I read about a couple who signed on for a whitewater rafting trip down the middle fork of the Salmon River in Idaho, through an impassable canyon of solid granite. No way in. No way out, other than the river.
They shot the rapids by day and ate gourmet meals by night, which by the way, is my idea of camping. But the environmental restrictions were strict.
Absolutely nothing could be left at any campsite. Rafters could pass through the canyon, but could leave no sign that humans had stayed in the canyon.
I understand that we humans often abuse what our environment. But it would be impossible to erase all signs of the presence of humans in the canyon, whether it be a thin strand of hair or a tiny droplet of blood. We all leave a trail wherever we go.
God told Joshua to command his twelve leaders to bring twelve stones from the floor of the Jordan River, one for each of the twelve tribes. The stones were stacked together as a sign, a marker at the very place where God had demonstrated His power.
The Lord knew that sometime in the future, Israel’s children would ask for an explanation, and they were to tell them of the suffering and captivity of the Egypt years, leaving Egypt, crossing the desert and the rivers to the Promised Land. “In the future your children will ask, ‘What do these stones mean?’ Then you can tell them, ‘This is where the Israelites crossed the Jordan on dry ground.’ For the Lord your God dried up the river right before your eyes, just as He did the Red Sea.”
Joshua concluded by saying, “God did this so all the nations of the earth might know that the Lord’s hand is powerful, and so you might fear the Lord your God forever.”
So, they piled up the stones, signifying God’s work among His people. And we’re still telling the story.
You and I are all leaving stones along our path, much like those people who took that raft down the Salmon River. What story do those stones tell to those around us? Do the memorial stones of our lives show that the Lord’s hand is mighty? Do we fear the Lord? Is God glorified through our lives?
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Willie Jordan (Mrs. Fred Jordan)