8 So the men did as Joshua had commanded them. They took twelve stones from the middle of the Jordan River, one for each tribe, just as the Lord had told Joshua. They carried them to the place where they camped for the night and constructed the memorial there. — Joshua 4:8 NLT
Often when a major event had occurred in the lives of the children of Israel, God would instruct them to set up stones or build an altar. These stones or altars were built or erected as a token of remembrance for God’s help in bringing them safely this far. It was also a reminder to tell future generations about the goodness and the mercies of God. They were unique in that they were always built with natural, uncut stones. Crossing the Jordan into the Promised Land for the first time was a once-in-a-lifetime major event. The Israelis put twelve stones in the middle of the Jordan to mark the spot of the crossing and carried twelve stones to Gilgal and erected them there to mark the spot of their first encampment in their new homeland. We need to be aware of the major events in our lives and construct mental and/or physical landmarks as a way to remember these events. We need to point out these times to our future generations as a remembrance of what God has done for us. When Samuel erected the stone between Mizpah and Jeshanah (1 Samuel 7:12) to mark the spot where God had defeated the Philistines for the Israelis, he named it “Ebenezer” which means a stone of help. It is by the help of God that we have come this far safely. Let us stop, set up an Ebenezer, pray, worship and celebrate God’s goodness and mercies in our lives.
*From the hymn “Come Thou Fount of Every Blessing”