There they camped not far from the Jordan River; a throng of people - men, women and children ready to follow their leader, Joshua, and Joshua took his orders from God. The land on the other side of the Jordan would be their inheritance. Surely they were thinking how would God bring so many people across the Jordan River safely? They could not conquer the Promised Land until they got across that river!
The waters of the Jordan were rushing by them. Usually the water in the Jordan is shallow enough to easily cross, but in early April it was torrential from the winter rains and melting mountain snows. It was swollen and moving fast. They were nervous, excited, perhaps even afraid of the fortified cities across the river, but they had committed to following the LORD. They knew God had promised them He would go before them. He commanded them to be strong and courageous. He had told them He would give them the Promised Land. They believed Him.
The tribes of Israel had been camping near the Jordan River; preparing their hearts for the battles that were to come. The tribal officers had gone through their camp and told them "When they saw the ark of the covenant of the LORD your God with the Levitical priests carrying it, then you shall set out from your place and go after it." They were also commanded to stay at least 3000 feet behind the ark of the covenant.
The day had come to enter the Promised Land! Oh, the mixture of emotions they must have felt. This was the day they had been eagerly awaiting for 40 years. But there was that problem of getting across the Jordan River...
The priests had moved out with the ark of the covenant. The people obediently followed. They watched as the priests stepped into the raging river and stood still. The people held their breath. They watched in amazement. Suddenly the water stopped and rose up into a giant heap. There firmly stood the priests holding the ark of the covenant in the middle of the Jordan River on dry land!
They were witnessing the power of God!
Joshua commanded the people to cross. Approximately two million men, women, and children walked over dry land. Each step was amazing. Each step was holy. They knew they were witnessing a miracle. They knew they were in God's very presence. They were silent, awestruck, not believing this was happening.
When the throng of people reached the other side, they waited and watched while a man from each of the twelve tribes took a stone from the Jordan River bed. They stacked one stone on top of each other and made a monument in the midst of their camp. When their children would ask why are those stones stacked up, they would answer, to remember this mighty deed of God. Another monument of twelve stones was placed in the middle of the Jordan at the place where the feet of the priests who carried the ark of the covenant were standing.
Memorial monuments for the coming generations to remember the mighty work of the LORD.
This is how I picture it happened from the biblical account in Joshua 3 and 4.
God had done something so extraordinary, so miraculous, so impossible, and so mighty! God had delivered His nation from one side of a swollen fast-moving river to the Promised Land on the other side. The people built two monuments to remember God's deed... to remember how God had been with them... how He delivered them... how He provided for them. He is faithful to His promises. He is God, the one true Almighty God.
God is the same now as He was then. His character is never-changing.
God is the God of miracles.
We should be strong and courageous in the most trying times of our lives because we know who He is. God is loving, protective and capable of doing anything. We know He wants what is best for us. We know He will protect us. We know the LORD our God will deliver us. We just need to trust Him and obey Him. Take that first faith step.
Remember who He is.