Summary: God instructed Joshua and the children of Israel to take up stones to remember what He had done for them in leading them out of Egypt.
At Beginning of the Service:
Beginning Illustration: REMEMBERING MY PURPOSE
The Taj Mahal is one of the most beautiful and costly tombs ever built, but there is something fascinating about its beginnings.
In 1629, when the favorite wife of Indian ruler Shah Jahan died, he ordered that a magnificent tomb be built as a memorial to her. The shah placed his wife’s casket in the middle of a parcel of land, and construction of the temple literally began around it. But several years into the venture, the Shah’s grief for his wife gave way to a passion for the project. One day while he was surveying the sight, he reportedly stumbled over a wooden box, and he had some workers throw it out. It was months before he realized that his wife’s casket had been destroyed. The original purpose for the memorial became lost in the details of construction. SOURCE: Dr. James Dobson, Coming Home, Timeless Wisdom for Families, (Tyndale House Publishers, Wheaton; 1998), p. 122.
For many of us, we think of Memorial Day as a day we don’t have to work. We can go to the lake, have a cookout – enjoy the outdoors. Some think of it in terms of the beginning of the summer time. But when we do this, only, we are moving away from the original meaning and intent of the day.
You see, Memorial Day had it’s beginning in Waterloo, New York in 1866. The town wanted to pay tribute to those who had died in the Civil War. Fast-forward to today – we now celebrate the last Monday of May as Memorial Day. It now is a day of remembrance of all those who died in any war and many people use this day to also remember those family members and close friends that have died.
You see this Holiday isn’t about going to the lake or anything like that. It is about remembering. Now there is nothing wrong with going to the lake, having cookouts and such because as we remember we can celebrate life with those around us. But we cannot allow ourselves to forget the original purpose.
So as you go through the day, take time out to remember our heroes who have literally laid down their lives for our freedom in this country.
Go through the War Slide
I want to continue the theme of Memorial’s. All of us have memories of people, places and experiences that bring all kinds of emotions to our heart. Some call these memories “mental markers”. They take us back to something that has meaning and significance. Many of these “markers” have physical reminders.
OBJECT LESSON: My OU Champ Plaque
Sometimes these markers are connected with something positive while others may not be so good times where there was struggle or disappointment. Both types can be used to strength us. They both can teach valuable lessons if we will simply allow ourselves to learn from them. Let me ask, how many of you have pictures of events, people, etc. that carry with it memories that make you smile when you see them? That is what I’m talking about.
In the Bible we find many examples of people putting up physical markers to remind them of spiritual truths and experiences. These spiritual markers are a kind of memorial that bring the experience and truth to our minds. Today I want to look at 3 of these markers. Each one of these involves a Stone or Rock. I have called this message: The Stones of Memorial.
My hope is that you will recognize some of these markers in your life. As you recognize them, celebrate them! Maybe you need to establish some of these in your life. Today would be a great time to do that.
Read Joshua 4:1-9
Joshua and the Children of Israel had been in the wilderness for 40 years. All the people who had doubted God’s word about their being able to enter the land of Canaan had died and now the time came for the rest of them to begin entering into the Promised Land.
God told Joshua to take 12 stones from the middle of the Jordan River. One for each tribe. It was to be used as a memorial to the whole nation. No tribe was left out. It is significant that the rocks were taken from where the Ark of the Covenant was being held. It signified several things about God that He wanted them to know and always remember. I believe He wants us to remember that He is the same now as He was then. He is the same yesterday, today and forever! The lessons learned by the Israelites about God are lessons we too can learn and live by. May we see these Stones of Memorial in our lives!