Joshua: Day 18

Altars of Remembrance

by

Today's Text: Joshua 22:1-34, 2 Corinthians 1:21-22, Psalm 7:8-11

Text: Joshua 22:1-34, 2 Corinthians 1:21-22, Psalm 7:8-11

“I’ve never been asked to play Dixie® Cups before!” said my grandmother… and, well, most people.

It was my favorite childhood game: stealing the box of mouthwash cups from the bathroom, then dumping its contents onto the table and standing the paper cups to attention.

It was like playing a game of “Memory”—the object was to find the cup that matched the one in my hand. Except my game was better, because instead of only one possible match, there were probably twenty. Once a match was made, I’d add the pair to my prized, yet toppling, tower of cups.

Clearly my game did not require superior memory skills, but that little tower was a comforting sight nonetheless. I loved to remember that the odds were stacked in my favor. I needed to remember that.

The eastern tribes of Israel needed to remember, too. They’d wandered in the wilderness—twice!—but their journey was also bookended with two miraculous water crossings. As they crossed the Jordan River, they came across giant stones—ones they never would have seen without God making a way for them in the river. Marking each as a promise kept from the Lord, they began to stack them, creating an altar of remembrance. Each river stone said, God brought you out of the wilderness and carried you through this river. Remember this.

They were just rocks, and yet, they were so much more. Unlike an altar built for idol-worshipping, this was a token shouting out the one true God’s faithfulness, created in His presence and stacked high for all to see.

“It is to be a witness between us and you, and between the generations after us, so that we may carry out the worship of the Lord in His presence with our burnt offerings, sacrifices, and fellowship offerings.”
-Joshua 22:27

A witness. The rocks their feet had walked across in obedience also bore witness to the grace of the Father, who makes small things significant and significant things small.

My Dixie cup towers were small yet significant, too—filled with joy, yet paper and disposable. It would’ve been easy for anyone to assume that my toppling tower was begging to be thrown away, when that wasn’t part of the game at all. Small and significant things are also easily misunderstood.

When the western tribes of Israel encountered the eastern tribes’ altars of remembrance, they mistook them for a sign of aggression. They even began preparing for civil war! Oops. They couldn’t have known what the rocks meant. They couldn’t have seen their mistake. The Israelites, like you and I, were trying the best they could! But they were confused.

Don’t worry—the tribes came together to discuss the matter, and fears fizzled as they recalled the Truth they held in common. “Yahweh is the God of gods! Yahweh is the God of gods!” (Joshua 22:22). They remembered what we are learning: The humans in the story may be confused, but the God of the story is sovereign and good.

Where there is human confusion, Christ is our resolve. Where we build towers, He seals hearts. While we build temporary remembrances of God, He has already created a permanent remembrance within us. “He has also sealed us and given us the Spirit as a down payment in our hearts” (2 Corinthians 1:21-22).

Whether we walk in wilderness, or find a miraculous crossing, or build towers in His name, may we continue to put our trust and hope in God alone.

SRT-Joshua-Instagram18s

  • Keri McCue

    “judge me, O Lord, according to my righteousness” – I love this passage of Psalm. I so often forget to pray for the Lord to judge my heart, to sift out the bitterness and selfishness and to replace it with love and servanthood. Lord, judge us today and show us the error in our ways. Remind us of what we have been learning!

    http://www.lttlelightonahill.com

  • Joshua 22:5 is such a timely and powerful reminder for our lives, individually and collectively.
    Joy comes from knowing we are a few who bravely type out our thoughts for others to read, while many others remain silent but observe and agree or disagree.

    Yesterday I read in chapters 20 and 21 of the designation of five different cities of refuge. I began to wonder if these were the first “jails” in our world – places where accidental and unintentional killers (AAUK) may find protection until they were given trial by local assembly and rendered a judgement for their actions. These AAUK remained confined in these cities of refuge until the high priest in office died. So were these also the first places where “assylum” became available?

    And then today, reading of the beginning of a seeping distrust within Israel’s society based on the physical and visual actions of those east of the Jordan river as they built an alter because they feared in the future their descendants would be prevented the worshiping of God. We see Israel showing they begin (again?) relying upon physical evidence for proof of faith and worship of the one true God.

    It is so interesting to me how we continue to require physical evidence as proof of our faith. How we count our successes and achievements in life by the physical things we have done, and how difficult it becomes to quantify our worth when our contributions are less tangible or in fact intangible.

    It all points back to remembering to love one another, and not succumbing to hate. Love always. In clear and easy times, love. In cloudy and difficult times, love. Just love.

  • The rocks their feet had walked across in obedience also bore witness to the grace of the Father, who makes small things significant and significant things small. – there is soooo much in that statement. This devotional today was a balm for my weary soul. God is in control and the things that looks significant to us are small to Him!

    • She Reads Truth

      Yes, yes, yes. So grateful for this truth, Aimee. Thanks for reading along!

      xoxo-Kaitlin

  • Diane Huntsman

    The humans in the story may be confused, but the God of the story is sovereign and good.

  • “None perfect but the Father…” This was the mantra of an old friend of mine, and it applies today . Prayer will help our new leader lead, even as HIS will is made perfect in our weakness (thank you, Crystal, for that reminder…) Our loving Father has used many broken vessels in mighty ways, and is still working in our world! And we are ALL broken…

  • We do need reminders in our life, of the great things God has done. Bookends, Ebenezers, milestones to point back to God’s presence in our lives. Great story today. (I think the reading is supposed to be through verse 34 – not 24 – in Joshua 22 – otherwise you don’t get the whole story!)

    • She Reads Truth

      Yes, Cfab! Thanks for pointing that out. (And you’re right—the reading has been corrected!!)

      xoxo-Kaitlin

  • Stephanie

    How needed this passage was today. He is the God of gods! A call to remembrance of trust and belief.
    I need prayer if you think of it, I was unjustly fired from my job last night. I have been there over two years and thought I was getting called in for praise for how well I was doing, but instead got told to get out, I was done.
    I have been praying most of last night, and I know God is going to turn this around for His glory, I would appreciate some prayers if you think of it.

    • Cindy

      Prayers…. That’s a hard place, but God knows and cares….

    • Kimberly

      Praying for you this morning, Stephanie. God is for you, he is not against you! You are loved!!

    • Taime'

      Praying for you right now sister. Especially to find a place of peace in this storm ( either a quick ending as God speaks “peace be still”) or peace in the bottom of the boat , napping in the arms of God.

    • Rhonda

      Praying, Stephanie…God’s peace and guidance to you. May you seek to see HIS Finger Prints in Your Story.

    • Sara

      Praying for you, Stephanie.

    • churchmouse

      Praying for you Stephanie. God is your provider and He will also be your vindicator.

  • Robin W.

    I love that the two sides were able to work through their misunderstandings and that war wasn’t necessary. My hope and prayer moving forward is that we, Christian women, with influence more powerful than we probably understand, would come together and show our nation that something bigger is at play here. “By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.” – John 13:35 ❤️

  • Crystal

    I love this. I believe God has big plans for this nation and answered some very bold prayers this week. Just like He used imperfect people in history, he is in control and will restore our nation if we continue to cry out and seek his will. He is made perfect in our weakness, and I am so thankful to him for that!

  • Amen – Bless the Lord! His mercy truly does endure FOREVER. I am grateful that He is in control, even when we can only see chaos and discord. I am praying for our nation.

  • Brenda DiCicco

    This was so necessary this morning and made me feel a lot better. After the election results yesterday, all I seem to be hearing is negative things. This reminded me that God is in charge.

  • churchmouse

    Ahhhh Kaitlin, your devotion is balm to my soul this morning. Like many others I was not pleased with the candidates we had for the presidency. How to wisely choose? How to honor God with my vote? “The humans in the story may be confused , but the God of the story is sovereign and good.” In the aftermath of the election, there are protests in the streets. Unity and common ground seem wishful thinking. “Where there is human confusion, Christ is our resolve.” Large questions loom about the future of our country. The problems seem insurmountable. How can an earthly leader possibly be wise enough? Sigh. What do I do now, in my little corner of this world? I do the same thing I did on November 7 and November 8 and November 9 and November 10 and will do yet again tomorrow. I pray. I pray to the God whose Word will never pass away. I pray to the God who delivers on all His promises. I pray to the God who knows exactly what He’s doing. He brought the Israelites out of the wilderness and carried them through the river. He will also today carry those who believe in Him. He will bring us through and out. He is sovereign. He is our resolve. Let my prayers and my life be my witness.

    • Susan

      Amen

      • Caroline

        Well said! This was a timely reminder that regardless of the confusion of our circumstances, God is in control and has gone before us as our conqueror.

    • candacejo

      I agree, churchmouse. God is still God no matter what the outcome of the election or the events that follow. It might get worse, we don’t know but that doesn’t mean He is not ultimately in control. No matter what we face here in this life we that believe in the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ, have HOPE. Hope that doesn’t rest on a candidate, a president or winners or losers. Our hope is in God alone and He promised to never leave us or forsake us, regardless of what we may go through here on this earth.
      He walks on the waters!
      He speaks to the sea!
      He stands in the fire BESIDE ME
      He roars as the lion!
      He bled as the lamb!
      He carries my healing in His hand
      Jesus
      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cEbQswNB6Wc&list=FLTgZ8BFIfIOfZCkwQFsHI_g&index=8

      • Kellie

        Really love reading your thoughts today, ladies! Thankful for this community and the encouragement we find here, as well as the continual reminders to fix our eyes on Jesus.

    • Heather (MNmomma)

      Amen! Amen! Amen! Very well said <3

    • Mamajonk

      Amen!!

    • Taime'

      That will preach! Amen!

    • Cynthia

      Well put,Churchmouse! Glory to God!

    • Rhonda

      Well said…thank you. You spoke my heart this morning.

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