As fathers, we can help our children in numerous ways. One that we’re called to do is this: help your children know God.
“Then Joshua called the twelve men from the people of Israel, whom he had appointed, a man from each tribe. 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, that this may be a sign among you. When your children ask in time to come, ‘What do those stones mean to you?’ 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.'” (Joshua 4:4-7)
How Monuments Help Us Learn
There are monuments worldwide: the Parthenon in Greece, the Colosseum in Italy, and the Washington Monument in the U.S., to name a few. There is a story behind each. There are lessons to be rehearsed again at each one. There are keys to victory or success that can be learned at monuments.
Monuments are important to educate all generations on historical happenings. Spiritually, God knows we are forgetful sometimes, so He instructs us to build monuments to remind us of truth, victory, success, even failures.
A monument is a structure erected to commemorate persons or events. If one visited regularly, what it represents will be ingrained in your mind.
Notice, from our passage, that it was men from each family who built the monuments. Dad: YOU must build these monuments for your children. The purpose behind these monuments was to commemorate how God rolled back the Jordan River. Whenever children came around these monuments, they would ask their fathers what they meant. It was the father’s responsibility to tell his children the story. This monument was Dad’s opportunity to testify to his children.
Imagine dad saying to his sons around those stones, “Boys, this land we now live in was not always ours. It was God’s plan for us to possess this land. You know what, boys? God has a plan for your lives, too!
“And while we were following the steps the Lord laid out for us, BAM! We ran right into this Jordan River while it was flooded out of its banks.”
“So, what happened, Daddy?”
“That’s the good part. Joshua told the priests to step into the water, and as soon as they did, the waters rolled back. There was a great wall of water standing straight up! We walked over into the promised land on dry ground. He can and will do the same for you if you live for Him.”
What an epic moment for a child to hear his father tell that kind of story! Here is a powerful truth: that kind of conversation can never occur without the monuments first being built.
Help Your Children Know God, Not Just Enjoy Life
When God answers a prayer or performs a miracle: make a big deal out of it. Tell them all about it. Do it again and again. You are building monuments, and you are building their faith.
Six Flags was fun. That fishing trip was fantastic! That movie was uber-fantastic! That Daddy Daughter Date was awesome!
There is nothing wrong with those things. I encourage you to make these kinds of memories with your children, but what kind of spiritual monuments are you building for them? The best way for your children to know God is for you, Dad, to show God to them!