Pastor Joseph Bianco
In some ways we still use memorial stones today. We see them in graveyards, to mark the people who lie there, we see them on hiking paths to mark changes or transitions in the trail, and we see them in fields - perhaps the ruins of long-lost foundations, a story of what once was. Joshua is aware of Israel’s tendency to forget. We don’t just see the marking of passing over the Jordan (with memorial stones), but the spiritual marking of circumcision, renewing the covenant promise that God made with Abraham in Genesis 17. Lastly, we see a feast of remembrance, the Passover, where Israel remembers the faithfulness of the Lord. As God was faithful then, so he is faithful now. As God is faithful now, he will be faithful again. Then out of nowhere, as if the author intended it to feel as abrupt for the reader as for Joshua, we see the commander of the of the army of the LORD. Terrified, Joshua drops and worships the Lord. There we see a new Moses; there we are reminded that one even greater is coming.
Reflect: In the New Testament there is warning, a warning to take care, lest there be in any an evil unbelieving heart, leading you to fall away from the living God. This warning is related to God’s people abandoning God in the wilderness, allowing their hearts to go astray. In our text today, memorials are set, that they may not forget. Memorials are placed to protect against a wandering heart. In what ways do you find your heart wandering now? Recognize them, write them down. Now leave a memorial, remember all the ways God has been faithful to you. Write those down as well. Now take a moment, remembering Joshua before the angel of the Lord, and take some time to worship God.
Connect – Hebrews 3: 7-13 recounts the warning for God’s people not to act like the Israelites during the wilderness wanderings.
7 Therefore, as the Holy Spirit says,
“Today, if you hear his voice,
8 do not harden your hearts as in the rebellion,
on the day of testing in the wilderness,
9 where your fathers put me to the test
and saw my works for forty years.
10 Therefore I was provoked with that generation,
and said, ‘They always go astray in their heart;
they have not known my ways.’
11 As I swore in my wrath,
‘They shall not enter my rest.’”
12 Take care, brothers, lest there be in any of you an evil, unbelieving heart, leading you to fall away from the living God. 13 But exhort one another every day, as long as it is called “today,” that none of you may be hardened by the deceitfulness of sin.
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This blog is part of the ministry of City Reformed Presbyterian Church. Unless otherwise noted, the entries are written by Matt Koerber. This is part of a project that our church is doing as we read through the narrative sections of Scripture between early January and Easter 2020. New entries will be scheduled to drop automatically at 5:00 am on the scheduled day.