Joshua Chapter 4

The Importance of Memorials


In April of 1863, in Columbus, Mississippi an elderly woman was bringing flowers to a cemetery After decorating the graves of her two sons who served during the Civil War as Confederate soldiers, she also decorated two mounds at the corner of the cemetery. An observer asked, "What are you doing? Those are the graves of two Union soldiers." The reply, "I know. I also know that somewhere in the North, a mother or a young wife mourns for them as we do for ours." That little band of ladies set in motion what became Memorial Day. Memorial Day is set aside each year to remember those who gave their lives in the armed forces. We commemorate their actions by honoring them in ceremonies across the land.


Many of the Memorials that we have – like the Vietnam Memorial / like Memorial day – are meant to help us remember the Tragedy of War

A)But in our text today we see a time in the History of Israel where God instructed his people to set up a Memorial to remember the Power of God     READ V.1-18


B) Picture this scene We saw in Chapter 3 how the Children of Israel crossed the Jordan river – Emotions high { Total Rush

1) Temptation to just keep right on going – Lets Conquer the land – But God has them stop – and Build 2 Memorials


C) Today as we consider this special MEMORIAL – consider 3 things



2ND THE 2 TYPES OF MEMORIALS that they were to build




A)   Reason #1 : Stimulate Remembrance : See God knows how easy it is for us to forget – { Football story -   


B) We forget where we are going

B)   We forget what we are doing: Office to front office – stopped – why did I come here ? Not Getting old


Two elderly women in a church were discussing the problems of growing older.  One commented, "The worst thing is when your memory starts to go. I've known you all my life, and I can't think of your name. What is it?"

   The second lady thought for a moment and said, "Do you need an answer right now?" 


C) True we can forget where going / We forget who we are – Child of God !!!     We forget what we TAKE IN


Here’s a startling fact we forget 92% of the information we take in during our life time .

A)  And during our lifetime the average brain takes in 10 times the information found in the U.S. Library of congress


B)  There are 17 million volumes in the U.S. Library of Congress & our brains take in 10 times that ! / That’s a lot of info / but we forget 92%

1)  Sad but true we are forgetful


C)  Forget where going / Forget who we are / We forget what we take in – And worst of all we can forget what God has Done

1) And since the Lord knows that to be the case – He has his people stop and build a memorial


D)The Lord instructs Joshua to select 12 men one from each tribe to go down into the river & each one was to pull out a stone


These Stones were to make a monument of REMEMBRANCE /

A)Every time that they came to Gilgal they were to see this stack of stones & it was to be a memorial of God’s Power & Provision


B) Celebration of God’s Faithfulness -

So Reason #1 was to stimulate their Remembrance – Reason #2 To Strengthen their Faith

19 Now the people came up from the Jordan on the tenth day of the first month, and they camped in Gilgal on the east border of Jericho. 20 And those twelve stones which they took out of the Jordan, Joshua set up in Gilgal.


A)Gilgal would be the place they would keep coming back to – It would be their camp


B)God COMMANDED them to STOP AT & camp at GILGAL and build a place of remembrance because with the blessings of Canaan would come the BATTLES.


C) They are on the other side of Jordan./ In front of them lies Jericho.

    War is about to begin.

  1) Blessings and battles go hand in hand  for God's people.


D) The abundant life of the believer WILL NOT go unchallenged.

          The greater the blessing, the greater the battle.


HUDSON TAYLOR: "When God opens up the windows of                      heaven to bless you, Satan opens up the gates of hell and                        you're stuck in between."


E) And There are times that we FORGET the greatness of God and can                  only see the fierceness of our adversary.

1)   It is in those times we need to look back & be reminded of those past Victories


F) We are not supposed to live on past Victories – But those past Victories are meant to stimulate New Faith


Jonah 2:7   When my soul fainted within me I remembered the LORD.


Purpose of Memorial So Reason #1 Stimulate Remembrance/ #2 To Strengthen their Faith #3 – School their Children

6 that this may be a sign among you when your children ask in time to come, saying, 'What do these stones mean to you?' 7 Then you shall answer them that the waters of the Jordan were cut off before the ark of the covenant of the LORD; when it crossed over the Jordan, the waters of the Jordan were cut off. And these stones shall be for a memorial to the children of Israel forever."


A) those stones were to be there so that when their kids would come & say hey why these stones ?

1)  They could use that as an opportunity to tell their kids of the mighty things that God had done for them!  .


D) It was to be a place of remembrance & a place of teaching . But note who is doing the teaching .   Read v.19-24



E) Note V.21 tells us it was the Fathers - DADS RESPONSIBILITY

1) Always the picture the Bible gives – Father is Saved – He needs to be the Spiritual leader


Recall the Story in Luke 18 when it says the People were bringing their kids to Jesus to be blessed & the disciples said Leave the master alone

A)Jesus rebuked them saying suffer the little Children to come unto me for such is the kingdom of Heaven.


B) Most people picture mothers bringing their little ones to Jesus .

1)  But In the grk the phrasing there is indicative that it was actually the Fathers who were bringing the kids !  Dads


C) I think we need more men in the Church today who will take more seriously the responsibility to teach our Kids about the Lord .

1) Thankful for the men who teach in Children’s ministry

See Too many kids today look at Christianity as being for women & weak people because they don’t see dads being expressive about their faith

A) They don’t see dad worshipping the Lord or being excited about the Lord


B) That is one reason why we need to see in the Church today men who are going to stand up & be visible & vocal about their faith .

1)  Men who really Know the Lord – Passion for the Lord


C) So they were to set up a Memorial – in order to Stimulate Remembrance / Strengthen faith /

1)   And to give the Fathers  an opportunity to School their Kids – teach them about the Faithfulness & Power of God


Reason #4 It was to be a Sign to the nations – Note v.24 again

24 that all the peoples of the earth may know the hand of the LORD, that it is mighty, that you may fear the LORD your God forever."


A) God had them place these stones there by the Banks at Gilgal so that That  the nations would come & see the stones they would be reminded of the power of the God  of Israel


B) 12 Stones because there were 12 Tribes

1)   Those 12 stones would be a sign of the Children of Israel  being fit together as one monument / 12 tribes being fit together as one nation.


C) A people Being Joined together in Strength – under the Leadership of their God


D) This reminded me of something Peter said about Believers / about the Church – 1 Peter 2:5  Living Stones – Built together into a spiritual house

1) Peter says that we as individuals are living stones that are being fit together as one building . - As one man the church


Catch the Significance of this picture . Just as the 12 stones which represented the nation of Israel Joined together as one were a sign to the nations

A)So too we as the Church being Joined together as Living stones are a symbol to the world of Gods Grace & forgiveness.


B) His ability to take people from different back grounds …….

Make us One Family


C) So that was the Purpose of the Memorial / Remembrance / Faith

School kids – Sign to the nations

1) Memorials are Good things to have



A)Consider some of Diff. Ways to do this . one is Journaling ./ Explain


B) It is in my Journal that I find myself writing down the awesome things that God is doing / done

1) Miracles that have happened – scriptures that He showed me


C)I go back & reflect on those things I am reminded of His goodness !

1)  Reminded of the Lord’s FAITHFULNESS IN MY LIFE 


D) Reminded in those special times when God met me & met my need or ministered to my heart in those situations – see me thru


I remember a time a few yrs back really struggling w/ some things that were happening here in the Church

A)I Didn’t understand what the Lord was doing { Down at the beach


B) As I sat there having this Conversation w/ the Lord I a looking at the

      ocean - the tide coming in & going out -

1)  thought I don’t understand how & why the water doesn’t just keep coming. THE LORD SAYS IT IS ME!!!!


C) Then I thought about how an airplane gets off the ground & actually flies

1)   I don’t fully understand how that happens  - yet I go & get on an airplane w/ out even thinking about it & fly to the other side of the world.


I thought about as I sat  there on that beach & looked at all that sand - and remembered that in God’s word He says His thoughts for me out number the sand

A) I surely don’t understand that but I want to rest in that – God said to me Rob Rest – trust – I have it under control


B) Sometimes that is what God says to us - Don’t try to figure it out in your finite brain - Just believe it - trust me


C) Paul said that when we do that he gives us a peace that surpasses understanding .

1)  So often we seek a peace that is w/ understanding - yet God brings a Peace that surpasses understanding


Well I went home and wrote that down in my journal – Memorial

And after some time – saw what God did – I wrote that down too

A)When I was traveling I started carrying my journal – reading on plane


B) A couple of yrs later – going thru another trial – where I was wondering what on earth are you doing Lord

1) On a trip reading my journal I came to that entry – from a few yrs back – Reminded & Refreshed & renewed again


C) So Journaling is a good way to set up a Memorial

1)Abe Planted a tree / built an altar / Musician – write a song


D)Pick something to remind you of God’s Faithfulness in your life in those situations – Celebrate / Stimulate your faith / Teach your kids

1) Testimony to your Neighbors


Two more quick things I want us to see before we go

A)We see in vs. 8 & 9 there were two memorials v. 8 One on the Banks at Gilgal – v.9 Joshua set one up in the River


B) Catch the significance of this .One was public / the other was private / One was for all the people to see & to use as a tool to teach their kids

1)  The other was between Joshua & the Lord because when the waters returned those stones were covered up crossing & not seen !


B) It was between Joshua & the Lord .

1)  I believe there are to be memorials in our lives that are public / we can say to the world - this is what God did !


C) Also those that are Private / just between you and the Lord where he did some awesome work in your life or dwelt w/ you in some area !

1)  Between you & Him!  Where God has said this is what I am going to do in your life .


D) I have had times in my life when the Lord has showed me something or done something – given promise / a confirmation

1)   Hold on to that – not something anyone else needed to know


E) SO two memorials one Public / one Private – Which leads us to consider our 4th main point – Our Public Memorial –

1)The Cross & the empty Tomb -  



The Lord instructed the people to camp at Gilgal – place they were to always come back to: We also have a place we need to camp at -Calvary

A)Gigal was their place of remembrance / ours is Calvary it is the Cross


B)When the world sees us united together in unity / where are we united ? At Calvary / Calvary the cross is our Gilgal our place of remembrance .

1)  Come together as sinners saved by grace !


C) At Calvary we are reminded of our Lords Provision died to pay the price for our sins to set us free from guilt / cleanse us . Give us life !


D) We are reminded at Calvary that we are right w/ God – accepted in the Beloved – because of the finished work of Christ !


F)  At the Empty tomb – we are reminded of why – Jesus in the way –



IN the Church we have a Public Memorial – Communion –

A)Celebrate God’s Love & Salvation