“Take for yourselves twelve men from the people, 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. You shall carry them over with you and leave them in the lodging place where you lodge tonight.’”
— Joshua 4:2-3
Therefore we were buried with Him through baptism into death, that just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life.
— Romans 6:4
We like to do what we want, to be in control, but we are limited by the church life. We like to be free, but do we realize that we are spiritual stones? Crossing the Jordan indicates we have entered into resurrection, typified by the stones taken from the riverbed (Josh. 4:1–3). Yet we are also represented by the other group of stones which were left to be buried in the river (v. 9).
This is why we sometimes complain. Even as we are in resurrection, we experience death under the limitations in the church life. I have loved and served the Lord for many years, and during this time I have always experienced the Lord’s resurrection. During these same years I have also experienced being buried under the Jordan’s death waters. I die for the sake of the Lord’s testimony. I am able to declare, “Praise the Lord, I am in resurrection!” even as I am able to declare, “Praise the Lord, I am buried with Christ!”
Things take place in the church life that are not according to our way. No one likes to live in such a situation, yet because we are not independent stones, we have no choice. God, in His wisdom, had the twelve stones taken from the river and placed on the side of Gilgal. At the same time, twelve stones were set up in the Jordan as a reminder that the process we are in involves not only resurrection but also death and burial.
Adapted from Joshua: A Life of Service, pages 46-47.
Tomorrow: “Two Memorials (3)”