They stood at the ready, hearts filled with the long-ago promise of the God who had brought them here, minds prepared for the battles and the land they would face and conquer, memories full of the Law by which they were charged to live.
The LORD knew it would be easy for them to forget. He knew the hearts of men and the predispositions to their old ways. That’s why He commanded them to post reminders — big, huge, boulder-sized reminders — as soon as they crossed the river that now separated them from the promises He’d given.
Yes, God instructed His people to set up stones and an altar, to sacrifice offerings there and to rejoice in His very presence before they charged into battle. He wanted them to understand and to always remember who it was that had brought them there.
God knew it would be easy for His children to forget an entire generation’s worth of wandering because of the faith their relatives had failed to display. He had given the Law in order to keep His children pure, to ensure their wholeness. After all, He would know exactly what was needed for life as it should truly be lived. That’s why He instructed them to remember it so vividly. That’s why He gave such detailed synopses about what would happen if they followed His ways. And what would happen if they did not.
You see, Almighty God wanted His children to prosper in the land which He was about to give them. He wanted to bless them abundantly. But the way to prosperity had to be His way, following His Law, according to His design for living. His children needed to know that, should they choose to go against His way, the curses would increase. Their living would only be bitter, and filled with death.
The same is true for us. God showed us His way to live, not because He’s some malicious, power-hungry almighty being who likes to keep us on our toes. He did it because He knows the way to live. And His way is the only way to do it. The Law was His first way to show His requirements. His Word, Jesus Christ, is the final Way that God has shown us how we can live truly. It is only through trusting in Him.
“Now this is eternal life: that they may know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom you have sent” (Jn. 17:3).