Joshua 4 anticipates the need to answer the curiosity of a future generation of children who will ask, “What do these stones mean?” (4:6, 21).
Joshua 4 memorializes Israel’s crossing of the Jordan River into the Promised Land with the construction of a 12 stone memorial, one stone for each tribe of the Israelite nation.
The stones were taken from the dry riverbed of the Jordan where the priests bearing of the ark of the covenant stood and were then set up by Joshua at Gilgal (3:17, 4:8, 17,22).
The stones were to serve as a sign, a memorial to the nation of Israel of the supernatural work of the God of Israel to fulfill His promise and to bring the nation to their appointed place, the land of Israel.
The older generation of Israelites is to tell the younger generation God dried up the Jordan until all of us crossed.
The LORD your God did to the Jordan exactly what he did to the Red Sea some forty years before.
In addition, the older generation is to remind the younger generation that God accomplished this work so that all the people of the earth will know that the hand of the LORD is powerful and that you should fear the LORD your God always.
What do these stones mean? Inanimate objects set up at a camp near Gilgal to memorialize the supernatural work of the eternal God who fulfilled a specific promise made to a nation regarding a designated territory.
What is the living God doing in your life that you can report to a future generation so that they would know something about His power and so that they would fear Him?
May God help us to exalt the powerful hand of God in the routines of our life so that His glorious reputation will be known and feared.