Devotion 5 in the series Lead Me to the Rock: Joshua 4, Marking the Moment

Why Marking the Moment Is Important and How to Do It

We mark moments such as birthdays, graduations, or the end of a sport season by celebrating with cake and ice cream or a pizza party. What if we thought beyond birthdays and graduations and considered marking moments of spiritual wonder and significance in our lives? Why marking the moment is important and how to do it.

A pile of rocks, with 3 piles as the base and one pile stacked vertically on top the base, at the edge of a lake, with low mountains on either side across the lake

In theater, marking the moment is a technique used to emphasize a significant moment in a scene. It can be done through slow-motion, freeze-frame, or even music. The technique helps the audience to recognize and focus on the key moment.

You might be more familiar with marking the moment than you think: We tend to mark moments such as birthdays, graduations, or the end of a sport season. We celebrate with cake and ice cream or a pizza party.

In the Bible, God helped people to mark key moments in their lives, and because ice cream and pizza were in short supply in the Middle East, He often had them use rocks!

~When Noah and his family, along with animals of every type, departed the ark, spared of certain death, Noah built an altar to the Lord, and God promised, with the sign of the rainbow, to never again destroy the earth with a flood (Genesis 8 and 9).

~After Jacob had a dream of a ladder with angels ascending and descending on it, and God promised the land he was sleeping on to Jacob and his offspring, Jacob awoke awestruck. “How awesome is this place!” he exclaimed (Genesis 28:17 ESV), and he set up as a pillar the stone he had used as a pillow, poured oil on top of it, and called the place Bethel, or the house of God.

~When, after decades of wandering in the desert, the nation of Israel crossed over the Jordan River on dry land, God directed Joshua to have men take 12 large stones from the midst of the Jordan and permanently place them at their campsite that night. For generations to come, the stones would mark the moment when God cut off the waters of the Jordan so the people could cross into the Promised Land.

More important than birthdays, graduations, or successful sport seasons, people of the Bible marked moments where God worked in dramatic fashion in their lives.

What if we expanded our definition of marking the moment? What if we thought beyond birthdays and graduations and considered marking moments of spiritual wonder and significance in our lives?

  • When God answers a prayer in a way that cannot be explained other than His doing, could we gather the family around the kitchen table or on the living room couch and celebrate God’s hand in our lives?
  • When a person is healed, a new job is found, or a marriage restored, could we take the time to mark the moment, thanking God for His provision?
  • What about moments of personal conviction, when a sin is realized and confessed or a destructive habit broken? Could we kneel in His presence and quietly, with awestruck heart, repeat back to God how wonderful He is and how grateful we are for His mercy in our lives?

Marking the moment helps us recognize and focus on moments of spiritual significance in our lives.

What moment of spiritual significance would you like to mark? How could marking the moment help you remember God’s goodness?

Digging into God’s Word: Marking the Moment

We remember the crossing of the Red Sea as a dramatic moment of God’s rescue of His people from slavery in Egypt. Forty years later, in similar fashion, He stopped the flow of the Jordan River so the Israelites could cross over into the Promised Land. What one generation experienced as rescue, a new generation experienced as promise. God knew the importance of the moment, and He directed the people to use rocks to mark with permanence His provision in their lives.

Joshua 4:1-7 (ESV)

Twelve Memorial Stones from the Jordan

When all the nation had finished passing over the Jordan, the LORD said to Joshua, 2 “Take twelve men from the people, from each tribe a man, 3 and command them, saying, ‘Take twelve stones from here out of the midst of the Jordan, from the very place where the priests’ feet stood firmly, and bring them over with you and lay them down in the place where you lodge tonight.’” 4 Then Joshua called the twelve men from the people of Israel, whom he had appointed, a man from each tribe. 5 And Joshua said to them, “Pass on before the ark of the LORD your God into the midst of the Jordan, and take up each of you a stone upon his shoulder, according to the number of the tribes of the people of Israel, 6 that this may be a sign among you. When your children ask in time to come, ‘What do those stones mean to you?’ 7 then you shall tell them that the waters of the Jordan were cut off before the ark of the covenant of the LORD. When it passed over the Jordan, the waters of the Jordan were cut off. So these stones shall be to the people of Israel a memorial forever.”

Digging Deeper: Marking the Moment

Cherish this time with the Lord. Reflect on or journal about the following questions, listening for what God has to say to you.

1. Think through moments of spiritual significance in your life. If possible, focus on the last week, month, or year. How did God work in a way that you could not have imagined?

If you are in the midst of a particularly dark, difficult time, marking the moment may come later. Ask God to comfort you by showing you how He is working, for He is always at work in our lives, maybe most during the painful times. May His comfort be yours today.

2. Choose one of these moments to mark. Decide how you’ll mark it. I encourage you to mark the moment with something material, or tangible, like the people of the Bible did using rocks. You might record the moment in a journal or with a drawing, or create a computer graphic symbolizing the moment. You could even consider setting up a little pile of rocks and worshiping God for the work He did on your behalf.

3. Although we’re using something tangible to represent our worship, be sure to worship the God who has brought these moments to fruition in our lives. To fix your eyes on the one and only Rock worthy of worship, read or pray Psalm 63:1-4 (ESV):

1 O God, you are my God; earnestly I seek you;
my soul thirsts for you;
my flesh faints for you,
as in a dry and weary land where there is no water.
2 So I have looked upon you in the sanctuary,
beholding your power and glory.
3 Because your steadfast love is better than life,
my lips will praise you.
4 So I will bless you as long as I live;
in your name I will lift up my hands.

4. These songs can be used when you are marking the moment or to help you recognize God’s hand in your life. Choose one or all of the songs to listen to, or come back to these songs throughout the week.

Here I Am to Worship (Chris Tomlin, composed by Tim Hughes)

Cornerstone (Hillsong)

I Will Lift My Eyes (Bebo Norman)


Find Past Series

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Two of the most popular series have been Hope Springs Eternal and All In: A Study of Elisha.


Free Printable on Psalm 103

A few weeks ago, we finished a series on Leaving a Legacy, which focused on living out the characteristics that God models for us in Psalm 103. For a printable on What Psalm 103 Tells Us About God, click this link:

What Psalm 103 Tells Us About God


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