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Altars for the Future

Joshua 4:20-23
20 And Joshua set up at Gilgal the twelve stones they had taken out of the Jordan. 21 He said to the Israelites, “In the future when your descendants ask their parents, ‘What do these stones mean?’ 22 tell them, ‘Israel crossed the Jordan on dry ground.’ 23 For the Lord your God dried up the Jordan before you until you had crossed over. The Lord your God did to the Jordan what he had done to the Red Sea when he dried it up before us until we had crossed over. 

The Israelites had crossed a great river once before.  A generation before this was written the parents of those that were now crossing the Jordan River had crossed the Red Sea while the Egyptian army chased behind them.  They crossed safely, but the Egyptians were swallowed in the great sea.  After this act of God the people kept forgetting what God had done.  Instead they grumbled "We are tired, we are hungry, we are thirsty, why don't we go back to Egypt, we are going to DIE!".  Despite their grumbling God patiently provided for them and protected them as they wandered for 40 years. 

With all of their grumbling they failed to effectively pass on the story of God to the next generation.  Joshua, had been there though, so he led the people across the Jordan, knowing that God would hold the water from rushing towards them.

I did not grow up in church.  I never knew my parents were religious.  As a teenager I rode my bike to a church to see what it was all about.  I fell in love with God and eventually enrolled in seminary to become a pastor.  After completing school, sometime around my 5th year in ministry my father asked if I knew my mother had been enrolled in school to be a missionary when they met.  When I asked my mother about it, she asked if I knew that my father used to be a street preacher.  The world had gotten to both of them and they had fallen away from the church.  Like the Israelites they had failed to pass on the story of God to me. 

Also like the Israelites, God provided people to lead me through the deep waters, despite my parents shortcomings.  I want you to know that God will provide, no matter what.  The grace of God is not dependent on our feeble actions.  However, when I discovered my family history in ministry it added a richness to the calling that had not been there before. 

Our scripture today reminds us that it is important for us to create memorials to the work of God in our lives.  We want our children to ask questions like "What are all those rocks over there for?".  Those memorials will remind us, and our next generation, to keep talking about the work of God, even when the adrenaline rush of a God moment has passed.  Look around your home today.  What memorials, reminders, or altars do you have that will create a conversation for the next generation?

Prayer: May God remind you every day of the God story lived out in your life.  May your eyes and heart be open to see and share that story.  May you avoid the worldly trap of grumbling, so that you may be filled with joy and grace!


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