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Remember the Rocks

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Memorial day weekend, a time to reflect on the people that gave so much for our country....they are brave people..... and from the reading this morning you see a memorial time in scripture that gave the Israelites the opportunity to look back on. Looking back to the rocks.
thank you Mark for reading such a portion of text this morning. catching the full context, it was fitting to read the events leading up, if we had just read the about the memorial stones without seeing the miracle, I believe it would have been a disservice.
Remembering and memory is a funny thing.... You know, sometimes we can look back on our lives and see things, that honestly, we might not want to remember, but those memories keep coming up for us when we reflect our life. those are tough, hard memories. We all know some level of pain and hurt that have had somewhat of an affect on us, maybe things we wish we could of changed, things we wish we could forget, but let me say this..... for me, coming from a past that wasn’t pretty.... God knows my past,
for those that are there.....a word from Him is that He knows what you went through. And our God is big enough, and knows enough to use it for His good.
Church, we can find so much healing in the fact that God can make something good out of our hurts, our pains, our struggles. this message is for someone listening today. He is using that event that you remember, He is using it for His purpose in your life, even if you can’t see how. you know, it may have changed and affected you and caused you along your path to actually find God, and He can make a ministry of your pain or struggle. God is so incredible like that! Just wait and see. if He has done that for you, that is a powerful testimony, that you need to share and see God work through it.
And sometimes we have events in our lives that we look back on and it brings us back to such great times in our lives. it makes us smile just to think of it. we remember where we were, who was there, even the smells, or the weather. our emotional state changes when we think of it. what a memory! How powerful is that?
It makes sense that God wanted the Israelites to do something like setting stones to remember since memory is so powerful. especially when we look at our blessings.
if you know the lyrics to count your blessings
When upon life’s billows you are tempest-tossed, When you are discouraged, thinking all is lost, Count your many blessings, name them one by one, And it will surprise you what the Lord has done.Refrain: Count your blessings, name them one by one, Count your blessings, see what God has done! Count your blessings, name them one by one, *Count your many blessings, see what God has done. [*And it will surprise you what the Lord has done.]
Are you ever burdened with a load of care? Does the cross seem heavy you are called to bear? Count your many blessings, every doubt will fly, And you will keep singing as the days go by.
memory..... remember your blessings. remember what God has done.
what does this pile of rocks mean? asks a little Israelite child. and the parent gets to answer. they get to pass along a memory of Gods blessing!
Remembering what they went through! they went through the impossible.
Look at the miracles that God did! We know the same God! That’s our God church!
for our verses today, we even need to walk back just a little more, and remembering back to Moses leading the Israelites out of Egypt, this was the beginning of the journey out of bondage for the Israelites, and....after that Joshua had taken command but He brings back the words of Moses to the people, to get them to remember in verse 13 of chapt 1 of Joshua.

13 “Remember the word that Moses the servant of the LORD commanded you, saying, ‘The LORD your God is providing you a place of rest and will give you this land.’

Joshua is gearing up to take all the Israelites across the Jordan and to go into the land that was promised to them by God. It was their land but they were not in it yet.
It might have been easy for them to doubt that the land was really theirs, so Joshua does what any good leader would do, he brings them back to what God told Moses. It was the original plan to leave Egypt and live in the promise land.
Sometimes in our journey, we just need to remember the plan.
Ever had a promise given to you from God?
of course, God speaks all kinds of promises in scripture for you and I. God has done His part to fulfill the promise, and sometimes we have a part to do in it as well, some times it is crossing the Jordan to reach the promise land. the question is, what’s your Jordan? what looks like its in the way for you?
you might think, this is hard to do? impossible?
without God, it is impossible.
listen to this though,
But when we step in the direction that God is leading us to go, in the direction where God has our promise, He meets us there, church, And He takes us through, all the way through.
let me say that again. someone here needs to hear this.
Was it easy for the Israelites to get to the promise land? not at all. they took a lot of detours.... and round-a-bouts.
but they also used some Godly ways to get there. listen to this.... these are the leaders talking…in verse 3 of chapt 3.
Joshua 3:3 ESV
and commanded the people, “As soon as you see the ark of the covenant of the Lord your God being carried by the Levitical priests, then you shall set out from your place and follow it.
Joshua 3:4 ESV
Yet there shall be a distance between you and it, about 2,000 cubits in length. Do not come near it, in order that you may know the way you shall go, for you have not passed this way before.”
Joshua 3:5 ESV
Then Joshua said to the people, “Consecrate yourselves, for tomorrow the Lord will do wonders among you.”
Joshua 3:6 ESV
And Joshua said to the priests, “Take up the ark of the covenant and pass on before the people.” So they took up the ark of the covenant and went before the people.
this text we see the plan to go....the plan to move ahead, and there is order. the ark is going first, and about a half mile ahead of them, if I did my math right....cubit = 18”
there is a plan, order and authority to these events. Joshua sent out the command and the people listened. God’s Kingdom is a Kingdom of plans and order and authority. when they are done in God’s will, it turns out the way God willed it..... authority is good when it is in God’s will, amen.
and this was the will of God we are seeing being worked out.
also, did you notice what was said at the end of verse 4, it says
Joshua 3:4 ESV
Yet there shall be a distance between you and it, about 2,000 cubits in length. Do not come near it, in order that you may know the way you shall go, for you have not passed this way before.”
this was a new path for the Israelites..... not the same old way, the same old pattern. when we get on a new path, it is different. it is change. it is not easy.
for me, I am so in a routine like my on father that when 5:00 comes around, I am ready to eat...... even if I’m not hungry!
they needed good, clear direction, to go in a new way.
follow the ark. don’t pass the ark but follow the ark. in other words, follow God! do not turn to the right or left, follow God.
just a side note, thinking about Peter and if he was there, I know, I am going down a rabbit hole here but think about it,
Peter would have passed the ark in his zeal to get there. He was so assertive. Some of us are like Peter in ways, we might struggle with patience and timing.....
ok, all of us probably struggle with this,
so the order was given to follow the ark, and at a distance so there was no chance of passing it and getting off the right path.
God is good, He gives us a way to go. Our scriptures are filled with direction. the direction for our promised land.
For us, is not necessarily a physical location but a spiritual one. a place filled with blessing. a place filled with His presence. yes, this is heaven I am speaking of, but on this earth, we can live in His presence as well.
later in chapter 3 we see them leading up to the river and the ark before them. there is an incredible miracle we see. the Jordan is stopped. A river that overflows its banks at this time is stopped.
then in chapter 4 we see, Remember the rocks.....
Joshua 4:1 ESV
When all the nation had finished passing over the Jordan, the Lord said to Joshua,
Joshua 4:2 ESV
“Take twelve men from the people, from each tribe a man,
Joshua 4:3 ESV
and command them, saying, ‘Take twelve stones from here out of the midst of the Jordan, from the very place where the priests’ feet stood firmly, and bring them over with you and lay them down in the place where you lodge tonight.’ ”
these stones have such a powerful association. God connected them to a miracle, and also a memory.
how easy is it for us to forget? easy, right? so much is vying for our thoughts, our time, our attention. it is easy to forget.
But when you place a marker. a marker that others will see and ask about....it helps us to remember. to recall what happened. and when we recall what happened, it brings us back to that place, that time, that blessing.
it can help the one asking about it but it also helps the one sharing the story. it confirms and reconfirms the power of the Living God every time the story is shared. it is faith building. it is speaking life. it is exalting God.
the Israelites made it through the Jordan, and they followed the plan of God to set the memorial stones. that played a part in many other Israelites lives.
So, what’s your memorial stones represent? What Jordan river have you crossed? or are you crossing it now?
what promises are you seeing in your future?
God is working here at CBC to cast vision and He is gearing us up to move. We have some Jordan’s in our future to go through, with God all things are possible. He is with us. we need wisdom and His presence to lead and guide us.
May each and every one of us be in a season of seeking Him deeper, and remembering what He has done already!
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