Chapters 3 and 4 or Joshua, he begins to enact the plan set out in chapter 2 – the crossing over the Jordan into the Promised land. There are a couple of interesting things in this passage:
They key to Joshua’s success is once again his obedience to God, and the fact that God has appointed him to lead. His leadership had begun already but it is in the act that his leadership is recognised by the people. God has honored Joshua’s place in the eyes of the people.
3:7 And the LORD said to Joshua, “Today I will begin to exalt you in the eyes of all Israel, so they may know that I am with you as I was with Moses.
4:14 That day the LORD exalted Joshua in the sight of all Israel; and they revered him all the days of his life, just as they had revered Moses.
God has not only equipped him for this task and encouraged him in it (be strong and courageous), but God has authenticated his leadership in the eyes the people too. The crossing of the Jordan is a re-inactment of the escape from Egypt and crossing of the Red Sea in similarly dramatic circumstances – a sign of God’s rescue and the fulfillment of his promise to give them a land of their own.
Secondly, As they cross the River Jordan, the people are instructed to set out stones, a cairn of sorts. These are to serve as a reminder of God’s action in the Israelite history.
4:6-7 Each of you is to take up a stone on his shoulder, according to the number of the tribes of the Israelites, 6 to serve as a sign among you. In the future, when your children ask you, ‘What do these stones mean?’ tell them that the flow of the Jordan was cut off before the ark of the covenant of the LORD. When it crossed the Jordan, the waters of the Jordan were cut off. These stones are to be a memorial to the people of Israel forever.
Again this is good leadership, looking to the future and a time when the past actions of God might be forgotten, Joshua at God’s prompting orders a memorial to be set up, so future generations will be reminded of God’s character and actions. What can we do to ensure that we remember and hold onto God’s action in our lives?