A memorial is to remind us of what God did.
Psalm 144:14-15 That our oxen may be strong to labour; that there be no breaking in, nor going out; that there be no complaining in our streets. Happy is that people, that is in such a case: yea, happy is that people, whose God is the Lord.
God wants us to show that our happiness doesn’t depend on circumstances. Daniel didn’t complain when the king signed a decree that whoever prayed would be cast into the lions’ den. Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego didn’t complain when thrown in the fiery furnace. The queen of Sheba heard of Solomon’s wisdom, but was impressed by the happiness of his servants when she came. We need to display God’s grace as a testimony that he has everything under control. Paul had a thorn in his flesh but God said his grace was sufficient. Paul changed his attitude. We may need an attitude change to show God’s grace.
I Kings 10:6-9 And she said…It was a true report that I heard…Howbeit I believed not the words, until…mine eyes had seen …thy wisdom and prosperity exceedeth the fame which I heard. Happy are thy men, happy are these thy servants, which stand continually before thee, and that hear thy wisdom. Blessed be the Lord …which delighted in thee, to set thee on the throne of Israel: because the Lord loved Israel for ever, therefore made he thee king, to do judgment and justice.
We’re reminded by every rainbow about Noah who God preserved in the ark for a little over a year. It reminds us that God promised he won’t destroy the earth by a flood again.
Genesis 9:11-16 And I will establish my covenant with you; neither shall all flesh be cut off any more by the waters of a flood…to destroy the earth. And God said, This is the token of the covenant…with you, for perpetual generations: I do set my bow in the cloud, and it shall be for a token of a covenant…when I bring a cloud over the earth, that the bow shall be seen in the cloud: And I will remember my covenant…and the waters shall no more become a flood to destroy all flesh. And the bow shall be in the cloud; and I will look upon it, that I may remember the everlasting covenant…
We have the memorial of the Passover before Moses led the people out of Egypt. They put the blood of a lamb on their door posts and ate the lamb.
Exodus 12:5-7 Your lamb shall be without blemish, a male of the first year: ye shall take it out from the sheep, or from the goats…and the whole assembly of the congregation of Israel shall kill it in the evening. And they shall take of the blood, and strike it on the two side posts and on the upper door post of the houses, wherein they shall eat it.
The blood on the door posts made the death angel pass over and not destroy the first born in the Israelites’ houses.
Exodus 12:11-13 And thus shall ye eat it; with your loins girded, your shoes on your feet, and your staff in your hand…eat it in haste: it is the Lord’s passover. For I will pass through the land of Egypt this night, and will smite all the firstborn…both man and beast; and against all the gods of Egypt I will execute judgment: I am the Lord. And the blood shall be to you for a token upon the houses…when I see the blood, I will pass over you, and the plague shall not…destroy you…
The Jews honored the Passover every year. The apostles prepared for the Passover before Jesus was crucified. He changed the Passover to a communion when we eat bread that stands for his body being broken for us. The wine (grape juice) stands for his blood shed for us to be saved that’s on the door of our heart. Jesus told them to do it in remembrance of him.
Luke 22:13-20 And they went, and found as he had said unto them: and they made ready the passover. And when the hour was come, he sat down, and the twelve apostles with him. And he said unto them, With desire I have desired to eat this passover with you before I suffer: For I say unto you, I will not any more eat thereof, until it be fulfilled in the kingdom of God. And he took the cup, and gave thanks, and said, Take this, and divide it among yourselves: For I say unto you, I will not drink of the fruit of the vine, until the kingdom of God shall come. And he took bread, and gave thanks, and brake it, and gave unto them, saying,This is my body which is given for you: this do in remembrance of me. Likewise also the cup after supper, saying, This cup is the new testament in my blood, which is shed for you.
God gave directions to cross Jordan. He said to build a memorial at Gilgal to remind them to tell their children what happened. God wants us to lay stones so we remember the great things he’s done in our lives.
Joshua 4:1-9 And…when all the people were clean passed over Jordan, that the Lord spake unto Joshua, saying, Take you twelve men out of…every tribe a man, And command ye them, saying, Take you hence out of the midst of Jordan, out of the place where the priests’ feet stood firm, twelve stones, and ye shall carry them over with you, and leave them …where ye shall lodge this night. Then Joshua called the twelve men, whom he had prepared…And Joshua said…Pass over before the ark of the Lord your God into the midst of Jordan, and take ye up every man of you a stone upon his shoulder, according unto…the tribes of the children of Israel: That this may be a sign among you, that when your children ask their fathers in time to come, saying, What mean ye by these stones? Then ye shall answer them, That the waters of Jordan were cut off before the ark of the covenant of the Lord; when it passed over…and these stones shall be for a memorial unto the children of Israel for ever. And the children of Israel did so as Joshua commanded, and took up twelve stones out of the midst of Jordan…laid them down there. And Joshua set up twelve stones in the midst of Jordan, in the place where the feet of the priests which bare the ark of the covenant stood: and they are there unto this day.
The memorials aren’t just for us to remember, but so our children and all the world will see and know God’s power. They came out of the Jordan on the 1st month and 10th day, exactly 40 years after they came out of Egypt. We recognize they wandered in the wilderness for 40 years just like God said they would.
Joshua 4:15-19 And the Lord spake unto Joshua, saying, Command the priests that bear the ark of the testimony, that they come up out of Jordan…saying, Come ye up out of Jordan. And it came to pass, when the priests that bare the ark of the covenant of the Lord were come…and the soles of the priests’ feet were lifted up unto the dry land, that the waters of Jordan returned…And the people came up out of Jordan on the tenth day of the first month, and encamped in Gilgal…
God raised up Ehud when Eglon, king of Moab was giving the Israelites a lot of trouble. Ehud took a present to Eglon and hid a dagger in his clothes with the intent to kill Eglon. Fear came on Ehud and he left. When he got to the quarry of Gilgal, he saw the stones that the Israelites had put up when God helped them cross the Jordan. He took courage and became strong. He knew that God was with him so he returned and killed Eglon. There were 80 years of rest after that. We never know how much the memorials we make through our life may encourage someone else after we’re gone.
Judges 3:15-19…Israel cried unto the Lord, the Lord raised them up a deliverer, Ehud…a Benjamite, a man lefthanded: and by him…Israel sent a present unto Eglon the king of Moab. But Ehud made him a dagger which had two edges, of a cubit length; and he did gird it under his raiment…And he brought the present…and Eglon was a very fat man. And when he had made an end to offer the present, he sent away the people…But he himself turned again from the quarries…by Gilgal, and said, I have a secret errand unto thee, O king: who said, Keep silence. And all that stood by him went out…
Judges 3:19 (Amplified Bible, Classic Ed) He himself went [with them] as far as the sculptured [boundary] stones near Gilgal, and then turned back and came to Eglon and said, I have a secret errand to you, O king. Eglon commanded silence, and all who stood by him went out from him.
Jesus made a memorial over 2000 years ago of how the woman anointed his body for burial. He said she would be mentioned whenever the gospel is preached. He wants us to do what we do freely, not to please men. God wants us to start collecting stones of memorial for our children and others that show what God can do.
Matthew 26:6-13 Now when Jesus was in Bethany…There came unto him a woman having an alabaster box of very precious ointment, and poured it on his head…But when his disciples saw it, they had indignation, saying, To what purpose is this waste? For this ointment might have been sold for much, and given to the poor. When Jesus understood it, he said…Why trouble ye the woman? for she hath wrought a good work upon me. For ye have the poor always with you; but me ye have not always. For in that she hath poured this ointment on my body, she did it for my burial. Verily I say…Wheresoever this gospel shall be preached…there shall also this, that this woman hath done, be told for a memorial of her.
This Easter when we can’t get together to celebrate the resurrection of Jesus, think of the song “I Can Face Tomorrow because he lives all fear is gone, because I know he holds the future, and life is worth the living just because he lives.”
(Notes from the Mature Class Bible Study, teacher Edith Tolbert)