FAITH TO ENTER GOD’S PROMISES
Teaching Your Children to Fear God
Jerry A Collins
is there to memorial stones?
Do we have
memorial stones to the Lord today?
do these memorials have for our children?
I have a recurring dream that I
have forgotten something. One dream relates to seminary where I am approaching
graduation and preparing to receive my degree when I am informed that I have
not completed a course or forgotten to sign up for it or attend it or complete
the required assignments. There I am one class away from graduation but have
forgotten to complete
it. Then I am attending a meeting where I where I have been invited to speak but
I never quite get to the speaking part
because I have not prepared anything to say. I have forgotten to get ready for
the opportunity so usually the MC is delaying things so I can get prepared but
usually the people wait around too long and finally when I am ready either very
few are left or I begin and they have no time to listen. Forgetting like this
can have serious consequences. Joshua is leading Israel
into Land of Promise
and as they enter the Lord uses an event to assist the people in not forgetting
who led them, God, and how he did that, Jordan river.
Like Israel we
have a tendency to forget God. This chapter teaches us to remember not to
forget that! But how can we do this?
1. SPECIFIC COMMANDS OF GOD GIVEN TO US MUST BE FOLLOWED SPECIFICALLY 1-5
One way we do not forget God is
taking what he says seriously enough to follow it specifically. After
Israel crosses, God gives a specific command to
Joshua. They were to take 12 stones from the middle of the Jordan
and put them on the shore where they were staying for the nite.
This is their first nite in the land. God gave Joshua
a mechanical command without assigning any application to it and Joshua did it
literally. There are many things we are to do and not do today simply because
God said so. For instance, God gives us many specifics about praying, like do
it without ceasing, do it instead of being anxious, do it in a closet, do it
because God hears them, understand your wife so your prayers are not hindered.
We must follow what God has said specifically. This is true of many
things like not forsaking assembling together, study the Word, make disciples,
obey govt authority, or walk in the Spirit. None of
these are ever up for discussion but to be followed specifically because God
has told us to do so. Don’t ever argue
with God about what He has already specifically told you to do. We may want to negotiate
with God but His commands are never up for discussion. Don’t compromise. Ignore or change His
commands. Here, then, was a tradition God gave Israel.
Notice what they did not do with it. They did not keep piling stones all over
the place for generations to come. It was not the piling of stones that was
significant but what this taught. (1) Traditions do not have their own
foundational authority. What is lawful/unlawful dictated by God’s Word. (2)
Traditions valuable when they create teachable moments. (3) Traditions help
bring chaos to order (devotions in AM). (4) They are limited in what they teach
and can compete with Bible. (5) Tradition keeping dulls the senses, makes
people dull, complacent and unmovable. (6) Following Christ inevitably breaks traditions.
Christ’s commands mature-traditions
2. SPIRITUAL LEADERS GIVE APPLICATION TO COMMANDS OF GOD ACCORDING TO
GODS CHARACTER REVEALED THRU WORD OF GOD 6-18
We decide how to best apply what
God has commanded us to specifically do. The
stones become a teaching aid 6-7 Joshua applied significance to the
stones as a memorial to the people for a teaching aid to their children to
believe in God because of what happened here historically. God never told him to
do that but what he knew of God’s
character as revealed through Moses in the past motivated him to attach meaning
consistent with what he already knew about God in the past. Notice four things
about this application also in vss. 21-24: (1) They
are to start with their own personal experiences with God that they saw, heard,
felt and impacted them (like John in 1 Jn 1:1-4).
They were to tell their own personal story. (2) Their memory should trigger
memories of God’s miraculous activity
in others lives too. There are others who can verify the work of God like those
in 1 Cor 15 who could testify of Jesus’ resurrection. (3) Reason you tell is so
others will be impacted as with Rahab or the woman at
the well. (4) Reason we tell is so God is never trivialized in our lives and
our fear of Him increases. The OT is the story of Israel’s forgetfulness of God and it eventually invited their destruction.
There are consequences to forgetting God. Parents teach God’s ways and works. Jewish father was not to send his child to a Levite
but was to answer himself. How should we teach our children & grandchildren
so they will not forget God? How do we teach them to apply prayer or loving
enemies or walking in the Spirit in way that reflects character of God? (1) Be
with them. Quality comes from quantity. You impact close up. (2) Do things they
can reproduce. Point is for them to take ownership of the truth about God. They will reproduce the moral and theological
values you live
by (Deut 6:1-2). (3) Create a
context which encourages discovering truth. Parenting sets boundaries. Discipleship
encourages discovery. Children need both. (4) Make them a priority--not over
God or spouse but willing to pay cost to make them a priority over your job,
social agenda, in-laws and hobbies. Cost of discipling
is time. Your children join your schedule--with teens you join theirs. (5) Give
to them expecting nothing in return. Main thing keeps us from giving cheerfully
is when we expect a return. Thinking our children will pay us back with
respect, gratitude or accomplishment we are proud of. When omit payback from
giving motive, we are free to enjoy giving itself. (6) Teach them to obey God.
Just like your money and possessions your children do not belong to you. If
your kids have eternal perspective they will probably make it if not they won’t.
8-18 Details reviewed in lite of Jordan flowing again First, while they pick up the 12 stones from the Jordan,
Joshua takes 12 more back into the Jordan 8-9. Apparently, he participates on his own
initiative to express his desire to have a personal reminder of God’s faithfulness at the very beginning of this conquest & mission.
Second, The priests remained while the people hurried
across the Jordan 10. Third, armed men from the tribes on the east side
of the Jordan led the way not hampered by family or possessions
11-13. We know the population of males in these tribes was nearly 137000 (Num
26:7, 18, 34). Rest left to protect the tribes in territories. Fourth, God
exalted Joshua in site of all Israel as He did with Moses so the people would obey God
thru Joshua and this would be tested very soon with the way God wanted Joshua
to conquer Jericho vs 14. Notice Jericho mentioned twice in context (vs
13, 19) revealing ominous and dangerous mission ahead. Fifth, priests left
riverbed, 1st in and last out and resumed place at head of people
15-18. The Ark now called Ark
of Testimony or sign or reminder and even the Ark having prominent place in worship serves as reminder
of what God had done at Jordan
Sixth, the Jordan immediately returns to flood stage 18. So God closed
the back door—there was no going back across the Jordan. The past and it’s consequences are behind them. New
exciting dangers await them but with God and with His leader they can trust and
follow. The stones are a testimony that the crossing was not because of their
abilities but God did it. Their self-awareness is saturated by understanding
that God is able to do anything. No matters what lies ahead, Jericho is just ahead, confidently
they can follow God. However, if you flee the stones, both on the shore and in
the river will testify against your fear and unbelief. They camped at Gilgal 19 The 10th
day of 1st mo is same day 40 yrs ago that 1st Passover
lamb selected and a permanent memorial was established—deliverance from Egypt and red sea. Another deliverance
on same day is powerful reminder of continued work of God. (1) Purpose of Bible
study is to learn what God specifically commands us to do not satisfy our
curiosity. (2) Then we must decide how to apply that specifically.