Summary: A living reminder of thankfulness.
Stones of Remembrance
A. INTRODUCTION: JOSHUA 4:1-9
1. After God performed a significant miracle for the establishment of the nation in the land, a memorial was set up to remind future generations: (a) what God did; past; (b) who they were; present; (c) how to live in the future.
2. After the settlers came to America, we set up Thanksgiving Day to:
(a) remind us why we came to America; religious freedom;
(b) challenge us to be thankful to God, and (c) focus on being a beacon of liberty.
3. Begun by God. Whose idea was it to set up a monument? “The Lord spoke, ‘Take you hence out of the midst of Jordan . . . twelve stones’” (4:1,3).
4. A memorial. Why were the stones set up? “That this may be a sign among you” (4:6). The twelve stones were a memorial or symbol, i.e., an outward symbol of an inner message.
5. Why were twelve stones set up instead of a large monument?
a. Unity and inclusion: “According to the number of tribes” (4:5).
b. Redemption. Twelve stones were set up like an altar where blood was shed.
6. Why were the stones for children? “When your children ask their fathers in time to come saying, ‘What mean ye by these stones?’” (4:6).
a. Inquisitive. Children ask questions to learn.
b. For the future. Children do not know our heritage if we do not teach them.
c. All forget. Even adults need to be reminded.
7. What did the stones tell the children about the past?
a. They had been slaves in Egypt.
b. They wandered forty years – lost.
c. The river was an uncrossable barrier.
d. God did a miracle to bring them into the land.
8. What did the stones tell the children about the future?
a. They were God’s unique covenant people.
b. Since God led them into the land, He would guide them in the future.
c. God could solve future problems and protect them.
9. What should Thanksgiving tell us today?
a. God was active in the founding of this nation.
“Having undertaken for the Glory of God, and advancement of the Christian Faith, and the Honor of our King and country, a voyage to plant the first colony in the northern parts of . . . solemnly and mutually in the presence of God and one another, we covenant and combine ourselves together into a civil body politick.” The Mayflower Compact
b. We have a duty to tell our children what God has done.
c. Our children have a responsibility to God. “That ye might fear the Lord your God forever” (4:24).
10. What should the stones tell other nations? “That all the people of the earth might know the hand of the Lord, that it is mighty” (4:24).
a. God’s presence in Israel.
b. God’s power for Israel.
11. What was the power of the miracle?
a. God’s priority. “As soon as the soles of the feet of the priests that bear the Ark of the Lord . . . the waters of the Jordan shall be cut off” (3:15-16).
b. God’s presence. “There I will meet with thee . . . from above the mercy seat, between the two cherubims which are upon the Ark” (Ex. 25:22).
12. Why was the day special?
a. Left Egypt exactly forty years earlier. Israel left Egypt on the night of the Passover. “This day shall be unto you for a memorial; and ye shall keep it a feast unto the Lord” (Ex. 12:14). “It is the Lord’s Passover” (Ex. 12:27).
b. Passed over Jordan forty years later. “The children of Israel encamped in Gilgal and kept the Passover” (5:10).
13. Why was/is Thanksgiving special?
a. Harvest day. They ate of the land. “They did eat of the old corn of the land” (Joshua 5:11).
b. Gratitude. They thanked God for provision.
c. Future commitment. They prepared for God’s future blessing.
B. LESSONS TO TAKE AWAY
1. What do we use to help us remember?
a. Personal scrapbooks, souvenirs, gifts from special people, gifts on special occasions, plaques, engagement rings, wedding bands.
b. Church. Cornerstones, plaques, something named for a person.
c. Family. Anniversaries, birthdays, family Bibles, tombstones.
d. Nation. Monuments, buildings, holidays, street names, wailing wall.
2. What do these “stones” do for children?
a. Tie them to the past.
b. Evaluate the present.
c. Set future expectations.
3. What will “stones” do for you?
a. Give you hope. If God has led me thus far, He can do it in the future.
b. Tie children to you. Personalizes history.
4. What do “stones” do for your whole family?
a. Family identity. In a day where children leave home and forget about family, “stones” enhance family ties.
b. Roots. “Stones” tell all family members of their common origin.