Young parents understand what milestones are. They talk about the times their children recognize moving objects, colors, and faces. They talk about the times their children began to crawl, stand or walk. These milestones mark the development of their children.
Milestones were used in the ancient Roman Empire to mark the distance in Roman miles that the troupes traveled away from the center of Rome. The center of Rome itself had the “golden Milestone.” This was the “0 Mile” marker. Milestones were also referencing points for the actual location where help was needed for troupes. Milestones also marked the distances yet to be covered to the troupe’s destination.
The Israelites, upon crossing The Jordan were instructed to erect milestones in their next lodging place with stones from the Jordan. Joshua himself also erected stones in the Jordan where the feet of the priest stood. Our subject today is Spiritual Milestones and we will learn from this story in Joshua 4 what Spiritual milestones indicate.
- MILESTONES ARE A TESTAMENT
- A Man from Every Tribe
The children of Israel were to make a deliberate choice of men who would represent each tribe with the stone they selected. This means that the stones would not be some random activity, but a careful covenant between them and their God. It ought to be the same for us when we mark our spiritual milestones. It should not be a random activity but a solemn reminder of our commitment to Christ.
- A Sign to You
They are reminded that the stone monument they set up will be a reminder for them in their life about their special place in God’s plan. The event of crossing the Jordan will be a “sign for them.” The actions that God does on our account are not to be lost in our memory. We ought to count them one by one and it will surprise us what the Lord has done!
- A memorial to your children
The stone pillar was to be a teaching aid for future generations. It will maintain a tradition of what God did on their behalf. Because this was a time where Israel was an oral culture, such a monument would mean a lot to the people in teaching their history. Our walk with God is a very important lesson for future generations.
2. MILESTONES ARE A TESTIMONY
- About the Power of our God
The stones they were to set up would remind the Israelites about the power of God. It will be etched in their minds that God separated the Jordan for them in the flood season. It would teach them that nothing is impossible with God. The same lessons apply to us today. When we look at the things God has done, don’t they inspire confidence in us to trust this great God once again? Don’t they tell us that nothing is impossible with our God?
- About the Character of our God.
The Israelites were to look at the stones they erected that day as a sign of God’s faithfulness to them. The stones would testify to them that the God they serve is a Faithful God who would rather part waters than go back on His word. Our milestones should also remind us of the faithfulness of our God.
- About our relationship with our God
It is very clear that the milestones the Israelites were to erect would be a reminder of their special place in their relationship with God. They needed to remember the debt of grace that they owe God. They needed to remember that they were nothing but by the special grace of God upon them. This ought to keep them gratefully humble because of what God has done for them. Our milestones should, in the same sense keep us humbly focused on what God is doing by His grace in our lives. They ought to inspire worship and celebration because by His grace He has brought us this far.
3. MILESTONES ARE A TEST
- A Test of Faith
Whenever the Israelites were to look at the monument they erected in honor of God for stopping the Jordan; they were to put their own faithfulness to the test. They would need to ask themselves the question of whether they had kept their part of the agreement. Were they still trusting in God or in human power? Success has a way of robbing us of our faith. We forget how we got where we are and this destroys our trust in God. It should be the work of our milestones to remind us of our faith in God.
- A Test of Resilience
The Jordan was by no means the last of the troubles Israelites would face. They would face greater and different kinds of challenges. The crossing of the Jordan was to fuel their resilience. They would remember this event and gain new confidence to face whatever they were to face in the future. Our past victories in Christ are the fuels of today’s challenges. Were strengthen our resolve when we remember what God has done for us.
- A Test of Character
Ultimately it came to the test of their commitment to God. What kind of a people they were. This milestone would speak to them when they lost their way. It would caution their waywardness and correct their faithlessness. The stones would rebuke their inability to remain faithful to the one who is ever faithful. This is the work of milestones to keep us on the straight and narrow. To order our steps to the right direction. It is those little monuments like your wedding ring or your baptism certificate that ought to rebuke you when you stray away from the path!
My friends let us not forget to raise Spiritual monuments that will mark our path and growth in the Spirit. This is because our Spiritual monuments are a Testament, a Testimony, and a Test.