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Twelve Stones = One Rock (Joshua 4:8, 9)

All that believers do for God is the result of His “work” within to enable them (Phl 2:13)! What He did under the Old Covenant between Himself and Israel was “a shadow” (Col 2:17; Heb 10:1) of what He is doing with Christians in the New Covenant between Himself and the Lord Jesus (“Covenant of Redemption” – Heb 9:14, 15; 13:20, et al.). As the Father manifested Himself by isolating a “people of God” from the world, He continues to manifest Himself by isolating “children of God” from the world. These Covenants demonstrate that God always prepares souls before He uses them. This can be seen when believers, thinking back, may remember often having thoughts about God and how they possibly see now that they were prepitory to serve in “drawing” (Jhn 6:44) them into their present union with Him.

Twelve Stones = One Rock (Joshua 4:8, 9)

It is faith in the risen Lord Jesus which enables us to apprehend (after an experience often as long as the forty years in the wilderness were for Israel) our deliverances from our old estate, and introduction into a new one in Him. The soul, long exercised, learns at length—and it is the Father who reveals it to faith—that what it was striving vainly to attain to, has not to be done, but is a present reality; for faith is a fact, an accomplished fact, in the Lord Jesus.

I used to wonder at the extreme simplicity of the language produced by the discovery of this important truth in Romans Seven, whilst it takes a whole chapter to describe the experience of a soul previous to knowing deliverance (we eventually learn the practical deliverance in our walk—NC). More than this, the despairing utterance caused by the hopelessness of the situation, changes without any interlude into one of gratitude and joy: “I thank God through Jesus Christ our Lord.” The reason now seems simple enough. When the soul makes this discovery it learns that the deliverance which it was incapable of attaining, the Father has already wrought in the Son, so that it is no longer a thing to be accomplished.

How often I have seen souls seeking, by effort, to lay hold, so to speak, of deliverance. What was the result? When, after much struggle, they thought they had grasped its import, a single night sufficed to dispense the illusion just as dead leaves are swept away by the breeze between evening and morning. Ah—deliverance is not obtained in a moment, for just as there was no Jordon for Israel before the desert wilderness, so for us, deliverance comes after we have made the sorrowful discovery of what the flesh (old man—NC) is, and not before—all testimonies to the contrary notwithstanding. Deliverance is not a mere experience, but the result of the position in which faith rests.

For us it is not a moment of stones on Canaan’s shore, but our Rock on the shore of glory! It is the glorified Lord Jesus, the Object of our faith, Firstborn from the dead, risen and entered into the heavenly places; but One who represents us there, associating us with Himself, even as He associated Himself with us in His death unto sin (Rom 6:4). Moreover, the Father intends that the Lord Jesus thus set before us should produce a corresponding moral effect in us: “changed into the same image from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of the Lord” (2Co 3:18).

“It is a memorial unto the children of Israel forever” (Jos 4:7). It is also this for us, accompanied by the inward effect (not available before the Cross, i.e. the indwelling Spirit and the new man—NC). The believer, risen with the Lord Jesus, has the indelible marks of His death imprinted on him, and, if such is my position in Him, can I live any longer in the things which I have abandoned, which He has left in the depths of the Jordan?

The twelve stones at Gilgal, then, are not merely our death and resurrection with the Lord Jesus, the Jordan typified that, but the memorial of this death and resurrection as seen in a risen and glorified Lord Jesus Christ. All has crossed the Jordan—all believers have died with Him—but many amongst them perhaps care little to inquire the meaning of the monument at Gilgal, those stones which seemed to say in living accents to the people: “reckon ye also yourselves to be dead indeed unto sin, but alive unto God in Christ Jesus” (Ro 6:1).

—Henri Louis Rossier (1835-1928)

Miles J Stanford excerpt for Nov. 3

“Spiritual growth is from stage to stage. There are great days, days of decisive battles, and days of crisis in spiritual history, days of triumph in Christian service, days of the right hand of the Father upon us. But there are also idle days, days of apparent uselessness, when even prayer and service seem a burden. Are we, in any sense, renewed in these days? Yes, for any experience which makes us more aware of our need of the Father must contribute to spiritual progress, unless we deny the Lord who bought us.” -W.G.S.

“It is not a man’s thanksgiving that he has been set free from suffering; it is to be thanksgiving that he has been set free through suffering. ‘Thou hast enlarged me when I was in distress’ (Ps. 4:1).” -MJS


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