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TWELVE STONES
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Stones will speak

Joshua 4: STONES!

1              Now when all the nation had finished crossing the Jordan, the LORD spoke to Joshua, saying,

2              "Take for yourselves twelve men from the people, one man from each tribe,

3              and command them, saying, 'Take up for yourselves twelve stones from here out of the middle of the Jordan, from the place where the priests' feet are standing firm, and carry them over with you and lay them down in the lodging place where you will lodge tonight.'"

4              So Joshua called the twelve men whom he had appointed from the sons of Israel, one man from each tribe;

5              and Joshua said to them, "Cross again to the ark of the LORD your God into the middle of the Jordan, and each of you take up a stone on his shoulder, according to the number of the tribes of the sons of Israel.

6              "Let this be a sign among you, so that when your children ask later, saying, 'What do these stones mean to you?'

7              then you shall say to them, 'Because the waters of the Jordan were cut off before the ark of the covenant of the LORD; when it crossed the Jordan, the waters of the Jordan were cut off.' So these stones shall become a memorial to the sons of Israel forever."

 

AFTER THE MIRACLE:

 

Story is not over after witnessing a colossal miracle of great magnitude, God was very particular that the people remembered it, so He made preparations for it.

 

a)            SELECT 12 FAITHFUL MEN: 12 men (not Levites) from each tribe must be selected for this important job, they got to be people of good reputation, faithful and godly men, given the nature of job that was given to them.

 

Friend, carrying out the work of God is just not only for priests or Levites, but God needed 12 men to be selected among the people, who had part in building this monument of stones.  We cannot just be mere guests in the church and be spectators watching performances on the pulpit week after week, ( sitting and finding fault too) but all of us have a part to play in building the Kingdom of God.  Arise!  Wipe the church chairs, sweep the church, carry the chairs on your shoulders, arrange tea and snacks for team working out in the field, help in Sunday class, go….volunteer…..and look for work.  One day you need to give an account of what you did for the Church and the pastor.  One day I found a man swiftly walking towards the church office, I asked the reason, he said, ‘I did not get my yearly calendar, I am a tither and I give mine faithfully, I am rushing to the office to point out their carelessness in not giving me one.’  Did you see the attitude? Atrocious! COVID19 was sent exactly for such people…..next (COVID) is on its way…..go ahead and stone me for saying this…..

 

Friend, if you have tasted the goodness of God then you would never leave the Church without having a part in His work.  Immediately after my salvation and the miracle that I experienced in my life, along with my husband, we would stand in a particular place outside the church and offer whatever kind of help might be needed.  We became active participants in the church, we opened our home for prayer cell and we also moved out to do ministry during weekends, because during that time I was working for a multinational bank, which I eventually resigned in the year 2004 to work full time in the Lord’s vineyard.

 

b)            GO THE EXTRA MILE FOR THE WORK OF GOD:

 

They need to “cross again to the ark of the Lord God into the middle of the Jordan”.

 

These 12 men were asked to cross again and go the Ark, in order to bring the stones from the middle of Jordan.  Lazy, careless, self-centered, selfish people would never be able to do this. 

There is  severe dearth of faithful people who would go  to any extent to serve the Lord.  Distribute gospel tracts, help pastor during odd hours, volunteer in church activities even when it is very inconvenient.  Are you listening to me? Christmas drama practice, choir practice, helping out in mission work, everything requires some kind of sacrifice from us which God would definitely remember and bless us.  Whenever I think of the three mighty men of David: Josheb-basshebeth, Eleazar and Shammah,  who went into the enemy’s camp to bring water, I feel an ache in my heart to have such people in our ministry, read:

 

 2 Samuel 23:1615David longed for water and said, “Oh, that someone would get me a drink of water from the well near the gate of Bethlehem!” 16So the three mighty men broke through the Philistine camp, drew water from the well near the gate of Bethlehem, and brought it back to David. But he refused to drink it; instead, he poured it out to the LORD, 17saying, “Far be it from me, O LORD, to do this! Is this not the blood of the men who risked their lives?” So he refused to drink it. Such were the exploits of the three mighty men.…

Fire begets fire! David had made an awesome impact on his men and thus they were ready to go any extent to please Him….

 

c)            MEN WHO WOULD WORK FOR THE MINISTRY NO MATTER HOW TOUGH IT BE:

 

They need to each carry the stone on their respective shoulders according to the number of the tribes of the sons of Israel.  We need workers who would carry the burden of God’s work on their shoulders and not complain of pain.  Anybody there?

 

Friend, God was asking the people to do such work, after they had witnessed the water roll back and stand so that they could pass. So gratitude should make us stretch and work for Him, without workers, the Gospel cannot reach the nook and corners of this world.  When musicians are asked to play for a prayer meeting, they look for good revenue, very few look at it as God’s work.

 

d)            MEN PRIVILEGED TO COME NEAR THE ARK:

 

These 12 men were permitted to come near Ark (which others might not) for this divine service: that’s why I said, you cannot appoint any Tom Dick and Harry for this kind of work.  They had to "Pass over before the ark (v. 5), that is, into the presence of the ark, which now stands in the midst of Jordan, and fetch these stones.

 

The monument of stone was very important, because it was going to stand as a reminder of the awesome works of God.

 

MEMORIAL:

 

Verse 8 Thus the sons of Israel did as Joshua commanded, and took up twelve stones from the middle of the Jordan, just as the LORD spoke to Joshua, according to the number of the tribes of the sons of Israel; and they carried them over with them to the lodging place and put them down there.

 

Thus the 12 stones were carried and kept in their new lodging place after they crossed Jordan.  If you have experience of shifting from one location to another, you would understand what they were going through.  We shifted our ministry and family from one state to another and then shifted several houses in the course of our ministry.  Just not our home, but the School and Hostel that we run also had to be relocated very frequently, so the relief you get after the shifting process is over is enormous.  Well these people had a bigger experience of crossing turbulent waters of Jordan, so I guess they with reverence ‘stored and preserved’ the 12 stones which would be a great reminder for generations to come. 

 

ANOTHER 12 STONES TOO:

 

VERSE 9 Then Joshua set up twelve stones in the middle of the Jordan at the place where the feet of the priests who carried the ark of the covenant were standing, and they are there to this day.

Again Joshua set up 12 MORE stones in the middle of the Jordan to remind people and all passerby of the wonderful works of God.  Wow, look at the extent God is preparing and planning so that people just don’t forget Him and His works and get distracted by the scintillating, glittering events of the world.

 

REMEMBER:

 

We remember ATM passwords, profile passwords, transaction words, login passwords and what not; we remember the birth dates of the film celebrities, the wedding anniversaries and many other details very sharply; yet, we fail to honor and remember the Word of God.  Alas, that’s why many Christian homes are like graveyards!  In a Christian facebook group, two children were performing a live music program where they sang cinema songs nonstop for one full hour without printed sheets, they had memorized the lyrics of the songs, the children were encouraged by the parents to do  this show where they had a HUGE crowd following them.  I wonder if the kids were taught about God!

 

There are bundles and bundles of albums staked up in many homes. When I went to pray for the third birthday of a child, the father was meticulously covering the cake in his camera. I wondered why! Later the husband and wife told me that they have photographs of all the birthday parties of the children and they fondly store them for future remembrance. Not bad at all! However, the same family are very nonchalant in their walk with God. Another Christian mother (who reads the Bible from morning to evening) had meticulously saved the ‘nails and hair’ of her two sons  while they were infants and she has been carefully preserving them.  Those were her monuments the sons betrayed her and went behind girl friends, during the time of crisis, she ran behind false prophets looking for fast remedy rather than to the feet of the Lord.  I have seen such crazy things in my life, another Christian lady had framed all her degree certificates, certificate given after retirement and hanged them all over her house as monuments.  I first thought they were award certificates but later when I went close, I found they were educational certificates.  How insane people can be!

 

When we have pushed God backwards and the pleasures of this world in front, then nothing but only emptiness would remain in our life.  How do you remember God? By locking up His Word in your heart!

Politicians erect statues to remember them. We have people penning their autobiography so to record their life, in today’s era, we have anybody and everybody writing their ‘memoirs’, revealing sensational stuff and thus creating a rucks, everything is done for publicity.  People celebrate the birthdays of movie stars and politicians who have perished years back but today we read in the scripture that God has to constantly remind His people that He was God. He had to many times tell the law, warm them and say that He was Holy. God knows that man is forgetful that’s why he has to remind us. He knows that they will quickly forget Him. Exodus 32:8 says, “They have been quick to turn away from what I commanded them…..”

 

It pains to read Deuteronomy 32:18, it says, “You deserted the Rock, who fathered you; you forgot the God who gave you birth.” Yes, many have forgotten God when they have a new toy to play with in their life. Man started forgetting from the beginning of creation. Adam forgets God when Eve comes into his life. Noah gets drunk after the flood, the list goes on…

 

A young man tells a servant of God that he does not remember God doing anything good in his life. Then one day while at home, he suddenly looks at the old album of his childhood pictures and his mother starts to suddenly tell him. At the age of 5 you would have died of accident if not for that man who saved you, at age of 6 you would have died of typhoid but you were saved, at the age of 8 you would have been drowned if not for the sudden intervention of a kindly person. As she went on to narrate the past, suddenly the boy starts to cry and kneels down and asks God for forgiveness for his ignorance.

 

Today God wants you to remember Him!

 

I like to quote Deuteronomy 6: and wind up this sermon:

 

7              "You shall teach them diligently to your sons and shall talk of them when you sit in your house and when you walk by the way and when you lie down and when you rise up.

8              "You shall bind them as a sign on your hand and they shall be as frontals on your forehead.

9              "You shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates.

10           "Then it shall come about when the LORD your God brings you into the land which He swore to your fathers, Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, to give you, great and splendid cities which you did not build,

11           and houses full of all good things which you did not fill, and hewn cisterns which you did not dig, vineyards and olive trees which you did not plant, and you eat and are satisfied,

12           then watch yourself, that you do not forget the LORD who brought you from the land of Egypt, out of the house of slavery.

13           "You shall fear only the LORD your God; and you shall worship Him and swear by His name.

 

Every day in our ABIDE SCHOOL, (our website: https://worshipjesusministriestrust.org/abidepublicschool_view.php)

 

free school run for the poor in Hyderabad, we make the children recite Bible scriptures, Bible books, sing praises and also a small message is given so that students don’t forget God and His love.  God bless you!

 

https://www.facebook.com/bala.samson

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