William Andrew Dillard
WHAT MEANETH THESE STONES?
When the children of Israel came to the Jordan River in their journey from Egypt to the Promised Land, Joshua commanded them to set up a memorial of stones. One man from each of the twelve tribes was to precede the priest carrying the ark. They were to take up a large stone and carry it on their shoulder. In the place where they camped that night, they used the large stones to create a memorial marker. When their children in the future should ask their fathers what the stones meant, then they would answer them, “That the waters of Jordan were cut off before the ark of the covenant of the LORD; when it passed over Jordan, the waters of Jordan were cut off: and these stones shall be for a memorial unto the children of Israel forever.” Joshua 4:7.
A brief survey of Exodus, Leviticus, and a few other Old Testament books will reveal much usage of the term “memorial.” God wanted future generations to know how He had blessed, and helped the Israelites to accomplish what was otherwise impossible. It underscores to those of us so many thousands of years into the future of that time, the value of godly memorials.
Modern day sermons are fraught with examples and illustrations of God’s work among His people of so long ago. Such memorials are an undergirding of faith to present day saints. After all, they are preserved in writing for our admonition upon which the ends of the world are come. I Cor. 10:11.
As it was then, so it is now. It is important that memorials be created and observed, children taught, and saints reminded often of the goodness of God upon His people collectively, His church; of each saved person individually; of this great nation: the reason for its founding, and the sacrifices that have been made to defend its existence, and its liberties.
Today, God would not have us to build a memorial of bricks, rocks and mortar. Rather the stones of remembrance are spiritual landmarks of sound Bible doctrine, even those that save the spirits of men, and those that instruct to the saving of the soul; those of the faith once delivered to the saints. These include the stone of realization that all are sinners, with zero exception. Then there is the stone of salvation by grace through faith, plus nothing else. The stone of eternal security of the believer must also be a irretractible part of the accepted memorial. Add to that deep water baptism administered on a professed believer by a New Testament Church, and then the local nature of the Lords Church in which the ordinance of the Lord’s Supper is observed by its qualified membership and a memorial is made that can offer acceptable interpretation of the Living Word.
FEBRUARY 22 – Ichabod
1Samuel 4:21 And she named the child Ichabod, saying, The glory is departed from Israel: because the ark of God was taken, and because of her father in law and her husband.
God gives instructions that are complete. All we have to do is look for them. David in wanting to move the ark to Jerusalem did not ask the proper way to move it. Tragedy struck. In the days of Eli, his sons removed the ark from the place that had instructed to put it. Tragedy struck. The two sons died in battle. The ark was taken and when Eli heard the news, he fell backwards and broke his neck and died.
Exodus_25:22 And there I will meet with thee, and I will commune with thee from above the mercy seat, from between the two cherubims which are upon the ark of the testimony, of all things which I will give thee in commandment unto the children of Israel. Notice here that God revealed plainly where He would meet the people. The door of the tabernacle is used in Exodus and Leviticus many times. The Cloud that God was in came to the door of the tabernacle and when the people saw it they worshiped.
When the Ark was taken into battle, the Glory of the Lord and his presence was no longer in the tabernacle. He no longer came to the door. We need the presence of the Lord when we worship. I cringe when ever I hear “The Lord showed up today.” That statement lends the idea that the Lord is not necessarily there every time we worship Him. That begs the question – are we worshiping him according to the way He wants us to.
I do not want to see the Glory of the Lord depart from His Churches. We need to seriously examine our doctrine, who we are worshiping, and how we are worshiping. Are we preaching all the doctrine or keying on one and subjugating others to minority positions? Are we worshiping God or our selves and telling God he has to accept that worship. Are we worshiping the way God tells us to worship.
If it is all about us, then there is nothing there for God.
Author – Bob Hess
TODAY AND THE DAYS OF NOAH ARE LIKE LOOKING IN A MIRROR:
“As were the days of Noah, so will be the coming of the Son of Man. For just as in those days before the flood they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving marriage, up to the day Noah entered the ark; and they knew nothing about what would happen until the flood came and took them all away. That is how it will be at the coming of the Son of Man. Two men will be in the field; one will be taken and the other left. Two women will be grinding with a hand mill; one will be taken and the other left.” Matthew 24:37-41
What are these verses telling us? We are told that Noah was a preacher of righteousness (Contrary to how the new movie portrays him), according to 2 Peter 2:5. He was a righteous man (living a life that was right in the eyes of God), blameless among the people of his time, and he walked faithfully with God, according to Genesis 6:9.
When Noah began building the Ark, I can just imagine how those who observed what he was doing reacted. Being a “preacher of righteousness”, I can see Noah telling the people what God was planning to do. But in spite of watching this faithful man of God, being obedient to God, the people continued on in living each day as though Noah was crazy for doing what he was doing. A flood? It doesn’t even rain. Where is all the water going to come from that will cover our city, let alone the whole world? I can just hear them saying, as days became months and months became years. Then came the 119th year, and still no rain, let alone a flood. But, Noah kept building and making the preparations that God had instructed him to do.
But people STILL continued on with their same lifestyle of “eat, sleep and be merry”. Noah was “crazy” – “Building an ark because it is going to rain and kill everyone?”. Finally at the end of the 120th year from the day that Noah was told that God had had it with man, Noah had completed the task that God had given him – completely and he made sure that every “I” was dotted and very “T” was crossed (Genesis 6:22). God told Noah to get into the ark with the seven members of his family, and GOD SHUT THE DOOR OF SAFETY.
Today, many of God’s people are telling the people of this world that Jesus is about to return. But, life goes on as usual. Things are becoming more and more evil as each day passes bye, just as they did in the day of Noah. Right is becoming wrong and wrong is becoming right – homosexuality, abortion, etc. (Isaiah 5:20-24 and Malachi 2:17). In Malachi, God said that He is tired of them saying that “All who do evil are good in the eyes of the LORD and He is pleased with them”. Sound familiar? We are facing a day when people spit in the face of God by saying that homosexuality is OK in God’s sight when God’s Word says otherwise.
Well folks. Jesus IS COMING BACK SOON. People can deny it if they want to. But Peter warned the Christians of his day that “Above all, you must understand that in the last days scoffers will come, scoffing and following their own evil desires. They will say “Where is this coming He promised? Ever since our ancestors died, everything goes on as it has since the beginning of creation.” (2 Peter 3:4)
The scoffers are becoming the majority today. But we can’t give up and we can’t give in. We need to be “preachers of righteousness” just as Noah was as he waited for God’s promise to be fulfilled for 120 years. I honestly don’t believe that we have 120 years. Who knows? We may not even have another 120 minutes.
1 Samuel 6:19—7:2
“And he smote the men of Beth-shemesh, because they had looked into the ark of the Lord, even he smote of the people fifty thousand and threescore and ten men: and the people lamented, because the Lord had smitten many of the people with a great slaughter,” 1 Samuel 6:19.
Jesus sent out seventy disciples throughout the region to represent Him and the kingdom of God. When the disciples returned, they were rejoicing because they experienced great power, even over demons. When Jesus heard them bragging about their newfound power, He rebuked them and told them to only rejoice in God, that He had written their names down in Heaven (Luke 10:17-20).
When the ark of the covenant was returned to Israel by the Philistines, it appears that at least seventy men were gloating in the experience of power that accompanied the return of the ark of God. Immediately, God struck these men down because they were boasting in an experience instead of God.
It is easy to enjoy the experience of victory that accompanies Jesus Christ and is available to every child of God. We should rejoice in that victory, but as soon as we allow that victory—that Christ won—to lift us up in pride and begin to gloat over our enemies, we have forgotten who is responsible for the victory. Never forget that, without God, we would know nothing but defeat. When we are tempted to think of ourselves more highly than we ought to think and allow ourselves to gloat in our salvation, we step into God’s place and begin to steal His glory.
JUST A THOUGHT
Will you humbly give God all the glory today?
Numbers 4:15-20; 7:6-9
“But unto the sons of Kohath he gave none: because the service of the sanctuary belonging unto them was that they should bear upon their shoulders,” Numbers 7:9.
I would love to have a front yard with all grass and no weeds. There are multiple ways I can prevent people from seeing the weeds in my yard. One way would be to get down on my hands and knees and dig up the weeds, then spray a herbicide to kill the remnants. Another way to prevent people from seeing the weeds would be to simply mow the yard so that all the grass and weeds are the same height. Which way do you think would be best? Mowing the weeds and grass to the same height would be the easiest way to hide the weeds, but would that really take care of the problem? No, it would just be a matter of time before the weeds crept up again. The best way to take care of it is also the most cumbersome way. That is usually the case in most jobs.
God gave specific handling instructions for the most holy things of the Tabernacle, including the ark of the covenant. For these things to be moved, they had to be wrapped up and carried on men’s shoulders. That was the best way to transport the objects because that was God’s way.
When it comes to displaying God’s glory in this world, there are no shortcuts. You may be able to trick others into thinking that you are holy by conforming to an appearance of holiness, but you will never trick God. We either do things God’s way or our way. Today, choose God’s way.
JUST A THOUGHT
Will you choose God’s way today?
I cannot be sad if my Savior is near,
He bids all my sadness depart;
I cannot be lonely, if gently I hear
His whisper of love in my heart.
The whisper of love, soft whisper of love,
How oft, like the poor wandering dove,
I fly to the ark with my Savior to rest,
And hear His soft whisper of love.
I cannot be weary; the days are not long,
If onward I trustingly move;
And oft on my journey i pause in my song,
to hear the soft
whisper of love,
And when, from the path He has taught me to tread,
My footsteps forgetfully rove;
How kindly again to that path I am led,
And cheered by the whisper of love.
No voice in the world is so tenderly sweet,
No charm can my sorrow remove;
No accents in glory my joy would complete
Without the soft whisper of love.