Monday, May 30, 2011

‘What do these stones mean?’

‘What do these stones mean?’

Text: Joshua:4:1-24

This is one of the most significant passages in all of Scripture.  If you don't believe that, please keep reading.  I hope to change your mind.

This chapter comes just after Moses' death.  Joshua is the new leader of the Israelites and times are tough.  They are marching into a new land. They have just had the report of the spies who crossed over and went to Jericho where they found Rahab..who by the way not only helped the spies get in and out of the town without being noticed, but also is mentioned in the genealogy of Jesus. They come to the mighty Jordan river on orders for the Lord.  They find that the river is swollen because of recent torrential rains. They are told to: “Consecrate yourselves, for tomorrow the LORD will do amazing things among you.”

The stage is set.  Can the Lord deliver?  Can they cross the river safely? The answer is found in Chapter 3 of Joshua.  You will want to read all of it before coming to Chapter 4.

At this juncture, the Lord says: " 1 When the whole nation had finished crossing the Jordan, the LORD said to Joshua, 2 “Choose twelve men from among the people, one from each tribe, 3 and tell them to take up twelve stones from the middle of the Jordan, from right where the priests are standing, and carry them over with you and put them down at the place where you stay tonight.” 

After the priests had come out of the Jordan and the stones had been gathered, Joshua build a memorial at that very place that the LORD lead the Sons of Israel out of certain death.  This did 2 things.  1) It cemented Joshua's position of rightful leader of the Israelites. The Bible says, "That day the LORD exalted Joshua in the sight of all Israel; and they stood in awe of him all the days of his life, just as they had stood in awe of Moses."  Joshua 4:14


2) It established a memorial so that Israel could forever remember what the Lord had done there in that insignificant place for such and insignificant people, as people go.  Recall that the LORD himself said that he did not choose Israel because of their greatness nor because they were the most numerous.  It was because he loved their fathers and made a covenant with them that he chose them.  they had nothing to brag about.  They were however, on God's side and in His will.  That made them significant. That made then unbeatable.

Now on this Memorial Day 2011, we too get to remember the brave fighting men and women who have given their lives for us. Memorial Day it seems to me, is getting less and less important every year.  When I was a kid growing up, I remember the parade that always started in down town and proceeded to the cemetery where we would have a 21 gun salute and the mandatory taps played. I usually marched in the honor guard with the flags.  And it always brought chills to my spine to realize the reason we were marching to the cemetery. 

My dad fought in WWII.  Marine Corps. Pacific.  Infantry. Tough as nails and as mean as they come.  He had to be to survive.  But because of that...I was born and I enjoy living in a free and most excellent nation.  I believe that with all my heart.

If you think of it, there are only 2 people who have died for you.  Can you name them?

The first is Jesus.  Jesus died on the cross to save you from your sins.  Have you accepted that truth yet?  When will you realize that?  When will you bow the knee and surrender your will to the only one who can save you from your sins?  Think about it. make a decision today.

The second who died for you is the American G.I.  They died so you can live in freedom and relative safety.  If it wasn't for their sacrifice, have you ever though about where you would be today?  have you ever thought about the quality of life you would have?  It gives me shivers when I think of how things might have been if it wasn't for the willingness of those brave men and women to serve our nation.

 So memorials are a good thing.  Memorial Day is a good ting if it helps us to never forget the sacrifice that was made and is still being made today for our freedom and quality of life...not only here, but world-wide.  The world should remember the sacrifices of the American G.I. as well...not just us.  but it has to start here.  Respect and remembrance has to be kept alive and well here if we have any hope that the world will remember.

How about you?   Two questions for you. 1) Have you accepted Jesus as your Lord and Savior? and 2) Have you given the proper respect to the American G.I.

I pray that you can answer "Yes!" to both questions.