The men of Kiryat Jearim (City of the Forests) came and took up the ark of the LORD and brought it into the house of Abinadab on the hill where it stayed for 20 years. We could actually look out our window and see this site where the ark had been. Now there is a monastery and church built on top of it, called the Lady of the Ark. Oddly a large statue of Mary standing on the ark is visible from a distance. There is a spring nearby amongst the houses, which would’ve made it a good place to live with a water source. And yes, the hill country of Jerusalem can get snow once or twice a year, and it’s fun! 😊
“Samuel spoke to all the house of Israel, “If you return to the LORD with all your hearts, then put away the foreign gods and the Ashtoreths from among you, and prepare your hearts for the LORD, and serve Him only; and He will deliver you from the hand of the Philistines.” (1 Samuel 7:3) (Applies to modern day relics too!) So, the Philistines were subdued. Samuel judged Israel all the days of his life. (7:15) However, like Eli, Samuel’s sons did not walk in his ways and perverted justice causing the people to ask for a king like the other nations. After warnings the people still insisted on a king to judge them and God allowed them as they’d rejected Him as their king.
Later on, there was a messianic king rejected in Jerusalem. Luke 24 ends with Jesus being raised from the dead. And interestingly, that same day two apostles were traveling to a village called Emmaus, which is 7 miles from Jerusalem. Many believe this to be the site of Kiryat Jearim where the ark resided, as it’s 7 miles from Jerusalem!
As they walked along the way, he said to them, “O foolish ones, and slow of heart to believe in all that the prophets have spoken! Ought not the Christ to have suffered these things and to enter into His glory? And beginning at Moses and all the prophets, he explained to them in all the Scriptures the things concerning himself.” (Luke 24:25-27) Wouldn’t that have been a good listen of what Jesus explained?!
Later on, he was “carried up into heaven. They worshipped him, and returned to Jerusalem with great joy, and were continually in the temple praising and blessing God. Amen.” (24:51,52)
Do we recognize and honor God and Jesus as kings in our lives?
Do we accept and turn to them for authority in our lives or reject them and turn to others?
Things don’t always go as planned. The Israelites thought taking the ark of the covenant with them into battle against the Philistines would cause them to win, except the ark was captured and taken by their enemies! For 7 months the ark remained with them. They said, “The ark of the God of Israel must not remain with us, for His hand is harsh toward us and Dagon our god.” (1 Samuel 5:7) God sent deadly destruction in their cities and plagues of tumors. The Philistines sent the ark back on a cart. It was the wheat harvest when the people of Bet-Shemesh rejoiced to see the ark’s return. EXCEPT, the LORD struck many who looked inside to see what was in the ark of the covenant. And the men of Bet-Shemesh said, “Who is able to stand before this holy LORD God? And to whom shall it go up from us?” (6:20) Thus the Israelites in Bet-Shemesh were ready to depart with it also! God is all powerful and holy and should be treated as such.
Here is a picture of Bill teaching students (20+ yrs. ago;) on Bet-Shemesh with the valley in the background where the ark of the covenant would’ve come up from the Philistines. Also, one can see how there would’ve been wheat fields nearby. (The hometown of Samson is on the hill in the distance). It’s so neat how most of the biblical sites still hold their same name today, 1,000s of years later! It’s evidence to show these are real events that occurred.
Some of these rarer Bible stories are found in the Arch Book children’s series, and they’re even written in rhythm. There are 134 different volumes. I don’t have all of them but many over the years. They can make nice gifts to family or friends. 😊
“Take firm hold of instruction, do not let go; keep her, for she is your life.
Do not enter the path of the wicked, and do not walk in the way of evil.”
“My son, give attention to my words: incline your ear to my sayings.
Do not let them depart from your eyes; keep them in the midst of your heart.
For they are life to those who find them, and health to all their flesh.
Keep your heart with all diligence, for out of it flows the springs of life.”
Are their areas of our lives we need to reexamine that we’ve slacked off on?
Maybe certain instructions we’ve slowly been letting go of that we need to take ahold of again?
Are their others we need to forgive that we haven’t? On the cross Jesus prayed, “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they do.” (Luke 23:34)
In Revelation 11 John is told to measure God’s Temple and the altar, and the people worshipping there – except the outer court. We never learn that John reported or used these measurements, perhaps it is all a complex object lesson. (Later an angel also measures the New Jerusalem, see 21:15.) Still, the fact of doing this made John walk over every part of the Temple, and it took time. Ezekiel 40‑42 seems to list what he needed to measure – with the addition of the worshippers, and I don’t know how he did that. The whole scene also creates another lengthy pause for John in the vision, which is hard to visualize when reading.
John then learns about the Two Witnesses, who sound like a combination of Elijah with Moses and Aaron. The ability to breathe fire, while new for prophets, fits well if these verses are taken as part of the second woe. Reading about their authority it could seem odd that the nations will walk over Jerusalem and the Temple’s outer court in that time, rather than being driven away. But the witnesses will be in sackcloth for mourning. It will not be their role to drive out all the wicked, but to speak truth. The choice of what happened to the city belonged to its population. Their miracles will strike against those who seek to kill them, and back up their statements, but their basic ministry will be in their words.
And “when they have finished their testimony” the witnesses will be killed in Jerusalem. It is quite the image to think of wicked people celebrating ‘Happy Two Witnesses Day’ and exchanging gifts, perhaps commemorative shirts or mugs. But the wicked will have rejoiced in error. In the immediate aftermath thousands in Jerusalem will die, but the rest “gave glory to God.” Maybe those giving glory will be the first fruit of the witnesses’ ministries at that time. If so, I think they will be welcomed to the truth with joy, and the witnesses will count their own deaths as worthwhile. But I believe that the testimony of what these two will faithfully do has already brought great good, before they have even begun to prophesy – that is one of the strange potentials with prophecy about prophets.
The blowing of the Seventh Trumpet is answered with voices from heaven. The kingdom of the world has become the kingdom of our Lord and of His Christ! God, the Almighty, has begun to reign! But it seems like God will be reigning over a world that is still populated by many of the wicked. If the seventh trumpet launches the third woe there is a lot of damage to come, although nothing more is said about that here. John has been told he needs to “prophesy again,” and perhaps it will be necessary to go backward to gain traction to go forward. The three-and-a-half year period which is discussed early in chapter 11 will come up again in chapters 12 and 13. While many people see the seven trumpets as leading into the woeful seven bowls of the wrath of God that is not for several more chapters.
Chapter 11 closes with another reference to the Temple in heaven, as it opens to reveal the ark of the covenant. I think that for the equivalent of the Holy of Holies in the heavenly tabernacle to open says the separation between God and mankind is being reduced or eliminated. This may not be a safe thing for the general population. Rather than a promise of blessings about to pour onto the world, it may mean that holiness will be called for.
Lord, I see in John and the unnamed witnesses people who understood servanthood, who accepted the risks in following Jesus and were completely committed. Allow me to be as humble and as brave as one of your prophets. I don’t need to tell the future. Please let me grow into that passion to do what you desire of me, guided by your Spirit, living in your love, serving in faith, working toward hope. May your will be done. Amen.
What good can come from the prophecy of the coming of the Two Witnesses before they have even come? What do you personally gain from looking into the book of Revelation? Who do you know who could potentially benefit from knowing what is in this revelation? Pray for them, and for your faithfulness as a servant of God.
What are your thoughts and feelings about the separation between God and mankind being reduced or eliminated? Why?
Once again David planned to bring up the ark to Jerusalem. However, this time he found out how to do it properly. The last time he had good intentions, but did not do it the way God intended it to be done. “Then David said, ‘No one may carry the ark of God but the Levites, for the LORD has chosen them to carry the ark of God and to minister before Him forever.” (15:2) Previously, he had it put on a new cart, and it was always ONLY to be carried by the Levites. “The LORD broke out against us, because we did not consult Him about the proper order.” (15:13) After waiting and seeking the proper way GOD WANTED it done, THEN there was much celebration and joy this time since it was done according to God’s way. It even says, “God helped the Levites who bore the ark of the covenant.” (15:26) The proper way was written down years ago in Exodus 25:13, but His ways can be forgotten if we don’t read and study them. For us too, it’s always good to consult God and do it His way. There are so many things that we think and seem are right, but it’s not actually the way God planned it. Let’s be open to read the Scriptures and seek Him in prayer in the way we should go.
After the ark arrived in Jerusalem there was much rejoicing. I do not have a picture today of a site because I want you to image what it was like seeing and hearing the people praising the LORD. It was not only sites and sounds, but smells too! There were numerous burnt offerings before God. We often do not think of what it would have smelled like with all the burnt offerings. Then David blessed the LORD God of Israel with song. In fact, it is a combination of 3 different Psalms; 105:1-15, 96:1-13 (all), and 106:1, 47. “Do not touch My anointed ones (messiahs), and do My prophets no harm.” (16:22) “For the LORD is great and greatly to be praised; He is also to be feared about all god. For all the gods of the peoples are idols, but the LORD made the heavens.” (16:25,26) “Blessed be the LORD God of Israel from everlasting to everlasting!” (16:36)
“Do not rejoice when your enemy falls, and do not let your heart be glad when he stumbles; lest the LORD see it, and it displease Him, and He turn away His wrath from him.” (Proverbs 24:17) That’s just what David experienced when King Saul died. He mourned for Saul and asked others to do so also. He wrote a lament and said to teach it to the children. In fact, all 6th grade Israeli school children, secular and religious are required to memorize David’s lament in 2 Samuel 1:19-27 to this day. Our children memorized it also along with the other Israeli school children. The picture is taken at one of our children’s school programs often celebrating biblical holidays. (As you can see there is limited seating and many children sat on the floor for the program.) It is neat in Israel by being a Jewish nation the Old Testament is studied as a subject in all the schools starting in 2nd grade until graduation. The public schools there are not anti-God or Bible, which is a good thing. “My son, fear the LORD and the king.” (24:21) We pray more will come to understand Jesus as their king along with the LORD God of Israel.
I was a teenager when the movie Raiders of the Lost Ark first hit the theatres. It instantly became one of my all-time favorite movies. I love the Indiana Jones character and this particular adventure, searching for the Ark of the Covenant, was especially cool to me because it drew from Biblical themes. The Ark of the Covenant was a real thing containing real power. What would happen if it was found and fell into the wrong hands, like the Nazi’s? It was a great story. It got pretty intense toward the end when they tried to open the Ark. Spoiler alert: it doesn’t end well for the Nazi’s.
The Nazi’s in the story should have spent less time plotting the genocide of the Jews and global domination and more time reading their Bibles, because the story of the Ark in 1 Samuel 5-6 should have discouraged them from having anything to do with the Ark. (I know, Raiders of the Lost Ark is fiction- but what happens to the Philistines in today’s reading is True).
One thing we know from reading the Bible is that God doesn’t like to share His glory with idols. God is the one True God and He alone created everything, gives life, sends rain to produce crops and blesses people with fertility. God takes it very personally when people build statues for other “so called” gods and give them credit for sending rain or helping babies to be born.
I find the story of the Philistines stealing the Ark of the Covenant and bringing it in the temple of their “god” Dagon humorous. Dagon was the main god of the Philistines and they offered sacrifices to Dagon so that they could have fertility- their cattle, and their wives. They wanted lots of cattle to feed their bellies, and they wanted lots of sons to grow up and serve in the army to fight their enemies. So they prayed and offered sacrifices to Dagon so that Dagon would make their cows and their wives fertile.
We might excuse the ignorance of the Philistines because maybe they didn’t know any better, maybe no one told them the Truth about the True God. But God made it quite clear to His chosen people, Israel, that they were to worship and serve God alone. But they were often tempted to worship other gods. Several stories in the Old Testament show how God was superior and defeated other “so called” gods. Elijah called down fire from heaven and defeated the prophets of Baal. Samson’s last act after he had been captured and blinded was to push down the pillars of the temple to Dagon and kill a bunch of the Philistines. And here, when the Ark of the Covenant is brought into another temple of Dagon, The statue of Dagon falls down the first time, then falls down again breaking the idol into pieces. The Philistines of that town are afraid so they send the Ark to another town. There, everybody gets tumors and they end up in a panic. Everywhere the stolen Ark is taken trouble comes to the Philistines, so finally they bring the Ark back to Israel along with a guilt offering (golden tumors and rats, what a thoughtful gift).
The Philistines had trouble discerning fact from fiction- the true God, YHWH, the God of Israel, vs. Dagon, a statue that was quite brittle when it fell to the ground.
Truth matters. In today’s reading in John 18, after Jesus is arrested and brought to trial, he appears before Pilate, who is the highest representative of the Roman Empire in the region who ultimately decides all capital cases, who lives and who dies.
Pilate is a politician caught between his boss, Caesar, who has tasked him to keep the Jewish people in line and the Jewish people who can turn on him and cause trouble. He has to carefully consider the political implications of what he’s being asked to do. Like many politicians and people in charge, he is more of a pragmatist than anything else. What is going to work out to my best interests here? He asks Jesus some questions and Jesus gives an answer that he finds quaint. Jesus answered: “The reason I was born and came into the world is to testify to the truth. Everyone on the side of truth listens to me.”
Truth? How naïve. You might imagine the amusement (or scorn) in Pilate’s response when he asks Jesus: “What is Truth?”
If the idea of truth was a quaint notion to a first century Roman politician, it’s become reviled and scorned by 20th and 21st century intellectuals. We live in a time of Postmodernism. Absolute truth has been replaced by relativism. Truth is whatever the people who have the power to control government, the news, the arts and higher education say it is. Truth is what Facebook, or Twitter, or Google’s “fact checkers” say it is.
Whether you and I like it or not we are in the midst of a culture war. It’s the same one that’s been going on since the serpent tempted Eve to question God. It’s the same one that was going on in the temple of Dagon when the stolen Ark was brought in, it’s the same one that was going on when the Jewish leaders lied about Jesus and brought him to Rome to be condemned and executed, it’s the one that was going on when Pilate asked, “What is truth?” It’s going on today in a society where the things we’ve always believed about God and virtue, right and wrong, and pretty obvious things like basic human biology, are all being questioned and redefined. Gender isn’t about biology it is a social construct. If you start introducing facts or science or Truth, you will receive as much scorn as Jesus received from Pilate. But it is a culture war and Jesus told Pilate that there are two sides: one side is false and the other is true. Jesus said that if you are on the side of Truth you listen to Jesus. Pilate chose his side, and so he did what was politically correct and had Jesus crucified to appease the Jewish people. The question you and I must ask ourselves is whose side am I on? Am I on the side of Truth, that listens to the words of Jesus? Pick a side.
Today’s Bible reading can be read or listened to at BibleGateway here – 1 Samuel 5-6 and John 18
The Tabernacle played a very important role for the Jews before the Temple era. The Tabernacle served as the central area where the Jews worshiped God. Therefore, it was important that the Tabernacle was well taken care of. We discussed two days ago that the Levites were responsible for the upkeep of the Tabernacle. Although not all the tribes participated in the actual work of the upkeep of the Tabernacle, the tribes did provide gifts for the Tabernacle. When we think about the church today, we may not all partake in the physical upkeep of the church building. However, we should follow the example set in Numbers 7, and everyone should provide for the needs of the church.
After 88 verses describing the different gifts that the tribes presented to the Tabernacle, Moses communicates with God. Moses went into the tent of meeting (the Tabernacle), and God spoke to Moses from above the mercy seat that was on the Ark of the Covenant. The Ark of the Covenant represented the presence of God to the Israelites, and it was an extremely important artifact for the Israelites. I, along with Indiana Jones, have often wondered where in the world the Ark of the Covenant is located today.
Chapter eight talks more about the responsibilities of the Levites. Not only were the Levites responsible for the upkeep of the Tabernacle, but they were responsible for serving the people of Israel at the Tabernacle. The upkeep of the Tabernacle and the upkeep of our church buildings are important, but it is all for naught if we neglect the people of God. Therefore, let these two chapters serve as a reminder to provide for our church buildings, but also more importantly to care for the people of God.
A note from Psalms:
“But for you, O LORD, do I wait; it is you, O Lord my God, who will answer.” Psalm 38:15
Praise God that we serve a good God who hears and answers our prayers. God may not always answer our prayers the way we want or expect to, but he will provide an answer. Sometimes, we need to remember to wait on the LORD.
Once the temple was finished, they brought in the ark of the covenant. It was brought into the inner sanctuary of the house, to the Holy of Holies. When the priests (who had sanctified themselves) had come out, and the group praised the LORD, His glory filled the temple and the priests couldn’t perform their service because of His great glory.
That concept of how great the glory of the LORD is hard to comprehend for me. On one of our Zoom calls for the youth group recently, we watched a video on holiness. There were some interesting points in it, and a good analogy on how to better understand God’s holiness and why we can’t be too close (watch the video here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=l9vn5UvsHvM). We cannot get too close to God because we are impure, and He is perfect. People had to purify themselves to come into the temple. And for the Holy of Holies, or Most Holy Place, separated by a veil, the purified high priest could only enter once per year on the Day of Atonement when the whole nation asked God for forgiveness of their sins.
The good news for us is that we live in a time after Jesus interceded. When he died, that veil was torn, and we can now come to God instead of the high priest, and we can come without having to go through those same purifying rituals. I forget sometimes what a blessing that is. Because of Jesus being our mediator, we can go to God and receive forgiveness from our sins by request, not through sacrificial offerings. We have never had to live in a time where it was different, but can you imagine it? Thinking of this helps to remind me of how amazing Jesus’ sacrifice was.
If you haven’t already, you can stop reading in 1 Kings 8 at verse 12 and pick up there tomorrow to read a similar account in 2 Chronicles.
If a tree falls in the forest, does it make any sound?
This is what I think of when I read 1 Samuel 4-8. The Israelites and Philistines seem to think that the presence of the ark of the covenant is equivalent to God being present and vice versa, if the ark is not anywhere around, God must be absent. The ark of the covenant is merely a physical and tangible symbol of God’s presence. And while it is true that some amazing things took place while the ark was in possession of the Israelites, it wasn’t always a guarantee that having it around would lead to a win. That my friends, is called manipulation. It’s honoring the thing rather than the Creator.
I feel like I might have shared this story with some of you before, but here I go again. Many years ago, I was out on the lake with some friends. It was a gorgeous day and we were wake boarding. I was out in the water waiting for the boat driver to circle around and I just started praying out loud, not loud enough for others to hear me, but it was obvious that my lips were moving. After I had gotten back into the boat, a friend asked me what I was talking about and I just responded, “I was praying”. And her response has stuck with me, “You can pray out on a lake?” She wasn’t kidding, when she asked me that question. She really wasn’t a church goer but she had gone through Catholic Catechism. She was so used to the act of praying being limited to certain environments that praying on a lake was a new concept for her.
It’s easy sometimes to compartmentalize our lives. If we’re not careful, we may find ourselves dressing, speaking, and acting one way at home, another way at church, and another way at school or work. We can become chameleons in our environments in order to cast a persona that works for our benefit, instead of being our real and authentic selves.
What 1 Samuel 4-8 can teach us, if we’re willing to pay attention, is that no matter where we are, what we are doing, or who we are with, God is present. And our ever-present God desires to be our authority, our protector, our provider, our friend. Should we ever be insistent on wanting something else to stand in his place, that is our choice, but that does not mean that God goes away. He will always be there, wherever we are, whatever we’re doing, and whomever we’re with, loving us just the same as always.
During the building of the tabernacle, the tools and utensils were not holy. Everything was normal cloth or gold material until they were consecrated. Once Moses anointed and consecrated the tabernacle and the things that went in it, they were no longer normal objects. Instead, they were objects of God. If God can turn a simple lamp stand into a holy object, then what can He do with us? We can be made holy and set apart by God to serve a great purpose. As we have said many times, through the book of Numbers God seeks holiness for Himself and His people. This desire didn’t disappear when Jesus came into the world. God desires for us to be holy. Although we sin, God can redeem us just like He did with the tabernacle in Numbers 7.
There is a moment after the tabernacle is consecrated that the people of Israel begin to bring sacrifices and gifts. Among the gifts are six carts and 12 oxen that are going to be given to the Levites. Carts and oxen make moving things easier. This would be a pretty handy gift during the time of the wilderness as they move everything they have across the desert by hand! In verse 9, we see the sons of Kohath weren’t given any of the oxen and carts – what kind of rotten deal is that? Why didn’t any of the carts go to the sons of Kohath? The sons of Kohath were in charge of carrying the holy objects on their shoulders. Each heavy object in the tabernacle, including the Ark of the Covenant, was built with places for poles to slide into so that they could be carried by pole on the shoulders of the sons of Kohath. You may remember the story of Uzzah in 2 Samuel 6 when the Ark was going to be moved back into the city of Jerusalem after being gone for a long time. Notice in 2 Samuel 6:3 they placed the Ark, “on a new cart”. This was a big no-no. The Ark was not supposed to be put on a cart, but instead carried on poles like we see in the law. Then what happens? The Ark begins to fall off the cart on the way into the city and Uzzah, who was just trying to help by catching the Ark, died right as he touched it. God’s holiness can’t be infringed upon. Albeit easier, you don’t put the Ark on a cart. This is why no carts where given to the sons of Kohath. They didn’t need carts to assist in the moving of the holy objects of the tabernacle. Isn’t it interesting how the Bible connects in such unique places? Who knew that around 400 years after God gave the command to not move the holy objects on carts that Uzzah would learn the severity of breaking the command.
The rest of chapter 7 sound maybe like Pete and Repeat wrote it. These aren’t particularly exciting verses and the gifts of each tribe are the same. Between verse 10 and 83, the tribes, their gifts and their offerings are listed. After 12 days of offerings the total was: 12 silver dishes, 12 silver bowls (a total of 2,400 shekels of silver), 12 gold pans (a total of 120 shekels of gold), 12 bulls, 12 rams, 12 male lambs 1year old, 12 grain offerings, 12 male goats, 24 bulls for peace offerings, 60 rams, & 60 male goats for peace offerings (a total of 192 animals). The Israelites would have given a total of around $16,000 in silver and around $71,500 in gold. What a great out pouring from the sons of Israel to God in celebration and honor of the new tabernacle.
After the anointing of the tabernacle and 12 days of offerings, one of the coolest things I can imagine happened to Moses in verse 89. God spoke to Moses from above the Ark of the Covenant. Finally, after all the effort that has gone into getting the Israelites out of Egypt, God now has a place to dwell with His people. The time has come when God speaks to Moses from among His people. No longer does Moses have to travel to the top of a mountain to speak to God. God has moved even closer to His people today. We don’t have to travel to a temple in Jerusalem to be with God because, as we see in the New Testament, we are God’s temple (1 Corinthians 6:19). God can now dwell among us in a more personal way; He has moved into the hearts of His people. We have been anointed and sanctified by the blood of Jesus to become the new temple that God dwells in. We see an ever moving forward march by God to be closer to His people. It started with the tabernacle, then into the hearts of men in the time of the New Testament and now. In the future, we have the hope of God dwelling with us in person in the kingdom! He is with us now in the power of the Spirit that moves among us but, at the time of the restoration of all things, God is going to be with us like it was in the garden of Eden. Revelation 21 says that God is going to dwell among men. There is no part of the Bible without significance. All of it is connected because all of it is the word of God. God’s desires don’t change and He desires to be with us. The creator of the universe, the creator of the estimated 1,000,000,000,000,000,000,000 stars wants to be with you. To me, the realization of this fact is humbling and inspiring. Thank you, God!
As of yesterday’s devotion we left the Israelites consecrating themselves in preparation to see amazing things the Lord would do for them the following day. And, when the people were prepared – God was certainly ready to do His part. The last part of chapter 3 reads:
Now the Jordan is at flood stage all during harvest. Yet as soon as the priests who carried the ark reached the Jordan and their feet touched the water’s edge, the water from upstream stopped flowing. It piled up in a heap a great distance away, at a town called Adam in the vicinity of Zarethan, while the water flowing down to the Sea of the Arabah (that is, the Dead Sea) was completely cut off. So the people crossed over opposite Jericho.The priests who carried the ark of the covenant of the Lord stopped in the middle of the Jordan and stood on dry ground, while all Israel passed by until the whole nation had completed the crossing on dry ground. Joshua 3:15-17
What emoji would you choose if an Israelite just texted you that update on how their day was going? Surprise! Shock! Awe! It is an incredible account, isn’t it? When I read it I was sorry to hear that the Israelites crossing didn’t get to gaze upon the water that was “piled up in a heap” as that was about 20 miles upstream (NIV text note on 3:15). Wouldn’t that have been awe-inspiring! Why not, I thought. Perhaps God had planned to share this awesome display with those outside of the Israelite community – “so that all the people of the earth might know that the hand of the LORD is powerful.” (Joshua 4:24)
In chapter 4 we also have the rest of the story on the waters of the Jordan that had instantly dried up when the priests’ feet touched the waters’ edge. Could have been coincidence, someone might try to argue. Lots of busy beavers just upstream? But then Joshua 4:18 helps clear up any doubt: “And the priests came up out of the river carrying the ark of the covenant of the LORD. No sooner had they set their feet on the dry ground than the waters of the Jordan returned to their place and ran at flood stage as before.” This wasn’t the work of beavers or tides or circumstance. At just the precise time needed the flood waters unexplainably stopped – and then re-started, also, at precisely the correct time. This was the work of the Maker of Heaven and Earth and He was having fun doing amazing things for His consecrated people who had decided to be bold and courageous rather than cowering in fear and discouragement as their parents had.
Joshua followed the LORD’s direction to have each tribe take part in creating a rock tower to commemorate what the LORD did at the Jordan. This was done to keep the memory alive and spark conversation, down through the generations, of how Almighty God had provided just what they needed at just the right time. Joshua said their children would ask, “What do these stones mean?” (Joshua 4:6,21). It would be a great opportunity to tell of God’s power and provision for His people.
In what miraculous ways have you seen God at work? Perhaps on your own behalf, or someone you know, or even someone you read about – Biblical miracles still count today! What reminders do you have displayed for you and your family? What opportunities do you have to overflow with stories of God’s power and faithfulness? We must not forget God’s power. We must remember – and tell others. When we fear Him, we can be strong and courageous.