Monday, 31 May 2004 00:00

12 Memorial Stones

Joshua 4:5-7 (KJV)

And Joshua said unto them, Pass over before the ark of the LORD your God into the midst of Jordan, and take you up every man of you a stone upon his shoulder, according unto the number of the tribes of the children of Israel: That this may be a sign among you, that when your children ask their fathers in time to come, saying, What mean ye by these stones? Then ye shall answer them, That the waters of Jordan were cut off before the ark of the covenant of the LORD; when it passed over Jordan, the waters of Jordan were cut off: and these stones shall be for a memorial unto the children of Israel for ever.

Memorial Day, originally called Decoration Day, is a day of remembrance for those who have died in our nation's service. It was first observed on May 30, 1868 when flowers were placed on the graves of Union and Confederate soldiers (136 years ago). The word "memorial" comes from the same root word as "remember." The first "Memorial Day" took place thousands of years ago when Joshua led the children of Israel across the Jordan and took "12 Memorial Stones" and built a memorial for the people to "remember..."

  1. The Lord is worthy of our trust...
    The Israelites had made their long journey from Egypt to Canaan. They came to the eastern side of the swollen Jordan river. Hundreds of thousands of people needed to cross over into the promised land. God said He would raise the waters in a heap... "as soon as the soles of the feet... shall rest in the waters" (Joshua 3:13).
    1. We must trust His word even when you can't see Him work...
      "It is the first instinctive impulse of unbelief to seek a sign" S.F. Smiley
    2. We must trust His heart even when we can't trace His hand...
      Mature faith must dare and endure with nothing other than seeing Him who is invisible.
  2. The world is a witness to our triumph...
    The Lord instructed Joshua to build a memorial of 12 stones taken from the dry riverbed and place them at Gilgal. This memorial teaches us about God's grace to us.
    1. What we once were...
      1. We were once stuck in the "miry clay" of the river of sin...
        "He brought me out of the miry clay" (Psalm 40:2).
      2. We were once in darkness, far from any light...
        " (Our) minds were blinded..." (II Corinthians 3:14).
      3. We were once without hope of recovery...
        But never forget the two greatest words in the Bible, "But God..."
    2. What we have become...
      1. We have become His special possession...
      2. We have become united with others of similar purpose...
      3. We are a memorial to others of the grace of God...
        "What mean ye by these stones" ask the children? Tell them your story.
  3. The future is worry free, though we face other trials...
    A memorial is a way for us to remember the past in order to prepare for the future. He who is ignorant of the past is bound to repeat the same mistakes in the future.
    "To test the present you must appeal to history." (Sir Winston Churchill)

    "Faith is the refusal to panic." (Dr. D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones)

    Where are you in your life? Are there swollen rivers that you must cross? Do you feel it is impossible to go any further, much less move forward as a conqueror? This is Memorial Weekend. Remember God. He is always faithful to His people.

    "The Lord your God dried up the waters" (Joshua 4:23).

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