Sermons

Summary: The effects of praise, and success of small increments

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Roaring Springs and Matador

United Methodist Churches

June 4, 2000

Rev. Monte Wike, Pastor

“RAISED VOICES, FLATTENED WALLS”

The Effects of Praise, the Success of Small Increments

A Look at Leadership, #4

GREATER TEXT: Joshua chapters 4, 5 and 6.

TEXT: Joshua 6: 16, “And it came to pass at the seventh time, when the priests blew with the trumpets, Joshua said unto the people, Shout; for the LORD hath given you the city.”

I. THE BENEFITS OF TRADITION

A. REMEMBERING THE RIVER

Joshua 4: 5-7, “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.”

Recalling successful ventures reinforces future daring. It was essential that the people not only crossed the swollen Jordan, but remembered it. A man from each tribe was asked to wait until all the people had crossed over, and just before the priests were cleared to depart, to enter the river bed and find the biggest stone they could carry and bring it out to the west bank. There the mound of stones would rise above flood level for an everlasting memorial to the wisdom of God and the power of His Word.

Giving thanks for past success is not only common courtesy, but establishes a rhythm, a pattern of gratitude following satisfactory performance. This works for God, churches, fellow workers, families, students, teachers, governments, anywhere there are positions of leadership and followship. Remembering a job well-done, and giving/getting praise for it strengthens the bond and supplies the energy for future undertakings. Praise is powerful, praise is positive, praise is promotional.

B. REESTABLISHING THE COVENANT

Joshua 5: 5-7, “Now all the people that came out were circumcised: but all the people that were born in the wilderness by the way as they came forth out of Egypt, them they had not circumcised. For the children of Israel walked forty years in the wilderness, till all the people that were men of war, which came out of Egypt, were consumed, because they obeyed not the voice of the LORD: unto whom the LORD sware that he would not show them the land, which the LORD sware unto their fathers that he would give us, a land that floweth with milk and honey. And their children, whom he raised up in their stead, them Joshua circumcised: for they were uncircumcised, because they had not circumcised them by the way.”

Not only is remembering and praise beneficial, but so is commitment to a purpose, a covenant with tradition. For the four-hundred years that the people of Israel were slaves, they had been faithful to circumcise week-old males. They kept the covenant, even in captivity. They failed to do so when they wandered forty years in confusion and aimless drifting. They were more concerned with staying alive than staying holy. The older generation died off, the younger generation did not even try to keep the covenant God had made with Abraham.

But once the signal had been given to actually cross the river into the promise land, they had to resurrect the covenant and laws and all males received circumcision. This seems a trivial matter to us today, but it was of vital importance to the Jews, because this was the outward symbolism of their Jewishness. They were not just warriors, but the people of God going into the land God had promised, to live as God directed, to obey his commands and directives.

“Raised Voices, Flattened Walls”, p.2

No matter the endeavor, it is worth while to stop occasionally and take stock of our heritage, to look again at the great under-lying principles upon which we operate. Are we staying true to our goals, or are we opportunists, constantly looking for that which will work or bring gain.

C. THE LAST MEAL OF MANNA

Joshua 5: 11-12, “And they did eat of the old corn of the land on the morrow after the passover, unleavened cakes, and parched corn in the selfsame day. And the manna ceased on the morrow after they had eaten of the old corn of the land; neither had the children of Israel manna any more; but they did eat of the fruit of the land of Canaan that year.”

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