A daily, Bible-based perspective of hope, encouragement and exhortation.
Monday, May 31, 2021
All four of our porch light robins are healthy and growing. The nest is so stuffed when Mama Robin is resting with them their heads often droop over the side of the nest, probably to get some fresh air and to keep their beaks from being crushed.
(photo by Ester yesterday)
"What Do These Stones Mean?"
Message summary: "Spiritual amnesia" is a recurring condition each of us must battle against.
Listen to this message on your audio player.
"Be careful that you do not forget the LORD your God" (Deuteronomy 8:11a). "Those twelve stones which they had taken from the Jordan, Joshua set up at Gilgal. And he said to the people of Israel, “When your children ask their fathers in times to come, ‘What do these stones mean?' tell them, ‘Israel crossed the Jordan on dry ground.’ For the Lord your God dried up the Jordan before you until you had crossed over. The Lord your God did to the Jordan what He had done to the Red Sea when He dried it up before us until we had crossed over. He did this so that all the peoples of the earth might know that the hand of the Lord is powerful and so that you might always fear the Lord your God”" (Joshua 4:20-24).
Today is "Memorial Day" here in the United States and we especially remember those who served and gave their lives for our freedoms. Although I don't know whether other countries have a day similar to this or not, wherever we live we can also use this day to consider our heritage and remember those who have gone on before us.
Peter Greer, is the leader of "Hope International" a ministry based here in Lancaster County. He's also a thoughtful writer and speaker. Years ago I heard him share a message at a Hope International banquet cautioning against a condition he called "spiritual amnesia". Spiritual amnesia is something we all battle against in one way or another. As a physical disease amnesia "refers to the loss of memories, such as facts, information and experiences" (Mayo Clinic).
However we can also deal with amnesia regarding spiritual matters as well. In his final sermon Moses gave this solemn warning, "Be careful that you do not forget the LORD your God". That is a most needed caution for every generation.
After crossing the Jordan River Joshua had the Israelites gather and make a pile of twelve stones as a memory aid for future generations. He was anticipating a future time when the children would ask, "What do these stones mean?".
The southern Gospel group Legacy Five has a song titled "Monuments" that expresses this Bible account and we will use verses from their song in our message today (video link below).
God's people stood on the river of Jordan
Looking back on the water they had passed through
They shouted and raised their voices to heaven
But Joshua said there's one thing we must do.
They laid twelve stones on the banks of the river
At Gilgal they offered their tribute that day
Their children would question them, "What are these stones?"
"Child, they mark the spot of this sanctified day."
Joshua instructed the Israelites to answer the question "What do these stones mean?" by recounting the story of God's wonderful deliverance that had just taken place, "so that all the peoples of the earth may know that the hand of the Lord is mighty, that you may fear the Lord your God forever" (Joshua 4:24).
There are several other monuments in the book of Joshua that often involve stones. In fact, immediately prior to his death, Joshua set up a stone (Joshua 24:27) as a witness in regard to his powerful challenge to the people in making the daily choice to serve God. "And the people said to Joshua, 'The Lord our God we will serve, and His voice we will obey'.”
We have two challenges for our readers to consider concerning monuments in your life:
1) Do you recall certain "stone piles" in your life that remind you of God's faithfulness? These may be either purposefully set up as the 12 stones from the Jordan River in Joshua's time or they may be a divinely ordained event in life. What a blessing to recall these "stone pile" monuments standing as a reminder of God's faithfulness and our commitment to follow in His ways.
2) Do you have "stone piles" set up as monuments for those who come behind you? These may be specific memories of God's help, places, items or people that prompt the question, "What does this mean?" Perhaps it's a spiritual journal, a book of answered prayers, a picture that signifies God's miraculous provision, or maybe a former "help" needed such as an arm or leg brace before God provided divine healing. We do this so "that all the peoples of the earth may know that the hand of the Lord is mighty, that you may fear the Lord your God forever."
Perhaps we all need to set up some monuments within our lives and be on our guard against spiritual amnesia since it is a recurring condition each of us must battle against.
Mothers and fathers of this generation
there's hope for your family keep this in mind
Don't move the landmarks set up for your children
they will find the way by what we've left behind.
Where are the monuments we should be leaving
so our children can find the way to get home
We should be laying stones so they can follow
the pathway that leads to God's throne.
Be encouraged today, (Hebrews 3:13)
Stephen & Brooksyne Weber
Daily prayer: Father, I marvel at the trace of Your hand in my life. If I were to speak of the "stones" of deliverance and provision the first and most important "stone" would be the moment You delivered me from darkness and transferred me into the kingdom of Your light. You took the uncertainties of my life and gave me an eternal purpose for living. I am so grateful for the solid, reliable "stone" of salvation that is the starting point for the path of stones where I've seen Your hand in my life as I've experienced Your deliverance, provision and faithfulness every step along my pilgrim journey. Step by step, Lord, You walk with me on this straight and narrow path that leads to life eternal while upholding me with Your righteous right hand. Amen.
Study note: As we study God's Word we notice how connected and cognizant the people of God were with their past and how throughout the Scriptures God instituted reminders for them. However as we observe contemporary man we are struck by how many know so little about the past and even more stunning is their lack of interest. Monuments or Memorials are visible markers intended to remind us. In the Old Testament and for Jews to this day the most important reminder was the Passover. For Christians the most important is the Lord's Supper.
Today's Suggested Music and Supplemental Resources
"Monuments" Video Legacy Five
"We Will Remember" Video Triumphant Quartet
Peter Greer's book "Mission Drift" has a vitally important message for the church and individuals. "Too often, as Christian organizations grow, the Gospel often becomes cursory, expendable, or even forgotten. Again and again, leaders have watched their ministries, businesses, and nonprofits professionalize, expand, and lose sight of their original goals. Even churches can stray from their calling."
Peter's message about Mission Drift to a group of Convene business leaders Video (28:30)
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Personal Mission Statement: "I am created by God to bring Him glory. Through God's Son Jesus Christ I have been redeemed and make it my life's goal to please the Lord. My mission in life is to honor God through my faith and obedience and prepare myself and all whom I may influence for eternity."
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