When the children of Israel crossed the Jordan River on their way to the Promised Land, God commanded Joshua to choose 12 men, one from each of the tribes, to select a stone from the dry river bed in the middle of the Jordan. They were to carry the stones, pile them up where they camped that night and make a memorial so that in the future if the children asked, “What do these stones mean to you,” they could tell the children the stones reminded them of when the Jordan stopped flowing and the children of Israel crossed on dry ground thus showing God's grace and power.
The people crossed the river and camped at Gilgal, east of Jericho, where they piled the 12 stones from the middle of the river bed of the Jordan and erected a memorial. Remember God said, “Be careful not to forget the Lord, who rescued you ...”(Deuteronomy 6:12-15).
The memorial stones were used to teach the children of God's power and mercy. In the future the children would ask, “What do these stones mean?” These stones helped the people share their faith with their children.
Do we realize that Christianity is never more than one generation from extinction? If we fail to teach our children, then the next generation will not have the message of God's grace, love and power.
The writer of Proverbs 22:6 says, “Teach your children to choose the right path, and when they are older, they will remain upon it.”
Joshua 4:24 says concerning the piling of the stones as a memorial, “He did this so that all nations of the earth might know the power of the Lord, and that you might fear the Lord your God forever.”
One of our main functions is to be witnesses. “You are to live clean, innocent lives as children of God in a dark world ... let your light shine brightly before them” (Philippians 2:15-16).