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Tuesday, May 21st, 2024
the Week of Proper 2 / Ordinary 7
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Bible Commentaries
Joshua 4

Smith's Bible CommentarySmith's Commentary

Verses 1-24

Jos 4:1-24 That this may be a sign among you that when your children ask their fathers in time to come, saying, What do you mean by these stones? You shall answer them, That the waters of Jordan were cut off before the ark of the covenant of the Lord; when it passed over Jordan, the waters of Jordan were cut off: and these stones shall be a memorial unto the children of Israel for ever. And so the children of Israel did as Joshua commanded ( Joshua 4:6-8 ),

It is interesting to me that God is desiring that His power, and His truth is transmitted to our children. That they not forget what God has done for us. It is sad and it is tragic that very few revivals ever go into a second generation.

Now I don't know if you know it or not, but we are experiencing here a marvelous revival. What God is doing in our midst is a spiritual phenomena that the whole world is looking at and talking about, because of God's marvelous work in our midst. There is a real move of God's Holy Spirit. God's raising up a whole new element of people, you might say. There are now over a hundred and fifty formal fellowships that have sort of sprung out of Calvary Chapel, plus hundreds of other informal fellowships that are developing.

One sociologist that was studying this whole thing that is happening said, "If the Lord doesn't come in the 1980s", he said, "at the rate things are going I anticipate that there will be ten thousand Calvary Chapels across the United States." God is working in a very beautiful way. We have had the excitement and the thrill of seeing God work. When you consider that we're only fourteen years old, and you look at what God has done. We just stand in amazement and in awe. But unfortunately there have been other moves of the Spirit like this in the history of the church that are marvelous. The people are there, they enjoy it, but rarely do they ever carry into a second generation. Because you see as we grow, it will be necessary to more or less begin to formalize things. To establish sort of codes and rules, and the minute you start putting the fences around it, then you're restricting that work that God wants to do.

When I die some fool will want to raise a memorial to Chuck Smith. We'll have a Chuck Smith gymnasium or something, you know. Oh God forbid. This should remain a memorial to Jesus Christ for what He has done never a memorial to any man. God keep us from that memorial state. Nobody needs to remember me; we need to remember the work that God has done. The monument wasn't built for Joshua, the monument was built so that the children would say, "Hey what's that pile of stones daddy?

"Those stones were once on the bottom of the Jordan River, and when we walked through, we picked up these stones out of the river. That's because God stopped the river so that we could come through. That's the kind of a God we serve." It was to remind them of the work of God.

Oh, that we will always keep that in the forefront of our minds, that the work that we see is not a work of man nor is it to the credit of any man. The work is to the glory of God. Let's keep our memorials unto the Lord for the work that He has wrought.

Now God seeks, actually, that we would pass on to our children His truths, His glory, His power. His method for doing this is by creating questions in the minds of the children. You ever wonder why a child is so inquisitive? That's been placed there by the Spirit. The purpose of that inquisitive mind of the child is that he may learn, teach him. Let your memorials be memorials that will allow you the opportunity to share the work of God, and the power of God. It is marvelous that we remember what God has done, but it is also important that we relate to our children who did not have the privilege of seeing that work that we saw, the work that God has wrought by His Holy Spirit.

So these stones were to create questions in the minds of the children, to give them the opportunity to share with their children the glorious power of God.

So Joshua [verse nine] set up twelve stones in the midst of Jordan, in the place where the feet of the priests that bare the ark of the covenant stood: they're there to this day ( Joshua 4:9 ).

Now it'd be fun-They set up two memorials. They took stones and set them in a pile in the Jordan River, and then they also set a pile up on a bank. It'd be fun to get some scuba gear, since they were there to that day, to see if the stones are still there in the Jordan River that Joshua set up.

Now the priests which bare the ark stood in the midst of Jordan, till every one was finished that the Lord commanded Joshua to speak to the people, all that Moses commanded Joshua: and the people hasted and passed over. And so it came to pass, when the people were clean passed over, the ark of the Lord passed over the priests, in the presence of the people. All the children of Reuben, Gad, Manasseh, about forty thousand of those two tribes prepared for war. On that day the Lord magnified Joshua in the sight of all Israel; they feared him, as they feared Moses, all the days of his life. And the Lord spoke unto Joshua, saying, Command the priests that they bear the ark of the testimony, that they come up out of Jordan. And when they were come up from the midst of Jordan, and the soles of the priests' feet were lifted up to the dry land, that the waters of Jordan returned unto their place, and overflowed their banks, as they did before. And the people came out of Jordan on the tenth day of the first month, they encamped in Gilgal, in the east border of Jericho. [So it is actually just four days prior to the Feast of Passover.] And those twelve stones, which they took out of Jordan, Joshua pitched in Gilgal. And he spoke to the children of Israel, saying, When your children will ask their fathers in time to come, saying, What do these stones mean? Then let your children know, saying, Israel came over this Jordan on dry land ( Joshua 4:10-22 ).

So the memorial by which they could share with their children the work of God.


Bibliographical Information
Smith, Charles Ward. "Commentary on Joshua 4". "Smith's Bible Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/csc/joshua-4.html. 2014.
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