Remembering

For everything that was written in the past was written to teach us, so that through the endurance taught in the Scriptures and the encouragement they provide we might have hope. Romans

Comments, thoughts and reflections welcome.

Joshua 4:15-24

 

 And the LORD said to Joshua,

 “Command the priests bearing the ark of the testimony to come up out of the Jordan.”

 So Joshua commanded the priests, “Come up out of the Jordan.”

 And when the priests bearing the ark of the covenant of the LORD came up from the midst of the Jordan, and the soles of the priests’ feet were lifted up on dry ground, the waters of the Jordan returned to their place and overflowed all its banks, as before.

 The people came up out of the Jordan on the tenth day of the first month, and they encamped at Gilgal on the east border of Jericho.

 And those twelve stones, which they took out of the Jordan, Joshua set up at Gilgal.

 And he said to the people of Israel, “When your children ask their fathers in times to come, ‘What do these stones mean?’

 then you shall let your children know, ‘Israel passed over this Jordan on dry ground.’

 For the LORD your God dried up the waters of the Jordan for you until you passed over, as the LORD your God did to the Red Sea, which he dried up for us until we passed over,

 so that all the peoples of the earth may know that the hand of the LORD is mighty, that you may fear the LORD your God forever.”

 

Remembering was counted important enough to remove stones from the riverbed, no easy task. Remembering is for future generations to know who God is and what He can do. Remembering is promised by Jesus when he says the Holy Spirit will remind us of what has been said. Jesus said to remember his spilled blood and sacrificed flesh with the act of communion, remembering always what God has done for us. When we face trials, hard times we can find hope and strength in remembering what God has already done for us. It is good to remember that He goes before us. He keeps us and provides what we need. Remembering helps keep the joy and peace He gives. It is good to replace the feelings of stress and hurts with His joy and peace.

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History repeats and we don’t listen…remember…

Acts 7:39-47

…whom our fathers would not obey, but rejected. And in their hearts they turned back to Egypt, saying to Aaron, ‘Make us gods to go before us; as for this Moses who brought us out of the land of Egypt, we do not know what has become of him.’ And they made a calf in those days, offered sacrifices to the idol, and rejoiced in the works of their own hands. Then God turned and gave them up to worship the host of heaven, as it is written in the book of the Prophets:

‘Did you offer Me slaughtered animals and sacrifices during forty years in the wilderness,

O house of Israel?

You also took up the tabernacle of Moloch,

And the star of your god Remphan,

Images which you made to worship;

And I will carry you away beyond Babylon.’

 

“Our fathers had the tabernacle of witness in the wilderness, as He appointed, instructing Moses to make it according to the pattern that he had seen,  which our fathers, having received it in turn, also brought with Joshua into the land possessed by the Gentiles, whom God drove out before the face of our fathers until the days of David, who found favor before God and asked to find a dwelling for the God of Jacob. But Solomon built Him a house.

 Rejecting God for lack of memory?  Hardness of hearts?  Selfish focus?  Honoring the creation rather than the creator?”…rejoiced in the works of their own hands. …”  Do we see this yet today?  They had witnesses, they had signs and wonders, they had God’s presence and still turned away to follow the creations of their hands.  And our world is full of those who give honor and glory to the creation of our hands, rather than to the God who gave to us the ability to create, the mind to think and reason.

 God reaches out, demonstrates His power and still mankind forgets and looks inward to himself.  Impatient, they honor what their own hands have created.  This is still true today.  We look at what we have accomplished, give no credit to God and praise our own achievements, not giving glory to God.  Each time mankind goes this direction, God sends punishment.  Our take-away then is to take joy in the Lord always.  What we do, we do only as He gives grace.  He is our supply and source.  Any skills we possess are his creation.  When He is honored, His blessings follow just as surely as when he is not, punishment follows.

 Men and women continue to reject God forgetting who He is and what He does.  In the remembering, we keep Him always before us and so are blessed.  There is a place that is comforting even in the middle of crisis of the soul, that place that acknowledges our God, creator of the Universe and us.  It is a place where His peace reigns and carries us above the turmoil of the crisis.  Let’s continue to seek that place, remembering His good works and rise above the temporary events of this life.

Remembering…

This is a long passage of scripture, one of remembering, one of glorifying God for what He has done, one to consider the works of God and His preparations for His people.

Acts 7:1-22

Then the high priest asked him, “Are these charges true?”  verse 1.

And this gives Stephen the opportunity to be a witness for what he has received from God. He begins his sharing…

“To this he replied, “Brothers and fathers, listen to me!  The God of glory appeared to our father Abraham while he was still in Mesopotamia, before he lived in Haran.  ‘Leave your country and your people,’ God said, ‘and go to the land I will show you.’ verses 2 and 3.

A command is given, obedience is expected.

“So he left the land of the Chaldeans and settled in Haran.  After the death of his father, God sent him to the land where you are now living.  He gave him no inheritance here, not even a foot of ground.  But God promised him that he and his descendants  after him would possess the land, even though at that time Abraham had no child.  God spoke to him this way: ‘Your descendants will be strangers in a country not their own, and they will be enslaved and mistreated four hundred years.  But I will punish the nation they serve as slaves,’ God said, ‘and afterward they will come out of that country and worship me in this place.’  Then he gave Abraham the covenant of circumcision.  And Abraham became the father of Isaac and circumcised him eight days after his birth.  Later Isaac became the father of Jacob, and Jacob became the father of the twelve patriarchs.  Because the patriarchs were jealous of Joseph, they sold him as a slave into Egypt.  But God was with him and rescued him from all his trouble.  He gave Joseph wisdom and enabled him to gain the goodwill of Pharaoh, king of Egypt, so he made him ruler over Egypt and all his palace.” verses 4 – 10

We see God’s provision and the faith of the men he gave promise to.  Even though they do not see at first, and for Abraham, ever, the completion of that promise, they were faithful to obey.

“Then a famine struck all Egypt and Canaan, bringing great suffering, and our fathers could not find food.   When Jacob heard that there was grain in Egypt, he sent our fathers on their first visit.  On their second visit, Joseph told his brothers who he was and Pharaoh  learned about Joseph’s family.  After this, Joseph sent for his whole family, seventy-five in all.  Then Jacob went down to Egypt, where he and our fathers died.  Their bodies were brought back to Shechem and placed in the tomb that Abraham had bought from the sons of Hamor at Shechem for a certain sum of money.

As the time drew near for God to fulfill his promise to Abraham, the number of our people greatly increased.  Then another king, who knew nothing about Joseph, became ruler of Egypt.  He dealt treacherously with our people and oppressed our forefathers by forcing them to throw out their newborn babies so that they would die.

At that time Moses was born, and he was no ordinary child.  For three months he was cared for in his father’s house.  When he was placed outside, Pharaoh’s daughter took him and brought him up as her own son.  Moses was educated in all the wisdom of the Egyptians and was powerful in speech and action.” verses 11-22

God prepares for what is to come.  The preparations span a length of time, but his care is seen in this account.   Going back and remembering what God has done, how he has carefully planned for His own, gives encouragement to us today.  He is the same God, cares for us and prepares for our future.  God’s plan included us in providing for our salvation through the gift of His Son, Jesus.  That gift gave us eternal life through the acceptance of his sacrifice.  We too can remember our own personal history and see the hand of God caring and preparing for us.  How great it is to know Him!!  We have done nothing worthy of this love other than to be.  He created us to worship Him.  We are charged to remember…His history as given in scriptures, our personal history each showing to us over and over again how faithful He is.  Can we be any less?  Be found faithful in remembering, in loving, in following His commands.  Those commands begin with ‘love the Lord your God with all your heart, mind, body, soul and strength.  Be found  full of faith; what he has done He will continue to do.