul wrote about when he says that someday “all Israel will be saved.” It is not saying that every Israelite will be saved, but as a nation, those who are a part of it when it calls on Christ will be saved. It next records…
1 (con’t) that the Lord spoke to Joshua, saying:
Rather, it reads: va’yomer Yehovah el Yehoshua lemor – “and said Yehovah unto Joshua to say.” The difference between said and spoke is small, but it carries the general sense of working together rather than simply speaking forth a command. Joshua is told to…
2 “Take for yourselves twelve men from the people,
Even though the Lord is speaking to Joshua, the words are in the plural, “take for yourselves.” The order will be transmitted by Joshua to the tribes because each tribe was to select a person. Also, it now rightly says, “the people.” Of the people who have crossed, and in fulfillment of verse 3:12, this action is to be taken –
“Now therefore, take for yourselves twelve men from the tribes of Israel, one man from every tribe.”
Verse 3:12 said “from the tribes” but here it says, “from the people,” but that is then explained by…
2 (con’t) one man from every tribe,
ish ekhad ish ekhad mi’shavet – “man one man one from tribe.” Again, it is a little different from 3:12. There it said, “from the tribes (pl).” Here it is “from tribe (sg).” But the meaning is the same for both. One man is to be taken from each tribe of the people…
3 and command them, saying,
The plural continues here, “and command you (pl) them, saying…” The Lord is speaking to Joshua in the manner in which Joshua is to speak to the people. This pictures Jesus in John 12:50 where it says, “Therefore, whatever I speak, just as the Father has told Me, so I speak.” And he is to say…
3 (con’t) ‘Take for yourselves twelve stones from here, out of the midst of the Jordan,
seu lakhem mizeh mitokh ha’yarden – “lift to you from this from midst the Jordan.” This takes us back to verse 3:17. What does “the midst of the Jordan” mean? Is it referring to “between the cut off waters?” Half was cut off upriver, and half continued downriver. Or is it from the middle of what is a normal flowing river? At this point, it would appear to be the same thing, but the next words must be considered…
3 (con’t) from the place where the priests’ feet stood firm.
mi’matsav ragle ha’kohanim ha’kiyn – “from post feet the priests’ established.” There is a new word here, matstsav. It is a standing place or a fixed spot. Figuratively, a garrison, and that is how it is most often used. The priests had posted themselves firmly, as if a military garrison, remaining unmoved until the task was complete.
As such, the waters had separated, and the bed of the river was dry. Hence, referring to the post where the priests’ feet are would be the area of the actual separation of the waters. All of the people maintained a two-thousand cubit separation from where the priests were, but these men went to that exact location and obtained their stones from there. Once obtained…
3 (con’t) You shall carry them over with you and leave them in the lodging place where you lodge tonight.’”
“And have carried them through with you and have rested them in the lodging place which you remain in the night.” The word yanakh signifies to place, set, lay down, and so on. It is derived from the same as nuakh, to rest. In this case, using “rested” gives a better typological hint as to what is happening.
It is the responsibility of the chosen men to each select one stone from where the priests posted themselves, to carry it with them from that spot to the place where the people would encamp and rest it there. That will be identified in verse 19 as Gilgal.
4 Then Joshua called the twelve men whom he had appointed from the children of Israel, one man from every tribe;
This is now the fulfillment of the Lord’s words from the previous verses. It is also a repetition of what was said in verse 3:12 –
“Now therefore, take for yourselves twelve men from the tribes of Israel, one man from every tribe.” Joshua 3:12
There is no contradiction here. The Lord’s words would have come first, and Joshua’s words of Chapter 3 follow after, even though they are recorded first in the narrative. With this in mind, and in fulfillment of the word, Joshua calls unto these twelve men whom he had prepared, one from each of the tribes…
5 and Joshua said to them: “Cross over before the ark of the Lord your God into the midst of the Jordan,
ivru liphne aron Yehovah elohekem el tok ha’yarden – “Cross through to face (meaning ‘in the presence of’) ark Yehovah your God into midst the Jordan.” This is the direction that Joshua was told by the Lord to convey to these men.
5 (con’t) and each one of you take up a stone on his shoulder,
v’harimu lakhem ish even akhat al shikhmo – “and raise up to you man stone one upon his shoulder.” It is a different word than in verse 4:3. There it was nasa – to lift or carry. This is rum – to raise up or exalt. The stone is to not only be carried, but to be raised up and placed upon the shoulder.
The shoulder signifies the place of bearing a burden, as in a yoke. As such, it emblematically signifies authority and/or responsibility. For example, it says of the Messiah in Isaiah 9 that “the government will be upon His shoulder.” The burden of the government, and thus the responsibility for it, will be His.
The stone signifies establishment, as in setting up a pillar. It signifies permanence; that which is established is set to stand firm. It signifies resiliency and strength, as in that which is fixed and unyielding. These twelves stones were selected…
5 (con’t) according to the number of the tribes of the children of Israel,
Although the meaning is understood, rather than “according to” (k’) it simply says “to” (l’): l’mispar shivte bene Yisrael – “to number tribes Israel.” There are twelve tribes, and there are twelve corresponding stones. These are selected in order…
6 that this may be a sign among you when your children ask in time to come,
There is an emphasis in the words. It is not just that the children might ask, but they will certainly ask: l’maan tiyeh zoth oth b’qirb’kem ki yishalun benekem makhar – “To end purpose shall be this sign in your midst for (certainly) asking your children tomorrow.” The word “tomorrow” signifies in the time to come.
A sign isn’t a thing in itself. Rather, it is something that points to something else. As such, when the children see it, the question is to then receive a response as to why they were set up in the first place. Bearing the emphasis in the words, any time after the day the stones are set up, it is certain that those who see them will ask…
6 (con’t) saying, ‘What do these stones mean to you?’
l’mor mah ha’avanim ha’eleh lakhem – “to say, ‘What the stones the these to you (pl)?’” It is a general question to any and all who are aware of their purpose. The question is on the same lines as that which accompanied the Passover where the children were bound to ask, “What do you mean by this service?”
There is an intended meaning beyond the thing itself, pointing to its ultimate purpose. In the case of these stones…
7 Then you shall answer them that the waters of the Jordan were cut off before the ark of the covenant of the Lord;
With some differences, it is similar to the words of verse 5, “that were cut off water the Jordan from face (meaning ‘in the presence of’) ark covenant Yehovah.” Here, the words “were cut off waters” brings in a change in the terminology concerning the ark –
- ark Yehovah your God.
- were cut off waters … ark covenant Yehovah.
The ark is the place where the Lord is present. In using the words “cut off waters,” the covenant is remembered. As was noted in chapter 3, the word karath, or cut off, is what is used when a covenant is made, or literally, “cut.”
Remembering the symbolism already seen, the waters (the life) of the Descender (Christ) is cut off in an act of cutting a New Covenant. Thus, it explains the difference between “ark Yehovah your God” (Jesus, the embodiment of the law), and “ark covenant Yehovah” (the sacrifice of Christ).
7 (con’t) when it crossed over the Jordan, the waters of the Jordan were cut off.
The repetition of “the Jordan” more perfectly helps to give us the appropriate mental image: b’av’ro ba’yarden nikr’tu me ha’yarden – “in His crossing through the Jordan were cut off waters the Jordan.” The ark is where the presence of the Lord is. As such, translating it “His” is not inappropriate. It is a masculine singular word.
But more, it much more clearly helps us make the connection to Jesus who is the embodiment of the law, and whose life was cut off in His descending from heaven to fulfill the law. Understanding this, we can now translate it in the form of typology: “in His crossing through the Descender, were cut off life the Descender.” Think of Jesus. This is the sign of the stones. As such…
7 (con’t) And these stones shall be for a memorial to the children of Israel forever.”
v’hayah ha’avanim ha’eleh l’zikaron livne Yisrael ad olam – “And it shall be, the stones the these, to memorial to sons Israel unto futurity.” This is what the sign of the stones is to be. It is to point to that which God has done in the cutting off of the Jordan, but that is given in typology of Christ.
As the stones eventually were moved or lost to history, one might say that this is a failed sign, but that is incorrect. The sign is recorded in the word, and the word continues to this day. It has always been with Israel. And so, in the reading of the words, the sign still exists, even if the stones are gone. That is an important point to remember and that will be expanded upon later.
8 And the children of Israel did so, just as Joshua commanded,
ka’asher tsivah Yehoshua – “according to which commanded Joshua.” Here, it shows compliance to the words of Joshua, the leader. Remembering that he anticipates Jesus the Man who is the Messiah and Israel’s true Leader, the wording will more clearly reveal what is intended. The children of Israel did so…
8 (con’t) and took up twelve stones from the midst of the Jordan,
The stones came out of the place where the priests stood in the midst of the Jordan, meaning where the waters were cut off. This was accomplished…
8 (con’t) as the Lord had spoken to Joshua,
ka’asher dibber Yehovah el Yehoshua – “According to which spoke Yehovah unto Joshua.” The words of John 12:50 cited above are clearly indicated in what is stated here – “Therefore, whatever I speak, just as the Father has told Me, so I speak.”
The people did as Joshua (the Lord Jesus) spoke, and Jesus the Man did as the divine Lord spoke to Him. The communication within the Godhead is clearly revealed in this, from Father to Son – the God/Man which reveals God’s intent from the divine to the human.
This is the anticipation of the future when Israel will finally heed the words of Jesus as He conveyed them from His Father, and it is seen in typology after the death of Moses (the law) when Israel finally realizes what they have missed for so long. For now, it is…
8 (con’t) according to the number of the tribes of the children of Israel,
l’mispar shivte bene Yisrael – “to number tribes sons Israel.” The number of stones, as before, is twelve. As there are twelve sons of Israel, descending from them come the twelve tribes of Israel, meaning all of Israel. Next, it says…
8 (con’t) and carried them over with them to the place where they lodged, and laid them down there.
va’yaabirum imam el ha’malon va’yanikhum sham – “And crossed through them, with them, unto the place and rested them there.” The designated representatives for the tribes crossed through the Jordan with the stones. As they are designated to represent each tribe, it is as if all of Israel accomplished this. Hence –
“And the children of Israel did so…and took up twelve stones…and carried them through with them to the place where they lodged, and laid them down there.”
The action of the twelve men is reckoned as the action of the entire congregation. The twelve stones are reckoned as the action of the twelve men. What happens to them happens to the congregation. The stones were rested at the designated place. After that…
9 Then Joshua set up twelve stones in the midst of the Jordan,
u-shetem esreh abanim heqim Yehoshua b’tok ha’yarden – “and two ten stones raised up Joshua in midst the Jordan.” There is a ton of speculation concerning this. Some believe that this should read mi’tok, or “from midst.” This is how the Aramaic Bible reads.
Because of this, and because of the seemingly pointless nature of setting up stones that will be covered with water, some translations run with this, such as the NIV –
“Joshua set up the twelve stones that had been in the middle of the Jordan at the spot where the priests who carried the ark of the covenant had stood. And they are there to this day.” Joshua 4:9 (NIV)
This then would make it in agreement with the pile to be erected in verse 20, which says, “And those twelve stones which they took out of the Jordan, Joshua raised up in Gilgal.” However, this is not what the Hebrew says. It says, “In (b) the midst,” not “from (m) the midst.” All Hebrew texts say this, the Greek and the Latin, both translated out of the Hebrew, also say this.
But more, both of those qualify the words by saying “other twelve stones” (ἄλλους δώδεκα λίθους / alios quoque duodecim lapides) to ensure that it is understood that these were not the same stones. These “other” twelve stones were heqim or “raised up…”
9 (con’t) in the place where the feet of the priests who bore the ark of the covenant stood;
takhat matsav ragle ha’kohanim nos’e aron ha’berit – “under post feet the priests bearing ark the covenant.” By saying “under” it signifies “in place of.” In other words, it wasn’t just in the general area, but in the exact spot where the ark of the covenant had been borne by the priests.
Therefore, it is a memorial in itself to the covenant that is derived from what occurred, and the covenant is set forth as twelve [other] stones. Twelve means “the perfection of government, or of governmental perfection” (Bullinger). With these noted, it says…
9 (con’t) and they are there to this day.
va’yihyu sham ad ha’yom hazeh – “and they are there to the day, the this.” Where the priests stood is of less importance than the fact that they stood in the overflowing waters.
In other words, if they stepped into the waters on the bank, and the descending waters ceased, and they continued to stay right there on the bank of the Jordan, it is no different at all than if they proceeded into the middle of the empty basin and stood there.
The point is that the waters were descending, they were cut off, and the priests with the ark stood where the waters had been. The rocks may have simply sat on the banks of the river in full sight. When the Jordan overflowed, the rocks would be bathed in water.
Or it could be that the priests moved to the middle of the Jordan and the rocks were covered over (which seems unlikely based on the fact that people could still see them, as it says, “to this day.”)
Or it could be that the rocks set up in the middle of the Jordan could have been whopping in size, even big enough to not get washed down the river, and large enough to rise above the flowing waters.
Or the priests could have walked into the Jordan and ascended a large boulder so that everyone could see them. When Joshua set up the rocks, it was exactly on that boulder where they stood and when the Jordan flooded again, the rocks were there in full sight. It isn’t worth fighting over what cannot be known. However, I would go with them being set up on the riverbank, right where the priests stood.
What matters is that Joshua raised them up, both here and in verse 19 to come, that they represented the waters that were cut off, and that they stood as a witness to what occurred. As noted, even if the stones are no longer there, the sign is recorded in the word, and the word continues to this day. Therefore, the sign still exists.
What are these stones for? Why are they there?
Are they just something someone raised up for fun?
What are they for? Should I care?
Who can I ask about what has been done?
Surely, these rocks were raised up with purpose and intent
They are a witness to what the Lord has done
They were taken from the Descender when the waters were spent
Like when the life ceased in God’s own Son
They have been raised up for all people to see
And those who understand will glory at what God has done
When the waters of the Descender were cut off completely
When the life left the Man from heaven, God’s own Son
II. The Lord Exalted Joshua (verses 10-14)
This section begins with a marvelous set of words…
10 So the priests who bore the ark stood in the midst of the Jordan
v’ha’kohanim nos’e ha’aron om’dim betok ha’yarden – “And the priests bearing the ark, standers in midst the Jordan.” With the immense number of people crossing through, this process could have taken awhile. However, the priests never stopped their standing and bearing the ark…
10 (con’t) until everything was finished that the Lord had commanded Joshua to speak to the people,
ad tom kal ha’davar asher tsivah Yehovah eth Yehoshua l’daber el ha’am – “until finished all the word which commanded Yehovah Joshua to speak unto the people.” Again, as in verses 3:16 and 3:17, the word tamam, or “finished” is used.
In 3:16, it was referring to the waters being finished. In 3:17, it referred to the nation finishing its crossing through the Jordan. Now, it is referring to the word that the Lord had commanded Joshua to speak to the people. But that is next stated as…
10 (con’t) according to all that Moses had commanded Joshua;
k’kol asher tsivah Mosheh eth Yehoshua – “according to all which commanded Moses Joshua.” Suddenly, and with seemingly no obvious reason, Moses is reintroduced into the narrative. It is the Lord who has been commanding Joshua, and Joshua has either done what the Lord said directly, or he passed on the command to the people.
There is nothing recorded concerning instructions from Moses in regard to this operation that has taken place, and yet, the people’s entrance is based upon “all the word that the Lord commanded to Joshua,” and that is based on “all that Moses had commanded Joshua.”
It is as if the words of Moses, the law, continue on until Israel has fully passed through the Jordan…
10 (con’t) and the people hurried and crossed over.
vay’maharu ha’am va’yaaboru – “And hastened the people, and crossed through.” There is a sense of urgency, but it would not be one of either weak faith or fear.
The people understand that the waters above are being held back, and that the priests bearing the ark would not move until all was complete. With what was surely a sense of appreciation for the priests’ effort, and with the anticipation of entering into the promise, the people rushed across in joy and confidence. With this complete…
11 Then it came to pass, when all the people had completely crossed over,
Though the intent is the same, it more closely reads, “And it came to pass according to which all the people completed to cross through.” The precision of the wording tells us that every person had crossed through, and only then was it…
11 (con’t) that the ark of the Lord and the priests crossed over in the presence of the people.
Here, the most basic term is used, aron Yehovah, “ark Yehovah.” It speaks of the ark (Jesus, the embodiment of the law), and Yehovah. It is clearly a reference to Him as the God/Man. Further, the priests are mentioned after the ark.
The priests signify the priestly role of Christ. Thus, it is Christ in His duties being named after Christ in His Person. Together they now cross through liphne ha’am – “to face (meaning in the presence of) the people.” With that noted, necessary words of compliance are stated…
12 And the men of Reuben, the men of Gad, and half the tribe of Manasseh crossed over armed before the children of Israel, as Moses had spoken to them.
This is in fulfillment of what was said in Joshua 1, and which had been previously commanded by Moses to these men –
“Remember the word which Moses the servant of the Lord commanded you, saying, ‘The Lord your God is giving you rest and is giving you this land.’ 14 Your wives, your little ones, and your livestock shall remain in the land which Moses gave you on this side of the Jordan. But you shall pass before your brethren armed, all your mighty men of valor, and help them, 15 until the Lord has given your brethren rest, as He gave you, and they also have taken possession of the land which the Lord your God is giving them. Then you shall return to the land of your possession and enjoy it, which Moses the Lord’s servant gave you on this side of the Jordan toward the sunrise.” Joshua 1:13-15
The words “before the children of Israel” do not necessarily mean “in front of them.” Rather, it says “to face,” meaning “in their presence.” It is a necessary inclusion to be recorded at this time. Of them, there were…
13 About forty thousand prepared for war crossed over before the Lord for battle, to the plains of Jericho.
The Hebrew is more precise and doesn’t say “about.” It says, “According to forty thousand drawn off for battle.” In other words, at the very recent census, there were more than seventy thousand men of age to fight. However, these were drawn off from that total to begin the campaign with the other tribes.
After that, others could be rotated in and out while a contingent stayed with the families and farms east of the Jordan. These men, however, came along liphne Yehovah la’milkhamah el arvoth yerikho – “to face (meaning in the presence of) Yehovah to the battle unto plains Jericho.”
14 On that day the Lord exalted Joshua in the sight of all Israel;
This was what was promised in the previous chapter –
“And the Lord said to Joshua, ‘This day I will begin to exalt you in the sight of all Israel, that they may know that, as I was with Moses, so I will be with you.’” Joshua 3:7
It then takes us back to what was said there concerning Joshua and everything that was to occur, and which has now been recorded as having occurred –
The priests bearing the ark are the material cause. Their entry into the Jordan is what makes the thing (like wood in a table) to be. The formal cause, the design, is the parting of the Jordan. The efficient cause, what brings it about, is the Lord’s presence working on behalf of Joshua. And the final cause, the purpose, is the exaltation of Joshua in the eyes of the people.
And this is exactly what happened…
*14 (fin) and they feared him, as they had feared Moses, all the days of his life.
The final clause is speaking of Joshua, not the Lord. To make it clearer, it can be rephrased, “and they feared him all the days of his life, as they had feared Moses.” The highlight is upon Joshua, noting that during his entire life, from that point on, Israel feared him because he had been exalted by the Lord in the eyes of all Israel.
With that stated, our verses for today are done. Like Chapter 3, the final verses have to be completed before we can fully understand the typology that is being seen here. Enough of it has been explained for you to possibly have a pretty good idea of what is going on, though.
In the end, all of this is given in typology to point us from the type, Joshua, the priests, the ark, and so on, and to lead us to the Antitype – Jesus. He is the fulfillment of all of these things. And yet, to this day, Israel has not clued into this.
However, the account is given to show us that they will, someday, get it. They will pass through Christ and into the true promise and rest that is only prefigured in the passage. But it is certain that not just Israel is included in the story.
God sent Christ Jesus into the world to redeem man, all men from all nations, who will come to Him through faith in what Jesus has accomplished. This is as obvious as the nose on one’s face when looking at the greater picture.
Israel, to this day, thinks that everything in Scripture is about them and that God’s Messiah will come to them alone and place them, above all people. In some ways, this is true. It is what has been prophesied in Scripture. But the promise of a Messiah goes all the way back to Genesis 3.
Israel only came about as God’s covenant people in mid-Exodus, even if the line became clearer in many ways at the time of Abraham. In other words, Jesus is the Christ of all nations who descend from Adam.
The select line in Scripture is narrowed down for the purpose of bringing Him into the world so that He could then accomplish the necessary redemptive requirements for it to be so. Once that is complete, the offer is made to any and to all who will come to Him.
Ironically, the very people who think they are His chosen people are currently not God’s people because of their failure to recognize this. That will be corrected, but for now, the offer is open to anyone who will receive it – Jew or Gentile, slave or free, male or female. The call is made. Come to Jesus! May you do so today.
Closing Verse: “When He had been baptized, Jesus came up immediately from the water; and behold, the heavens were opened to Him, and He saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and alighting upon Him. 17 And suddenly a voice came from heaven, saying, ‘This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.’” Matthew 3:16, 17
Next Week: Joshua 4:15-24 Those others aren’t to be left alones, it is true… (Twelve Stones, Part II) (8th Joshua Sermon)
The Lord has you exactly where He wants you. He has a good plan and purpose for you. It is He who has defeated the enemy and who now offers His people rest. So, follow Him and trust Him and He will do marvelous things for you and through you.
Twelve Stones, Part I
And it came to pass
When all the people, as the words are so relaying
Had completely crossed over the Jordan
That the LORD spoke to Joshua, saying:
“Take for yourselves twelve men
From the people as I am now conveying
One man from every tribe
And command them, saying
‘Take for yourselves twelve stones from here
Out of the midst of the Jordan, from the place where the
———-priests’ feet stood firm – from that very site
You shall carry them over with you
And leave them in the lodging place where you rest tonight
Then Joshua called the twelve men whom he had appointed
From the children of Israel
One man from every tribe
And Joshua said to them, so he did tell:
“Cross over before the ark of the LORD your God
Into the midst of the Jordan as to you I tell
And each one of you take up a stone on his shoulder
According to the number of the tribes of the children of Israel
That this may be a sign among you
When your children ask in time to come, saying
‘What do these stones mean to you?’
What I say, that is what you shall then be relaying
Then you shall answer them
That the waters of the Jordan were cut off
———- their momentum was lost
Before the ark of the covenant of the LORD
When it over the Jordan crossed
The waters of the Jordan were cut off
And these stones shall be
For a memorial to the children of Israel forever
This is how it is as directed by Me
And the children of Israel did so
Just as Joshua commanded
And took up twelve stones from the midst of the Jordan
As the LORD had spoken to Joshua, as the divine word demanded
According to the number of the tribes of the children of Israel
And carried them over with them, just one each – not a pair
To the place where they lodged
And laid them down there
Then Joshua set up twelve stones
In the midst of the Jordan, putting them on display
In the place where the feet of the priests who bore
———-the ark of the covenant stood
And they are there to this day
So the priests who bore the ark
Stood in the midst of the Jordan, their knees not getting weak
Until everything was finished
That the LORD had commanded Joshua to the people to speak
According to all that Moses had Joshua commanded
And the people hurried and crossed over
———-as the situation demanded
Then it came to pass
When all the people had crossed over completely
That the ark of the LORD and the priests
Crossed over in the presence of the people, they all could see
And the men of Reuben, the men of Gad
And half the tribe of Manasseh crossed over without haw or hem
Armed before the children of Israel
As Moses had spoken to them
About forty thousand prepared for war
Crossed over before the LORD for battle
To the plains of Jericho
The clash of their swords and spears surely made quite a rattle
On that day the LORD exalted Joshua
In the sight of all Israel
And they feared him, as they had feared Moses
All the days of his life, so the word does tell
Lord God, turn our hearts to be obedient to Your word
Give us wisdom to be ever faithful to You
May we carefully heed each thing we have heard
Yes, Lord God may our hearts be faithful and true
And we shall be content and satisfied in You alone
We will follow You as we sing our songs of praise
Hallelujah to You; to us Your path You have shown
Hallelujah we shall sing to You for all of our days
Hallelujah and Amen…
And it came to pass, when all the people had completely crossed over the Jordan, that the Lord spoke to Joshua, saying: 2 “Take for yourselves twelve men from the people, one man from every tribe, 3 and command them, saying, ‘Take for yourselves twelve stones from here, out of the midst of the Jordan, from the place where the priests’ feet stood firm. You shall carry them over with you and leave them in the lodging place where you lodge tonight.’ ”
4 Then Joshua called the twelve men whom he had appointed from the children of Israel, one man from every tribe; 5 and Joshua said to them: “Cross over before the ark of the Lord your God into the midst of the Jordan, and each one of you take up a stone on his shoulder, according to the number of the tribes of the children of Israel, 6 that this may be a sign among you when your children ask in time to come, saying, ‘What do these stones mean to you?’ 7 Then you shall answer them that the waters of the Jordan were cut off before the ark of the covenant of the Lord; when it crossed over the Jordan, the waters of the Jordan were cut off. And these stones shall be for a memorial to the children of Israel forever.”
8 And the children of Israel did so, just as Joshua commanded, and took up twelve stones from the midst of the Jordan, as the Lord had spoken to Joshua, according to the number of the tribes of the children of Israel, and carried them over with them to the place where they lodged, and laid them down there. 9 Then Joshua set up twelve stones in the midst of the Jordan, in the place where the feet of the priests who bore the ark of the covenant stood; and they are there to this day.
10 So the priests who bore the ark stood in the midst of the Jordan until everything was finished that the Lord had commanded Joshua to speak to the people, according to all that Moses had commanded Joshua; and the people hurried and crossed over. 11 Then it came to pass, when all the people had completely crossed over, that the ark of the Lord and the priests crossed over in the presence of the people. 12 And the men of Reuben, the men of Gad, and half the tribe of Manasseh crossed over armed before the children of Israel, as Moses had spoken to them. 13 About forty thousand prepared for war crossed over before the Lord for battle, to the plains of Jericho. 14 On that day the Lord exalted Joshua in the sight of all Israel; and they feared him, as they had feared Moses, all the days of his life.