Summary: Christians are called to be signs of faith!
The Israelites were God’s Chosen People. Why did God have to choose a people??
And so, here’s something to think about: There are almost 7 billion people in the world, why did God choose you? Take a moment to quietly ponder about this question as we prepare for Joshua 4….
Israel was God’s chosen people and God promised them the Land of Canaan. The promise was first made to Abraham then confirmed to his son Isaac and then to Isaac's son Jacob, who wrestled with God and given the name Israel. Twelve tribes emerged from Israel. Although all have sinned, God was faithful and constantly called godly leaders and saved the Israelites from their foolishness! This is true for us today as well!
Moses was called by God to lead the people out of Egypt. God then called Joshua to lead the Chosen People, about 3 million at that point, to cross the Jordan River and claim the Promised Land.
Read along with me now Joshua 4:1-9….
As we can note at the end of v7, God’s plan was to have the people of Israel remember who God is forever. Why do you think God’s Chosen people needed a memorial??
If Christians are God’s chosen People today, how good is our remembrance of God on a day to day basis? We will talk more about this next week as we celebrate Communion; but this morning, let’s simply follow the sequence of events which led to that memorial of God’s power and grace.
We noted last week from Joshua 3 that God revealed His power by holding back the flow of a mighty river so that the 3 million Israelites could walk through that barrier to the Promised Land; that was like the Mississippi River being miraculously held back and half of the people in Wisconsin walked on dry land to go to Minnesota; the reason to go to Minnesota? - to go to the Mall of America of course!
Okay, back to what’s important. God was providing an abundant land for the Israelites but He desired for them to remember how it was done.
What do we note in v1-3 of Joshua 4? God told Joshua the leader specifically what they were to do!
And what do we note from v4-7? Joshua the leader instructed the people what to do and explained the purpose.
And in v8-9, the people did what was told of them!
Again the result of all of this? Look again at v6-7….
God’s desire was to encourage the Israelites with their faith in God and to pass on that faith to future generations!
As Christians today, the God of Israel is our God as well who still desires to encourage us to live by faith. God tells us in Hebrews 11:6 “And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him.”
What signs can we Christians have today to encourage our faith in God and be able to pass it down to our children? Yes, first and foremost, Faith comes by hearing the Word of God (Romans 10:17). This follows what God did in Joshua 4, God spoke to the Israelites, God speaks to us today through the Bible.
And so, 1. The Bible is a must read for us on a daily basis and ensure to pass God’s Word to our children! Many of us will say, “I know this already”, but how are we actually doing with this foundational truth? Are we truly in love with God’s Word? Where is your Bible at home and when was the last time you read it? Are we really encouraging our children to love the Bible or are we confusing them questions about the Bible?
Another sign which God desires for us and for our children to note is our spiritual growth! How do we know we are growing spiritually? – by obeying God more and more! The memorial by the Jordan River could not happen without the Israelites obeying God.
2. Grow spiritually – yield to God and obey Him more and more so that those who follow us will see we truly believe in God! This is why it is very important for us to pray for one another to grow spiritually. Spiritual growth of those around us will encourage us in our own faith. I praise the Lord for many of you who I see are truly growing in the Lord. I thank many of you for you encourage me with your growing faith!
And along with our faith is our worship. Our worship is a sign to encourage us and one another. 1 Corinthians 14 tells us that when we come together and worship in spirit and in truth, we will encourage one another and anyone who comes who is not a Believer.