I) *Spiritual Markers*
A) File: Joshua 4 to 5 Spiritual Markers.doc
B) Audio: Spiritual Markers
C) Series: Victory in the Promised Land
D) Preached: June 24, 2007.
II) *The 12 stones*: READ 4:1-10, 20-24.
A) Actually 24 stones – 2 piles.
1) *One, a visible testimony to God’s work.
(a) Location is noteworthy: Set up at the encampment 8 miles away.
This sign would stare them in the face in the morning when they rose.
Gilgal perhaps a more accessible place to view these.
A open space large enough for the 1MM plus people to camp would be ideal for a pile of stones to be noticeable.
(b) These stones ‘from the midst’ would be obvious.
We know they were large because they were carried on shoulders (v5).
In addition, they made a noticeable memorial – “there to this day.”
They were from the midst and so would be nicely rounded river stones – when told the story, it would be more believable because of the condition of these stones.
2) *The other, an invisible reminder of what was*.
Underwater, seen only by God, taken by faith.
(a) Possibly to represent the old life that was buried and now they were to walk in newness of life.
(b) Old life dead and buried – a break from the past.
Their life was now to be in the land.
(c) Hebrews chapters 1-6 explains that many Old Testament events point to New Testament truths.
B) *Other stone monuments:* Mt.
Ebal and Mt.
Achan and his household (7:25–26); Joshua set up a “witness stone” at Shechem (24:24–28; Jud.
The two and a half tribes that lived east of the Jordan to remind their children that they were a part of the nation of Israel, (Josh.
1) “So these stones shall be to the people of Israel a memorial forever.”
For the children,
2) “so that all the peoples of the earth may know that the hand of the Lord is mighty”
(a) Note in v. 6 “a sign /among /you” not /for /you.
3) “so that you may fear the Lord your God forever”
(a) *The purpose of all the Lord’s memorials is to draw attention to what HE has done and who HE is.*
D) “This memorial at Gilgal gradually lost its spiritual meaning and instead became a shrine where the Jews sinned against God by worshiping there.
The Prophet Hosea condemned the people for worshiping at Gilgal instead of at Jerusalem (Hosea 4:15; 9:15; 12:11), and Amos echoed his warnings (Amos 4:4; 5:5).”
III) *Circumcision*: READ 5:2-9.
A) *Purpose of circumcision is to illustrate some spiritual truths*.
1) A testimony to the covenant God made with Abraham (Gen.
(a) Not unique except in /meaning/.
17:10-11, “*10 *This is my covenant, which you shall keep, between me and you and your offspring after you: Every male among you shall be circumcised.
*11 *You shall be circumcised in the flesh of your foreskins, and it shall be *a sign of the covenant* between me and you.”
(i) Notice: Abraham was commanded to do it but it was never a condition of what God would do.
2) Seen by the man EVERY day, several times a day.
(a) Only meaningful if rightly explained.
3) Obviously a symbol and not a work meant to accomplish salvation.
4:11, “*11 *He received the sign of circumcision as a *seal of the righteousness that he had by faith* while he was still uncircumcised.
The purpose was to make him the father of all who believe without being circumcised, so that righteousness would be counted to them as well,”
“*28 *For no one is a Jew who is merely one outwardly, nor is circumcision outward and physical.
*29 *But a Jew is one inwardly, and circumcision is a matter of the heart, by the Spirit, not by the letter.
His praise is not from man but from God.”
3:30: “He will justify the circumcised by faith and the uncircumcised by faith”
(d) Acts 15, and explained by Paul in Gal. 2.
(e) These all speak of circumcision but the principle applies to all symbols given by God:
(i) The 12 stones are a memorial.
(ii) Circumcision was a sign.
(iii) The Lord’s supper is a memorial.
Powerful, reverent, command, but a memorial.
(iv) Circumcision and these 12 stones and other Old Testament signs were commands of God but were not necessary for salvation – they were reminders of the Lord’s salvation.
4) *Why here and now*?
(a) *To test their faith*.
Just crossed into enemy territory.
It’s awful hard to fight after this surgery!
This will add to God’s glory.
It was the perfect time to attack but God takes a few days for them to heal, they celebrate the Passover before going after Jericho.
(b) *To prepare them for Passover*.
Practical – (Ex.
12: 34-44, 48) It was the tenth of Nisan.
The 14th began the Passover which only the circumcised could participate in.
(c) *To roll away their reproach*.
5:9 Gilgal: roll.
An adult male will never forget the day he is circumcised.
Ideal at 8 days: platelets, pain.
God wants them to remember this day!
B) This day, they /truly /became Israelites.
They trusted God and crossed the Jordan in faith.
This is the day they expressed their faith through obedience and it is this event that the Lord wanted them to remember.
IV) What it means to us today.
A) Christian’s situation similar.
Entering into promised land
B) We too have been given memorials:
2) Lord’s Supper
3) Ordinations, graduations, etc. also are signs for us.
Memorials used to remind us of a spiritual truth.
4) Memorials in the church okay if it reminds us of what God has done and how He worked through His people to accomplish things.
C) We must be careful not to misuse.
1) Gilgal was later the site of idolatrous religious acts.
2) Some Jews later trusted in Circumcision as a rite that pleased God – like it scored points with God.
Addressed by Paul in Acts 15 and elsewhere.