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Lest We Forget

Josh. 4:1-9, 19-24

We invite you to join us for worship each Sunday morning at 9:30. You can download our service on iTunes or tune in for “The Good Word” each day on AM 1230 WSAL or on Hoosier Country 103.7 FM just after 8am. Tomorrow is often considered the beginning of summer. It is a day when families get together for cook outs and picnics; it is a day off work for most people. I came across this outline and liked the way it presents the concept of Memorial Day. Our passage today demonstrates how God told Joshua to set up a memorial of stones as a visual reminder to all who passed by. It was, if you will, a visual sermon. Jesus used visual aids when He taught about farming, the sparrow, the olive branch, vineyard, fig tree, treasure, pearl of great price, and so on. Look back across the page to Josh. 3:7-13. It is interesting to note that even though God told the people the waters of the Jordan would stop flowing when the men carrying the Arc stepped into the river, the men had to step into the river. God often waits until we act on His Word before He acts on His Word! Have you ever noticed the truth that God often uses the worst possible circumstances to show Himself strong on our behalf! As you review those times God has proven Himself to be mightiest in delivering you, did you think at the time, “If God doesn’t get me out of this, I’m here for the rest of my life, and that may not be much longer!” So the situation with Josh/company! God does not always let us see the full extent of His power in our deliverance! But He always lets us see all we need to follow Him through the danger! Read 4:1-7. When all had safely passed into Canaan, before the water returned, God instructed Josh to have one man from each of the 12 tribes take a large stone out of the river bed and build a memorial to God. There are at least 4 reasons God instructed them to build a memorial.

  1. TO SHAKE THEIR PAST. Do you know anyone who never forgets anything? We all forget something sometime! We are surrounded with all kinds of visual aids to help us remember. Israel was no different than we are. Like America, Israel had a problem remembering what God had done for them. Just after God had delivered them from Egypt, He instructed Moses to warn them about forgetting; “then beware lest you forget the Lord, Who brought you out of the land of Egypt, from the house of bondage.” Deut. 6:12 Every time any Israelite passed by that heap of stones would be a visible reminder of what God did at Gilgal. We need memorials because we tend to forget, for several reasons. We forget when we are in a hurry. When we run ahead of God, we run out of His will! We forget when we feel helpless. God had them put the stones there to remind them the power of God was available to them because they were helpless! As you consider your own life, what are some stones you can pile up to keep you from getting “spiritual amnesia?” Here are some suggestions: 1st Write it down – God does:

    • A “book of remembrance”, where He has written down those who faithfully worship Him (Mal. 3:16).
    • A book where He records our tears (Psalm 56:8).
    • God wrote the 10 Commandments on 2 stone tablets.
    • Jesus wrote in the ground, and the accusers of the woman taken in adultery left her alone.

    2nd We can remember by telling others how God has blessed us. The fact is what God does for others, He will do for YOU! God is a God of all; not just a few! 3rd , Use it as a Guide. A pastor writes, “God uses our past to guide us into our future. God wants us to use our past failures as learning experiences. God not only wanted them to put up the stones to shake their memory, He also wanted them

  2. TO SHARE THEIR FAITH. Read Joshua 4:6-7, 19-23. One of a child’s favorite questions is “WHY?” The favorite parental response to that question is “Because!” Children may have asked their parents in Josh’s day – why are these stones here? Why did they carry them out of the river? Do you know God likes for His children to ask “Why?” Do you know why?  It gives God the opportunity to reveal more of Himself to us. I believe one reason God put Scripture in writing the way He did was to get us to ask “why?” Of course, God intends for us to keep reading andstudying to find the answer. As parents and grandparents we have a responsibility to share our faith with our children and grandchildren. We all know Christianity is just 1 generation away from extinction. Read Judges 2:6-15. True Christians know America lives in that passage. Will your children and g-children hold fast to your faith in Christ and His Word? LISTEN! The answer to that question is “yes!” They will do as they have seen you do – whether that is good or bad! The greatest memorial stone that any person can have is the day of your salvation! Do you remember it? Have you shared it with your children? Is your life changed because of it? If not, if there is no change – you’re not saved!!! So the question is: what memorial are you building to cause your children, grandchildren to follow hard after God? God also wanted the memorial so it would:
  3. SHAPE THEIR WORSHIP. Read Joshua 4:23, 24. The fear of God reminds us we are the children of an Almighty God Who is to be worshipped. Truth be told our entire life should be lived in an attitude of worship before the God who saved us. God also wanted the memorial:
  4. TO SHATTER THEIR PAST. Read Joshua 4:9. Notice Josh went back into the river bed and set up 12 stones! Now watch! It is significant God had Israel cross the Jordan at Gilgal. In Hebrew it means “the reproach has been rolled away!” The point: God was telling Israel, 40 years of wandering, defeat, failure were all behind them, buried just like the stones in the river. Their past was just that – “past!” Now God wanted them to turn and face their future in Canaan, the land of promise and blessing. That’s the same thing He wants for you today! Don’t dwell on the past. Paul tells us – forget the past and read for the things that are before! Press toward the markAll these reasons and more are why we need holidays like Memorial Day, we need to remember because we tend to forget! We need to write things down, buy souvenirs, observe the Lords’ Supper, set up stone memorials in our minds to remind us how great and mighty God is – lest we forget!!! Peter tells us we are “living stones being built up as a spiritual house, to be a holy priesthood, to offer spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ.” Let us work hard remembering–lest we forget.

If we can help you with your spiritual questions, call us at 574-643-9419.

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