Lest We Forget

The Importance of Making Good Memories out of the events of our lives

Joshua 4:1-7, 19-24



I.         Introduction


A.      It is easier to remember a bad time than a good time. Most people have too many bad memories! Too many heartaches, and they kind of live in a sorrowful state, and think it is kind of “spiritual” and good to be like that!

B.       But the Lord commands us to keep good memories – memorials!

C.       Wise saying by Benjamin Franklin, “Engrave the Lord’s benefits in marble, and write you injuries in the dust.”

D.      There are a number of memorials in the Bible (times and places set apart so that the people remembered some important things):


1.        The Passover (Ex 12:14)  A yearly event that stopped everyone long enough to review God’s miraculous deliverance of the entire nation of Israel from their slavery in Egypt through just the blood of a lamb!

2.        The Ark of the Covenant - The placing of the manna & the rod that budded, along with the ten commandments in the Ark if the Covenant.


a.        Reminded Israel of God’s miraculous provision, daily bread for 40 years

b.       Reminded Israel of God’s expectations for their lives, and His ways being the only right ways

c.        Reminded Israel that they needed a priesthood to mediate between them and an all holy God – there was no way anyone could just come straight to God – same today – we need Jesus!


3.        The Lord's Supper (1Cor. 11:24)

4.        The Feast of Purim in Esther when God miraculously protected all the Jews from their certain destruction at the hand of Haman!

5.        The Bible Itself (Ex. 17:14; 24:4) is a memory book, reminding us of God’s faithfulness to us!

6.        MEMORIAL defined as, "Something that keeps remembrance alive."

7.        The Bible in Philp 3:13,14 says that there are some things we need to forget but there are also some things we need to remember.

8.        God makes the memories – we are commanded to keep them; preserve them; remember them always!


E.       The tendency is for us to forget that every good thing that happens in our lives is a miracle, and comes from God. “When God is going to do something miraculous, He [always] starts with the impossible.” (Dr. Tom Malone)

F.       Shouldn’t we all be more aware of such events in our lives?


II.       Background (Joshua 4:1-5)


A.      When the Israelites crossed the Jordan River to enter the Promised Land in Joshua 4, Joshua called each of the tribes to gather a large stone from the river and, using these 12 stones, they built a memorial to the faithfulness of God. He understood the transforming power of spiritual memorials to the next generation. He understood that what some people might see as just a pile of rocks, could be shown to be a powerful testimony to God.

B.       God had done some amazing things that Joshua knew should not ever be forgotten


1.        Delivered Israel as I said, from slavery, and bondage in Egypt by the blood of a Passover lamb (Ex. 12:21-28)

2.        Supplied their every need in a dessert for 40 years!!! Manna every morning, quail in the evenings, even water from a Rock!

3.        Defeated every enemy that attempted to attack the defeat them while in the wilderness

4.        Gave them His Laws, writing them with His own finger

5.        His constant presence with them in the form of a cloud by day, and a fire by night (night light)!

6.        And here it was, they had just crossed the Jordan River, into the very land promised to their great, great, great, great, granddaddy Abraham. God had kept all His promises

7.        Joshua needed to take some time, and make a memory out of this event – something that would be passed on and help the next generation know that God is good, and faithful, and right!


C.       So, out of that river were brought twelve stones – one for each tribe – and placed beside the river, piled one on top of the other – a simple monument

D.      Reason for memorials - to be a sign (4:6,7)


1.        To yourself - we need reminders. Post-It Notes! Strings on fingers, a RING to remind us we are married, an alarm clock, etc!

2.        To your children (4:6,7)

3.        To the world (4:24)       Shows importance of testimony

4.        To demonstrate two things:


a.        Just WHO God is - my Saviour and my Lord!

b.       What God did for you (Ex of my memorial on June 15, 1980) Points to a place where a change happened.


E.       Note where the memorial came from (4:8). The river bed. Go back into the trouble (that cross you bore yesterday) and get a memorial out of it!

F.       Joshua himself sets-up a second memorial (4:9)


1.        The first memorial was a visible memorial that is to be set up by you and me! Reminding us and the world of God’s hand in our life

2.        The second memorial was an invisible memorial - But it IS there! It is a memorial to God, reminding HIM of this event.

3.        This pictures the DEATH of Jesus Christ because only Joshua set up these stones.

4.        Israel placed two memorials that day at Jordan.  One was an outward testimony that could be seen by both the inhabitants of the land and the generations that would follow that of Joshua.  The other was an inward testimony and the waters of Jordan covered it, hiding it from the sight of the world. 

5.       We, as Christians, need to have both outward and inward memorials of who and what we are!


III.     Message – Don’t Ever Forget…


A.      The Works Of God (Josh 22-23; Deut 3:24) Things only HE could have done


1.        They are Saving Works (1Tim 1:15). Not OUR works, efforts, but HIS perfect works.


a.        Delivering us from bondage of sin, and from the condemnation of the devil: Passover lamb, the Lord’s Supper

b.       Keeping us saved! The Red Sea proved God could KEEP them saved! No one is saved by their efforts, and no one is kept saved by their efforts (Eph 2:8,9) Israel never stopped being God’s people – the promises made to them are certain and steadfast – thank God!

c.        Don’t ever forget the pit from when you were saved from (Ps 40:1,2; Isa 64:6)

d.       At such a high price (1Pet 1:18,19)

e.        We Need To Remember What Christ Did For Us! – Isaiah 53:3, 5-6 


1)       He Became Our Sacrifice


a)       1 John 2:2  And he is the propitiation for our sins: and not for ours only, but also for the sins of the whole world.

b)       1 John 4:10  Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that he loved us, and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins.


2)       He Became Our Sin - 2 Corinthians 5:21  For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him.

3)       He Became Our Saviour - 1 John 4:14  And we have seen and do testify that the Father sent the Son to be the Saviour of the world.


f.         Song. "Jesus paid it all, all to him I owe, sin had left a crimson stain, he washed it white as snow."


2.        They are Progressive Works – now they were stepping into their Promised Land, and God was still working


a.        Oh that we believed that God still is at work in our lives!

b.       God hasn’t died – we just have pushed Him to the side

c.        Israel’s greatest days were yet ahead, if only they would stay humble and dependant upon the Lord! The same is true with any one of us


3.        They are Perfecting Works (Ps 119:75; Heb 12:10,11; Job 23:10)


a.        “When a train goes through a tunnel and it gets dark, you don’t throw away the ticket and jump off. You sit still and trust the engineer.” (Corrie ten Boom)

b.       Let God have His way with you! Let Him finish the work that He began, no matter how painful! Trust the engineer!


B.       The Power Of God  (Josh 4:24; Jer 32:17)


1.        Thank God for how God has worked in our past!


a.        Remember answered prayers

b.       Keep a list of Answers to Prayer

c.        Put God to the test – quit complaining, and keep praying!

d.       “When we work, we work; but when we pray, God works.”


2.        Thank God for how He worked through people in our lives


a.        Remember the People who paved the way before us.


1)       Our Bible and spiritual heritage was also paid for by the blood of untold millions of martyrs over the centuries.  Men and women are still dying for the “faith once delivered!”  It is so easy to take for granted the blessings of salvation that have been paid for at great loss of life and property.

2)       Heb. 11 is a memorial to such saints.

3)       Heb. 6:10,11 says, For God [is] not unrighteous to forget your work and labour of love, which ye have shewed toward his name, in that ye have ministered to the saints, and do minister.  And we desire that every one of you do shew the same diligence...


b.       Remember the Steps of Faith that Brought us Here


1)       Our church was started 13 years ago, by faith (Picture)

2)       Someone invited us, witnessed to us, dragged us along

3)       Somebody prayed constantly for you

4)       Thank God for every step – it was God’s patient power than worked everything out together for our benefit – AMEN!


3.        Thank God for His protection – especially when we didn’t deserve it


a.        Health

b.       Safety – how many times have we passed on, when we should have been killed, or seriously maimed in an accident!?

c.        Bad friends – God intervened, and tore them away when we could have been snookered and ruined by them


4.        The power of God is awesome, and very wise! Not just in hurricanes, and earthquakes, but in transforming our lives, bit by bit as we yield, and even when we don’t yield!


C.       The Fear Of God  (Josh 4:24)


1.        1 Corinthians 6:19,20

2.        1Cor 3:11-17

3.        Romans 12:1,2

4.        To live our life any other way than God’s way is certain failure. We need to fear just how good Satan is at deceiving even Christians into throwing away the life that Christ bought for HIMSELF!

5.        Fear God’s judgment against your sin (Pr 14:9; Rom 6:23; Gal 6:7)

6.        The children of Israel needed to always remember the generation of people that did NOT get into the promised land!


IV.     Application - We Need To Remember Our Responsibility To Our Children! - Judges 2:10  - How do we make great memories for our Children?


A.      Teach Them God’s Word - Deuteronomy 6:5-9 

B.      Teach them to Pray

C.      Lead them by Example – by strong, risky, obedient faith

D.      Remind them of God’s goodness, and faithfulness

E.       Keep our attitudes right – no complaining

F.       Have times of remembrance so that you can talk about all these things


V.      Invitation


Craig Ledbetter

Bible Baptist Church, Ballincollig, Cork