Articles

Articles

7 Memorial Stones

  At the very beginning of Israel’s conquest of the land of Canaan Joshua begins something that would happen throughout his time as the nation’s leader.  It was something that as they would in later years travel around the land, would serve as a reminder for those who remembered firsthand what took place and an opportunity to teach the younger generation what those things meant.

Israel’s 7 Memorial Stones

To Remember Where They Came From

    In Joshua 4 the Lord commanded Joshua to have the people take up 12 stones from the Jordan River as they passed through it and it would be a sign among them.  It would be a reminder of where they had come from and the beginning of their time in the promised land. Joshua 4:20 – “And those twelve stones, which they took out of the Jordan, Joshua set up at Gilgal.”

To Remember the Seriousness of Sin

    In Joshua 7 Israel had just been defeated by the city of Ai.  Ai was small in comparison to the large and well-fortified city of Jericho that they had just previously defeated by the power of God.  Israel was defeated because Achan had taken some of the spoils and hidden them in his tent.  The Lord lays out a process for Joshua to narrow it down by tribes, clans, and families coming down to Achan.  Achan confesses his sin and then Joshua and the people take Achan, his family, and all of his possessions and stone them and burn them and then it says in Joshua 7:26 that “they raised over him a great heap of stones that remains to this day.  Then the Lord turned from his burning anger.  Therefore, to this day the name of that place is called the Valley of Achor.”

To Remember the Wisdom & Provision of the Lord

    The last time Israel had attempted to defeat Ai they lost 36 men and fled from that battle.  It’s interesting to compare the battle strategies of Israel the first time and the command from the Lord in chapter 8.  God’s plan for taking the city of course proves to work perfectly and masterfully and Israel defeats Ai.  The Lord allows Israel to plunder the city and take spoils of war (v.27) and afterwards “Joshua burned Ai and made it forever a heap of ruins, as it is to this day.” (v.28) Then Joshua hangs the King of Ai and over his body “raised over it a great heap of stones, which stands there to this day.”(v.29)

To Remember the Purity & Authority of God’s Word

    After this great defeat at Ai, Joshua follows through with a command that had been given him by Moses.  “At that time Joshua built an altar to the Lord, the God of Israel, on Mount Ebal…an altar of uncut stones upon which no man has wielded an iron tool.  And they offered on it burnt offerings to the Lord and sacrificed peace offerings. And there, in the presence of the people of Israel, he wrote on the stones a copy of the law of Moses, which he had written.”

To Remember the Power & Victory of the Lord

    In Joshua 10 you find Israel racing through the night coming to the aid of Gibeon as Gibeon is being attacked by the 5 Amorite kings.  The Lord tells Joshua that He has given this battle into his hands.  The Lord begins to rain down hailstones and kills more with the hailstones than Israel does with the sword.  In v.12-13 the Lord made the sun and moon stand still for an entire day until Israel was done with the battle.  The 5 Amorite kings were found hiding in a cave and Joshua had them hung and then when the sun finally went down he takes them down and puts them back into the cave “and they set large stones against the mouth of the cave, which remain to this very day.” (v.27)

To Remember the Fellowship With One Another

    After much of the conquest was over in Joshua 22 we find the tribe of Gad, Reuben, and half tribe of Manasseh returning home on the east side of the Jordan River.  As they return home they are concerned that because of the natural boundary the Jordan River creates that there would come a day when the other tribes would claim that they have no portion with them or with the Lord.  Joshua 22:10 says “when they came to the region of the Jordan that is in the land of Canaan, the people of Reuben and the people of Gad and the half-tribe of Manasseh built there an altar by the Jordan, an altar of imposing size.”  Despite a little misunderstanding it remained there  “For they said, it is a witness between us that the Lord is God.” (v.34)

To Remember Their Commitment To the Lord

    It’s then towards the end of Joshua’s life that he is giving one last public address to the people and challenging them and encouraging them to serve the Lord, “choose this day whom you will serve…But as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.” (24:15) Joshua then questions and challenges their sincerity in 24:19-25 but the people insist that they are going to serve the Lord.  Its then that Joshua “wrote these words in the Book of the Law of God.  And he took a large stone and set it up there under the terebinth that was by the sanctuary of the Lord.  And Joshua said to all the people, behold this stone shall be a witness against us, for it has heard all the words of the Lord that he spoke to us.  Therefore it shall be a witness against you, lest you deal falsely with your God.”

Our 7 Memorial Stones

    There are thousands of memorials within our nation that remind us of great events, tragic events, and nation shaping events.  But what about spiritually?  Do we have memorials like those in the day of Joshua to help remind us of these important things?

To Remember Where We Came From

    To help us remember where we came from we have nature itself.  Romans 1:20 says “His invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made.  So they are without excuse.”  Psalm 19:1 – “The heavens declare the glory of God, and the sky above proclaims his handiwork.  Day to day pours out speech, and night to night reveals knowledge.”

To Remember the Seriousness of Sin

    You can’t partake of the Lord’s Supper memorial without contemplating the seriousness of sin.  Hebrews 10:12 – “But when Christ had offered for all time a single sacrifice for sins, he sat down at the right hand of God, waiting from that time until his enemies should be made a footstool for his feet.”

To Remember the Wisdom & Provision of the Lord

    Each Lord’s day we carry out the command to give as we have prospered in the collection.  2 Corinthians 9:7 - “Each one must give as he has decided in his heart, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver…as it is written, He has distributed freely, he has given to the poor; his righteousness endures forever.”(v.9)

To Remember the Purity & Authority of God’s Word

    Within our hands we hold each day a reminder of the purity and authority of God’s word.  Peter says “His divine power has granted to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of him who called us to his own glory and excellence.”  (2 Peter 1:3)  Paul tells us that “All scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be competent, equipped for every good work.” (2 Tim. 3:16)

To Remember the Power & Victory of the Lord

    We are constantly reminded of God’s power and victory through studying collectively together and singing to one another.  Paul says in 2 Timothy 2:15 – “Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a worker who has need to be ashamed, rightly handling the word of truth.”  Colossians 3:16 – “Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, with thankfulness in your hearts to God.”

To Remember the Fellowship With One Another

    We’re continually reminded and strengthened in our fellowship with one another as we assemble each Lord ’s Day to study and worship together.  After obeying the gospel in Acts 2 it says “They devoted themselves to the apostles teaching and the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and the prayers.” (v.42)  The Hebrew writer encourages us to “consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near.”(10:24-25)

To Remember Our Commitment To the Lord

    We are reminded of and encouraged to honor and keep our commitment to the Lord through the teaching, preaching, and prayer.  “And he gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the shepherds and teachers, to equip the saints for the work of ministry, for building up the body of Christ.” (Eph. 4:11-12)

    Israel used these to remember and motivate them.  Let’s use these same stones to remember and motivate us to be fully devoted to the Lord in our lives.

--E