When I read the Word I see over and over again how God provided, cared for, prepared the way, and watched over his children time and time again. I read it and think, "Wow! See how the Lord provides for the Israelites here, or protected David when he fought Goliath." I see that the Lord is good and will take care of his people.
Then I close my Bible and live my life in fear, anxiety, or worry about the future. Of course, God took care of the people in biblical times, but will he really do the same for me?
He will. He does. He has. Over and over again in my life God has proven faithful, opened doors, and done mighty works before my eyes. Based on his Word and work in my life, I have no reason to doubt that he will come through again.
Sadly, I confess I do. When I am in the moment I become like Peter when he was walking on the water to Jesus--I get distracted by the winds and the waves; taking my eyes off of Jesus. Instead if looking and trusting in the author and perfecter of my faith I am afraid. I live as if I do not believe the God of the Bible--the God who provided for Abraham, Joseph, Moses, Elijah, and Paul--can do the same for me.
No more. I learned the importance of a spiritual maker a long time ago. We can see evidence of this all the way back to the Old Testament when the Lord made covenants with his people. Often they would set up a stone monument to remember what the Lord did for them in that place. An example of this can be found in Joshua 4. The Israelites are finally crossing the Jordan River. Here is what is recorded in verses 5-7:
"And Joshua said to them, 'Pass on before the ark of the LORD your God into the midst of the Jordan, and take up each of you a stone upon his shoulder, according to the number of the tribes of the people of Israel, that this may be a sign among you. When your children ask in time to come, 'What do those stones mean to you?' then you shall tell them that the waters of the Jordan were cut off before the ark of the covenant of the LORD. When it passed over the Jordan, the waters of the Jordan were cut off. So these stones shall be to the people of Israel a memorial forever.'"
They set up the twelve stones as a reminder, but it was not enough to just build a memorial. It was important for them to always remember what the Lord had done. There is a lesson that we need to learn: the people of Israel forgot the mighty works of the Lord and chased after false gods.
Sometimes I catch myself thinking, "How could they be so foolish? Did they not remember when the Lord delivered them from the land of Egypt? How he also led them by a cloud by day and a pillar of fire by night. Why did they so easily forget the time when he parted the Red Sea so they could cross over on dry ground? What about the manna, Jordan River, and the countless other times that the Lord had delivered them? How could they so quickly forget?"
I believe it is because they focused on the size of the problem that they faced and failed to remember what God had done for them. They did not trust that the Lord would come through for them as he always did.
Does this sound familiar? I see this happen all to often in my life. I want to always trust in the Lord and that he will direct my steps. We can do this by constantly spending time in the Word to remind ourselves of the truth and by setting up our own spiritual markers like the Israelites did in Joshua 4.
The ending of the chapter is a great example of what we are to do with the markers. Verse 21 picks up with Joshua addressing the Israelites.
'And he said to the people of Israel, "When your children ask their fathers in times to come, 'What do these stones mean?' then you shall let your children know, 'Israel passed over this Jordan on dry ground.' For the LORD your God dried up the waters of the Jordan for you until you passed over, as the LORD your God did to the Red Sea, which he dried up for us until we passed over, so that all the peoples of the earth may know that the hand of the LORD is mighty, that you may fear the LORD your God forever."'
His hand is mighty. He will never leave us. He is the Lord forever. Remember what he has done in your life. Press on for the prize with faith that he will take you by the hand and guide you through just as he has in the past and wants to do today.