Joshua 4:22-24, "Then ye shall let your children know, saying, Israel came over this Jordan on dry land. For the LORD your God dried up the waters of Jordan from before you, until ye were passed over, as the LORD your God did to the Red sea, which he dried up from before us, until we were gone over: That all the people of the earth might know the hand of the LORD, that it is mighty: that ye might fear the LORD your God for ever."
This week hundreds of servant leaders, from as far away as California, will assemble with our church as we hold the Loving and Leading Conference on our property. Since the inception of this annual meeting, the emphasis has always been on reaching the next generation in the work of the Great Commission. Children, teenagers, and students are the focus of the churches and schools that travel from near and far to receive training in various ministries.
The close of the fourth chapter of Joshua includes the call of God to the Israelites to "... let your children know, ..." For those of us who are adult believers who have been blessed with children or grandchildren, I often wonder what we are letting our children know in this life on earth. The obvious focus in this passage is simply this: God. What do our offspring know of Him?
I find in Joshua 4 that the LORD instructed Israel to perform this task of letting the children know by using three important tools. The first would be a monument or a simple, physical, tangible reminder of what God has done. Notice here that the Israelites built a structure of 12 stones for the purpose of children questioning the adult generation. The expectation of the LORD was that young people would initiate dialogue by what they saw. What monuments, symbols, or records do you have of God's supernatural moving? Our children need to see them! They must know of the might and power of the God we serve.
Secondly, we find that God told the Israelites what to say. He gave them the exact answer to the questions about the stones. Three times in these verses we see the phrase "... the LORD your God ..." That word, your, indicates personal relationship. In other words, no relationship with God - no miracles; no relationship with God - no supernatural moving of His presence. You and I must be busy in this age of the church spreading the gospel of Jesus Christ. We must reach the next generation with the good news of Christ's saving power. That initial work of a supernatural, born-again experience in the life of an individual brings a great potential for the reality of our great Jehovah to be seen and witnessed by these children.
Lastly, we find in verse 24 the two-fold reason the LORD performed these miracles of the Red Sea and the Jordan River. The immediate purpose, of course, would be the fear of the LORD forever. Israel was to be in a relationship of worship, awe, and highest respect and praise for Jehovah. However, we also see that the LORD had an expectation for "... all the people of the earth ..." through these miraculous events. Children must know that God wants us (those in relationship with Him) to declare His glory among the heathen. Every nation, kindred, tongue, and tribe must know our God! That cannot be accomplished unless we preach Christ and His gospel. Moreover, the gospel cannot be preached without the Word of God. Through such meetings as the conference this week, I hope that you will pray with me that God will give us influence on so many that work with the next generation. Can a future translator of the Bible for a remote language come from a child sitting in a ministry represented by these servants at the Loving and Leading Conference? I give a resounding "Yes!" May God grant it to be so in this hour.
Written by Dan Jessup