Last week, the NETwork and Common Good teams gathered together for a thanksgiving lunch and spent some time sharing all the things we’re grateful to God for this year – it was a long list! Here’s a summary of the devotional message Sarah Binos, our executive director, shared with us.
First read Joshua 4:1-9
1. “When all the people had completely crossed over the Jordan” (Joshua 4:1): Israel was now on the other side of the Jordan – in the Promised Land. But what is life in the Promised Land like? Is it one glorious vacation time after another? No! For Israel it was a place of battle, but most of all, it was a place of trust. They knew they had to trust God with every thing they had, because the challenges only got bigger in the Promised Land – but so did the blessings.
Most of us would have wanted to rush on through and take care of Jericho – why not take advantage of the time when they are all afraid of you? But God is never in a hurry; and He knows that beyond us doing something, we must be something for Him. So He takes time out to conquer Israel spiritually before they can conquer Jericho under His guidance.
2. “Take for yourselves twelve stones from here, out of the midst of the Jordan, from the place where the priests’ feet stood firm” (Joshua 4:3): Each tribe was to send a representative to take a stone – undoubtedly a large one – from the dry river bed where Israel had crossed over, so the stones could be set up as a memorial.
3. “That this may be a sign among you when your children ask in time to come” (Joshua 4:6): The purpose of this memorial was so that the people of Israel could teach their children about the great things God had done, so that the work of God would not be forgotten among the generations.
We often fail in our trust of God because we forget the great things He has done, and often the faith of our children is weak because they have never been told how great God is and how real His working is in our lives.
4. “Then Joshua set up twelve stones in the midst of the Jordan” (Joshua 4:9): Joshua also set up a pile of memorial stones in the very bed of the river Jordan, so that when it was lowered in a season of drought, those stones could be seen and would testify of the time that God had completely dried up the Jordan. Especially in a time of drought, we need to remember the great things God has done.
It’s so important that like Joshua we create monuments that remind us regularly of what God has done through us and of his goodness. Crossing into this next year, we’re going to face bigger challenges and secure bigger victories as God continues to refine us and transform us. Let’s take a moment now, before the next year begins, to identify what our ‘stones of gratitude’ are so that we may remember God’s faithfulness going forward.
Later this week, we’ll post some of the messages of gratitude we wrote down during our team lunch and stacked as a monument to God’s goodness this year. We hope this has inspired you to take a moment to thank God – and build a mini-monument while you’re at it 🙂
(Photography by Sjoerd Mouissie, via Flickr.com)