The First 15

Saturday August 8, 2020

by Mike Ramsdell

Piling up Rocks


Joshua 1:9
Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.

Joshua 3:17
The Priests who carried the ark of covenant of the Lord stopped in the middle of the Jordan and stood on dry ground, while all Israel passed by until the whole nation had completed the crossing on dry ground.

Joshua 4:5-7
Go over before the ark of the Lord your God into the middle of the Jordan. Each of you is to take up a stone on his shoulder, according to the number of the tribes of the Israelite, to serve as a sign among you. In the future, when your children ask you, “What do these stones mean?” Tell them the flow of the Jordan was cut off before the ark of the covenant of the Lord. When it crossed the Jordan, the waters of the Jordan were cut off. These stones are to be a memorial to the people of Israel forever.


Sometimes we forget things we should remember. Joshua knew well Israel’s habit to forget God’s past acts for them, to complain way too much, and to be ungrateful. He knew that remembering and being thankful was the secret for the days ahead that would come when they were challenged to possess the promised land.

The people of Israel had wandered for 40 years, before that they had been in slavery in Egypt for 400 years. In the journey to the Promised Land they had experienced miracle after miracle, the parting of the Red Sea, water came from a rock, they overcame the Amalekites, manna from heaven fed them every day and many more. One of the last miracles in the story is recorded here. They were at the cusp of entering the Promised land finally, but the Jordan River at flood stage was in the way. God stopped the flow of the river and dry ground appeared as they began to cross. Joshua then had rocks gathered to pile up as a memorial so they would not forget God’s faithfulness.

God’s past acts of faithfulness became the foundation for a promised future. We can easily forget the past faithfulness of God as time goes by, instead focusing on “what has God done for me lately”.

The Rocks I have piled up?

  • My parents had me baptized as a baby.
  • God saved my soul at 20.
  • God gave me a loving wife when I prayed for one, her name is Rhonda.
  • When we lost our first little boy and wondered if we would ever be able to have children Julie was born one year later.
  • When I needed a job in college with a baby about to be born, God provided a perfect job miraculously.
  • When we were praying in church a long ago for the first church to pastor and had given up, I got a call while in church on Wednesday night and was given the perfect church as we began seminary.
  • God helped me recover from a heart attack and from cancer.
  • I know none of my kids have ever gone hungry.

I am blessed with a big pile of rocks that remind me that God has been faithful and will be faithful. I named just a few. I look at them often with thankfulness.

Take a few minutes and pile up your rocks. You might be surprised at the many ways God has been faithful in your life. In fact, just reading this right now as a morning devotional is a testimony to God’s faithfulness. I remind myself often that ungratefulness and happiness are incompatible, and unhappiness is not the promised condition of the Christian life.

Prayer for Today

Heavenly Father, I want to live a life that you can bless. Forgive me in all the ways I have fallen short in that living. I thank you for choosing me to be your disciple. Thanks for being my friend! Amen.

God, forgive us for our bent to complain and to forget. Today we remember the ways you have worked in our lives, we are thankful for your generosity and your many gifts. We trust the future in your hands. We are your grateful people. We give you thanks.

The First 15

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