And it came to pass, when all the people had completely crossed over the Jordan, that the Lord spoke to Joshua, saying: 2“Take for yourselves twelve men from the people, one man from every tribe, 3and command them, saying, ‘Take for yourselves twelve stones from here, out of the midst of the Jordan, from the place where the priests’ feet stood firm. You shall carry them over with you and leave them in the lodging place where you lodge tonight.’” (Joshua 4:1-3 NKJV)Observation:
The Israelites finally get to cross the Jordan into the promised Land after forty years of walking around in the desert. Now God tells Joshua to command twelve men for each to carry one large stone from the middle of the river to be used for a memorial altar to be built inside the borders of their new homeland. The purpose God had in mind for this altar was that it would serve as a memorial, as a “talking point” with each generation, so that whenever children would ask about the reason for that pile of stones, they would be told about all the miracles worked in their favor from Egypt and all the way to their country.Application:
We don’t always make a big deal about some of the most special, important moments I n the spiritual life of a person, particularly a young person, but maybe we should. As Seventh-day Adventists, at least in some cultures, we feel that celebration is a bad thing to do, so we refrain from doing so.
To this day, some forty plus years later, I still remember some things about the rite of passage that young catholic children go through called “The First Communion.” I remember going to catechism studies in preparation, I remember my special first communion suit and candle, and I definitely remember the party and gifts afterward. Why not have a celebration every time a person, particularly a young person, is baptized!
Baptism is one of those spiritual landmarks that, as children look into it, gives us a great opportunity to tell them what God has done for us. Other spiritual landmarks are the Sabbath, a weekly opportunity, Thanksgiving (at least here in the United States and in Canada where it is a holiday), birthdays and anniversaries. We can also make a special time during communion to explain to young children about what this special service is all about. We could also celebrate each year on the anniversary of our baptism; it would be like a spiritual birthday of sorts. Any high spiritual moment should be marked with a celebration – the first time the person speaks to somebody about Jesus, the first person they lead to Christ and to baptism, their first Bible study with someone else, ordination as deacon/deaconess or church elder. For those who are called to the gospel ministry, ordination is a special spiritual landmark. For those getting married, that day is not only a special moment that marks the union of two people but it should also be a moment of spiritual renewal and thus another spiritual landmark. Look for special spiritual highlights and turn them into life landmarks to reflect on during the challenging or dark days which come to our lives at times; they become the anchors that keep us on solid ground.A Prayer You May Say:
Father, thank You for all those high spiritual moments of our lives when You shows us a greater, brighter glimpse of You.
Used by permission of Adventist Family Ministries, North American Division of Seventh-day Adventists.