05/05/2020 – Think, Look, and Remember
We just saw the nation of Israel cross the Jordan River in a surprising and miraculous way. Everyone is safe and everyone is dry but, before they moved on, there is still one little detail the Lord wants taken care of.
Joshua 4:1b-3: “The Lord said to Joshua, ‘Choose twelve mem…one from each tribe, and tell them to take up twelve stones from the middle of the Jordan…and to carry them over with you and put them down at the place where you stay tonight.” While the priests are still standing in the River bed holding the Ark of the Covenant, the Lord tells Joshua to choose twelve men to go back to where the priests are standing, have each one pick up a large stone and carry it to the other side..
Joshua 4:6-7: “to serve as a sign among you. In the future, when your children ask you, ‘What do these stones mean?’ tell them that the flow of the Jordan was cut off before the Ark of the Covenant of the Lord. When it crossed the Jordan, the waters of the Jordan were cut off. These stones are to be A MEMORIAL to the people of Israel FOREVER.”
Israel was commended to observe the Passover every year. The Lord knows the importance of remembering.
Exodus 12:24-27: “Obey these instructions as a lasting ordinance for you and your descendants. When you enter the land the Lord will give you as He promised, observe this ceremony. And WHEN YOUR CHILDREN ASK YOU, ‘What does this ceremony mean to you?’ tell them ‘It is the Passover sacrifice to the Lord, who passed over the houses of the Israelites in Egyot and spared our homes when He struck down the Egyptians.”
The Lord wanted Israel to remember their deliverance from Egypt. After that dramatic crossing of the Red Sea in Exodus 13, Israel began celebrating the Passover in the Wilderness. (Numbers 9:5) He wanted every generation to know WHAT happened, HOW it happened and WHY it happened. He knew they would soon turn away from Him if they forgot it. So, He commands them to observe the Passover meal every year. Don’t forget to remember it.
It was the Lord’s way of telling them, as you celebrate the Passover, THINK of where you were. You were a slave and you had nothing to look forward to but death.
LOOK at where you are. You’re alive and you are free. You have hope and a future. You are no longer a slave. You are on your way to a new home and a new land.
Now REMEMBER how you got here. It’s not a result of anything YOU did. You never could have gotten yourselves out bondage in Egypt. GOD DID IT ALL FOR YOU. If He hadn’t, you would have died there
Here, in Joshua 4, Israel has just crossed the Jordan River in a very dramatic, and miraculous way. He commanded them to carry twelve large stones out of the Jordan River and set up a lasting memorial because that is something else the Lord never wanted them to forget.
Joshua 4:21-24: “In the future, when your descendants ask their fathers, ‘What do these stones mean?’ tell them, ‘Israel crossed the Jordan on dry ground….The Lord your God did to the Jordan what He had done to the Red Sea when He dried it up before us until we had crossed over. He did this so that all the peoples of the earth might know that the hand of the Lord is powerful and so that you might always fear the Lord your God.”
I want everyone of earth to know of my mighty power and I never want you to forget it. If you forget to remember, you will become unfaithful and that close, loving relationship I want us to have together will be destroyed.
THINK of where you were: wandering aimless in circles for forty years, never accomplishing anything and never getting anywhere, constantly grumbling and complaining.
LOOK at where you are. This land is your land, the land the Lord promised Abraham He would give to you. You didn’t earn it and you don’t deserve it, but the Lord is giving it to you as a gift. The Lord did it FOR you.
REMEMBER how you got here. Just like Egypt, you could not get here on your own. None of this would be possible without the Lord your God. Tell your children and teach your children to tell THEIR children about the meaning of those twelve stones from the Jordan River. Don’t forget to remember what those twelve stones represent.
Nothing destroys our close, intimate, personal relationship with the Lord faster than forgetfulness. When we’re facing a crisis, we cry out to the Lord for help. In mercy, love, and grace He reaches out and delivers us. Of course, we’re thankful when He does that, and we give Him joyful praise.
But as our situation improves and we’re no longer facing a crisis, we become increasingly focused on our daily routines. We get busy. We spend less time in prayer, less time in praise, and less time in His Word. In other words, we quickly forget. The Lord has commanded us to remember. Because of our sinful, human nature, if we do not remember we will not remain faithful.
1 Corinthians 11:23-26 “The Lord Jesus, on the night He was betrayed, took bread, and when He had given thanks, He broke it and said, ‘This is my body which is for you; do this in remembrance of me.’ In the same wy, after supper He took the cup, saying, ‘This cup is the new covenant in my blood; do this, whenever you drink it, in remembrance of me.’ For whenever you eat this bread and drink this cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death until He comes.”
Think of where you were: “You were separate from Christ, excluded…foreigners…without hope and without God in the world.”(Ephesians 2:12) You were a slave to sin. You were dead in sin, deserving nothing but the eternal wrath of God, and there was nothing you could do about it. You could not save yourself and nothing you tried to do could change God’s mind and make you acceptable to Him.
Look at where you are:” But now in Christ Jesus, you who were once far away have been brought near.” (Ephesians 2:13a)
“How great is the love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are!” (1 John3:1)
“Let us then approach the Throne of Grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.” (Hebrews 4:16)
We no longer stand in condemnation for sin. (Romans 8:1) Because of God’s grace, those who repent of their sin are forgiven and their sins are remembered no more. (Hebrews 8:12)
REMEMBER how you got here. “You who were once far away have been brought near through the blood of Christ.” (Ephesians 2:13)
“While we were still sinners, Christ died for us. Since we have been justified by His blood, how much more shall we be saved from God’s wrath through Him!” (Romans 5:-9) Moses did not part the Red Sea. Joshua did not stop the waters of the Jordan River and WE did not do anything to make ourselves acceptable to a holy God. Jesus paid it all. All to Him we owe.
“For it by grace you have been saved, through faith – and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God – not by works so that no one can boast.” (Ephesians 2:8) Eat the bread. Drink the cup and remember the one who died and rose again to save you and give you an abundant, everlasting life.
DON’T EVER FORGET TO REMEMBER. The Bible makes it very clear that the leading cause of unfaithfulness is forgetfulness.
Thanks for staying with this. Lord willing, we’ll be back next week to get In God’s Word with Pastor Buj. Love hearing your comments and questions.