Summary: We need to remember what God has done for us, and realize that He can do it again.
A Trip Down Memory Lane
Text: Joshua 4:1-24
1. Illustration: Maybe you heard about a guy named John who had a really horrible memory. One day John ran into a friend whom he had not seen in a long time. He greeted him & said, “Bill, do you remember what a bad memory I had?” Bill answered, “Yes, I certainly do.” “Well, it’s not bad any more. I went to a seminar that taught us how to remember things. It was a great seminar, & now I have a wonderful memory.”
Bill answered, “That’s great! What was the name of the seminar?” “Well,” John said, “wait a minute, my wife went with me. I’ll ask her.” He turned & saw his wife nearby. Then he turned back to Bill & said, “What’s the name of that flower with a long stem & thorns & a red bloom?” “Do you mean a rose?” Bill answered, “Yeah, thanks,” John said, “Hey, Rose, what’s the name of that seminar we attended?”
2. The problem with far too many Christians is that we have short memories.
a. We forget the victories that God has given us.
b. We forget the blessings that God has given us.
c. We forget the miracles that God has performed for us.
3. Heb. 13:8 Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever.
Proposition: We need to remember what God has done for us, and realize that He can do it again.
Transition: First, we need to...
I. Remember the Victories (1-7)
A. A Sign Among You
1. After Joshua and the people had crossed the Jordan, the Lord gave Joshua another command.
2. He said, "Choose twelve men from among the people, one from each tribe, and tell them to take up twelve stones from the middle of the Jordan from right where the priests stood and to carry them over with you and put them down at the place where you stay tonight."
a. The Lord knew that they were short-minded people, and that they would soon forget all that He had just done for them.
b. He also knew that their faith would be severely tested in the days to come.
c. Therefore, he had Joshua order twelve men to take stones from right in the middle of the Jordan where the priests had stood with the Ark.
3. However, we need to notice how Joshua words his orders to the twelve men. He says, "Go over before the ark of the LORD your God into the middle of the Jordan."
a. We need to see that the role of the Ark in his commands is crucial (Woudstra, 91).
b. He did not tell them to go and get stones from where the priests were standing, but he said to "go over before the Ark of the Lord."
c. The Ark symbolized to them the presence of Yahweh.
d. What they needed to remember was not what they had done, but what God had done.
e. They did not cross over the Jordan on dry ground because they were all powerful, but because the Lord was all-powerful.
4. The purpose of the stones was "to serve as a sign among you. In the future, when your children ask you, ’What do these stones mean?’"
a. A stone monument was commonly used as a memorial to remind future generations of what had happened at a particular place (NIV Study Bible Notes. Pradis CD-ROM).
b. This is also common today, and if you don’t believe me go down to the town square and see the monument to those from this community who gave their lives in war.
c. This was not just to be a reminder to them of what the Lord had done for them, but also a reminder to the generations to come.
5. We can also see another reason they were to remember. Notice what Joshua calls the Ark: "the ark of the covenant of the LORD."
a. This brings us back to the idea of covenant love.
b. This victory is to be looked upon as an expression of God’s covenant love (Woudstra, 91).
c. Deut. 7:7-8 The LORD did not set his affection on you and choose you because you were more numerous than other peoples, for you were the fewest of all peoples. But it was because the LORD loved you and kept the oath he swore to your forefathers that he brought you out with a mighty hand and redeemed you from the land of slavery, from the power of Pharaoh king of Egypt.
d. God did this because He loved them.
B. God Still Brings Victories
1. Illustration: I’ve always liked the story of the 3 old widows who lived together. One sister got up to go to bed, half way up the stairs she stopped and asked "was I going up or was I coming down"