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Memorial Stones - In His Grip - Week of May 18, 2015

Memorial Stones

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, [6] that this may be a sign among you. When your children ask in time to come, ‘What do those stones mean to you?’ [7] 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.” [8] 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. [9] 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. [10] 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 4:5-10 ESV)

Not everyone in your families knows what happened on Calvary. Some reading this do not even care. But new chapters open in families all of the time. Our parents have crossed over through their own pain and sorrow and we must now erect our own memorial stones. That monument of stones was designed first as a “sign” unto Israel. It was a message for their hearts via their eyes rather than ears. It was an enduring sermon in stone. It spoke of the goodness and power of God exercised on their behalf at the Jordan.

That word “sign” (v.6) is a very full one – it was to show that they had passed through the river's bed dry shod but not by their own ability. The stones were to become a memorial of what God did and an earnest pledge that he would do the same for all who pass through the river of judgment, that is the cross of Jesus. Every person in my family has heard the Gospel. There is not one who is with excuse. God will replay the video of your life including this little devotional will be a part of the playback. That monument was designed, not only as a memorial of what God did but also as promise of what was yet to come.

Memorials reflect a person’s life, his or her achievements, and are designed to elicit memories of what God has accomplished… that judgment was behind them and the Promised Land was ahead of them. The reason why those who trust in Christ will not come into condemnation is because Jesus was already condemned in our behalf. He took the watery grave in His own blood and the names of all who know Him are etched in those memorial stones.

As the Ark of the Covenant entered the river of death and judgment the flow of its waters was stopped until the ark had secured a safe passage for all who followed it. So Christ, the Ark of the New Covenant endured the unsparing wrath of God that by His atoning death those who enter into those waters by faith shall be delivered from all future judgment.

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For more information from In His Grip with Dr. Chuck F. Betters please visit

Originally published May 18, 2015.