Summary: What it means to be a memorial to God
MEMORIALS OF FLESH OR STONE
INTRODUCTION: Every major military campaign executed by the United States has some sort of memorial remembrance. From 1776 to the present day, America in one form or another remembers its conflicts and wars. Those who have given of themselves and paid sacrifices both great and small.
Joshua chapter 4 is about the fledgling nation of Israel establishing its first memorial. A memorial to the power of God to see them through into the promised land.
At the edge of the water, Joshua instructs the people of Israel to both construct a memorial, and to pass on the reason it is there.
Let’s look at the text together, ……
• Joshua Commands A Memorial to be built
o Meant to remind the people of God’s involvement in their lives
• Joshua has representatives from al the tribes take part
o Memorials are not meant for one era, and not another.
o Memorials are the cumulative history of our triumphs and sacrifices. They are meant to stand the test of the elements in order to preserve the record of our freedoms
• Joshua gave instructions concerning the meaning of this memorial
o The memorial was to be a sign for the future
o Commemorate the crossing of the Jordan River
o Testify as to the power of God
• Problem is that Israel forgot about the memorial and forgot about God
o The 106th Psalm is an abridged history of Israel’s actions BECAUSE they forgot
o When the people of Israel forgot about God they began to do ungodly things
o The ungodly things they did brought down the judgment of God
A memorial is no good if what we memorialize is forgotten!
Now we shoot to the New Testament, Acts 10
We find ourselves in the house of Cornelius, a Roman military leader. He is a Centurion. He receives a visit from an angel, who in turn has an interesting message from God for him, “Your prayers and gifts to the poor have come up as a memorial offering before God.” The angel now gives instruction relative to this memorial.
The Living memorial of Cornelius, …
• Revealed the power of God
o Cornelius was afraid!
o Hey, this guy is no couch potato if you know what I mean. He is a pretty dominant guy. Yet, he is afraid
• Revealed the plan of God
o To Cornelius
Send your men to Joppa
o To Peter
Vision on the rooftop
Peter before the church
• Removes doubts and fears from men
o Jews and gentiles did not usually mix
o God revealed – no fear or doubt at going
• Humbles God’s servants
o Peter understood that God does not show favorites
o Peter understood that God plan often differs from our plan
• Opens our ears
o Opened Peters ears to what is and is not clean
o Open Peters ears to who was calling him
o Opened Cornelius ears to the message of the gospel
• Brings courage to reach out
o New Territory for the gospel
o Had not gone out to the Gentiles
o Brings anger in the status quo
o Brings courage in the hearts of true believers
• Breaks down barriers
o Got the gospel to where it had never been before
o Got the message of God to where it had never been before
• Brings us closer to God
Hebrews 13:2 Do not forget to entertain strangers, for by so doing some people have entertained angels without knowing it.
We have memorials all around us. Some are very ornate, others quite simple. Yet, with as many statues and monuments that surround us, we are all quite ignorant of their story. Even today, as horrific an event as that of 9/11 is slowly being forgotten by our nation as a whole. The battles of WW1 and WW2 are slowly fading into history. Not because they are without meaning, but because those who were impacted by these events are slowly dying out. And without a living memory, they too will be forgotten.
God tells us that we can either have a memorial of stone to him in our lives, kind of like the family Bible that sits on the shelf, dusty and smelling a little moldy. The memory and character of God, his power and majesty quietly forgotten or moved to the rear of our thoughts and concerns. Or a memorial that lives. A memorial of flesh, not a pile of stones, but a living breathing memorial of God’s goodness, greatness, and involvement in our world. A memorial that entertains the angels of God and continually places a fragrance at the throne of the Almighty.