This month in the Legacy Reading Plan we’re in the book of Joshua, which is such an exhilarating book. We so often talk about the time the Israelites left Egyptian captivity, and crossed over the Red Sea with God parting the waters to make way for them upon dry ground (Exodus); yet, so often we forget that after they left exile and crossed the Red Sea, they likewise entered Paradise, or the land of Palestine, by way of crossing the Jordan River, and God performed the same miracle! He parted the waters of the Jordan which were in flood stage. The Jordan in flood stage during the harvest was very wide, and impassible; yet, as soon as the priests who carried the Ark of the Covenant reached the Jordan, and their feet touched the water’s edge, the water from upstream stopped flowing, and the water flowing down to the sea—the Salt Sea—was completely cut off, and the people of Israel went through on dry ground into the Promised Land (Joshua 3:1ff).
What I find fascinating is this: if you keep reading through Joshua, not long after the time God allows them to enter into the Promised Land, we see Joshua lying facedown, and crying out to the Lord, questioning why He led them to the land, saying, “Why did you ever bring this people across the Jordan to deliver us into the hands of the Amorites to destroy us? If only we had been content to stay on the other side of the Jordan!” (Joshua 7:7, NIV).
Joshua had come into a difficult situation and immediately was thinking about how wonderful it once was in the desert, just as the desert Israelites were thinking how wonderful it was back in Egyptian exile. They essentially forgot that God had provided a way for them, and they longed for what was before.
God, however, commands the people to build an altar—to signify a way of remembering His salvation (Joshua 8:30–35). It’s similar to what I call a “legacy altar,” where you set aside a record of the significant moments in which God sovereignly provides for you, where His grace is bountiful, where His mercy is overflowing, and His love has been most clearly demonstrated in your life.
Like Joshua, you too must remember the faithfulness of the Lord in your situation, because so often we forget—and I can tell you that that’s true of me, just as it’s true of you—and, therefore, it’s so good to record the faithfulness of God, so you can go back to that altar as a memorial, a remembrance, of God’s faithful provision.