And it came to pass, when all the people were clean passed over Jordan, that the LORD spoke to Joshua, saying,…
These stones proclaimed certain realities. Taken from the dry bed of the river, they declared God's power in cutting off the waters before the ark of His covenant; twelve in number, one stone for each tribe, they declared how that all Israel had entered into Canaan; set up together in Canaan, they witnessed to Israel's unity in that land. Moreover, they became a memorial to the nation of Jehovah's work for them. First, these stones declared Jehovah's great work for His people; even Jordan emptied of its waters before the ark of His covenant, and His people brought thereby into the fulness of their blessing. Now as we truly recognise that we are brought, in Christ, into the heavenly places, our first action in spirit will resemble that of Israel: we shall extol God for His power and might in accomplishing His purpose in bringing us into such blessing. Christ, our ark, went down into death for us, exhausted its power, stripped it of its might; and God has given us, who were dead in sins, life "together with" Christ risen from among the dead, and has set us in Him in the fulness of blessing, so that as truly as Israel through the passage of the Jordan were in Canaan, saints now are in Christ in the heavenly places. To enter into this grace, it is necessary to keep before our hearts, in faith, the measure of God's Divine power exercised towards us, the exceeding greatness of which is according to that energy and might of His "which He wrought," &c. (Ephesians 1:20). And speaking in the language of the type under our consideration as "clean passed over" Jordan, the Christian's first act should be the heart recognition of what God has done. We are across the river; to God through Christ be the praise. Next, the stones, twelve in number, "according to the number of the tribes of the children of Israel" (vers. 5, 8), spoke of the whole of Israel. Christians occupy themselves practically with spiritual, not national, unity; therefore with the truth that all saints of every nation are one in God's sight and according to His purpose. Saints are seated together in the heavenly places in Christ, the one common place of blessing for all who believe. One association and one privilege mark all saints, and all equally have the highest and the best place. Even as each individual believer has life for himself "together" with Christ risen (Ephesians 2:5), so have all believers the highest privileges in common; they are by God made "to sit together" (Ephesians 2:6). The pillar of twelve stones, set up in Gilgal, became a memorial to the nation of Jehovah's work for them. The question, "What mean ye by these stones?" which the children would ask their fathers was to be answered by a relation of the Lord's doings. And well indeed may Christians recount to their children what God has wrought. Our little ones should be grounded in the great truths of God's Word. Redemption, resurrection, and ascension facts should be implanted in their minds and memories.
(H. F. Witherby.)
Parallel VersesKJV: And it came to pass, when all the people were clean passed over Jordan, that the LORD spake unto Joshua, saying,