Joshua and the Pile of Stones (Joshua 24)

What is an anniversary? What anniversaries do you celebrate in your family? Why do we celebrate wedding anniversaries, husbands? For a quiet life? No, because we are thankful that our wives put up with us… Remembering our anniversary helps us give thanks for one another. Helps us renew our commitment to one another. Helps us try harder in the future. That’s why we are encouraged when we hear of couples celebrating their 25th, 30th, or 50th wedding anniversary.  Do you remember your parents anniversary? Think about it. If they hadn’t got married you probably would not be here. Anniversaries are important.

1. Anniversaries help us remember with thanks

That is why God told his people to take 12 big stones from the River Jordan and make a pile by the river side – one for each tribe. It was to help them remember God’s faithfulness in rescuing their ancestors. In our Bible reading, they remembered what God had done. “It was the LORD our God himself who brought us and our fathers up out of Egypt, from that land of slavery, and performed those great signs before our eyes. He protected us on our entire journey and among all the nations through which we travelled…. (Joshua 24:16-17)

Today on our church anniversary too.  We look back 172 years to 1838 when this church was built. We want to give thanks to God for the faithful Christians who have served here. Without them we would not be here. We look back to remember and give thanks. Anniversaries help us remember with thanks.

2. Anniversaries help us repent of our rebellion

God’s people were now living in the land he had given them and they were becoming wealthy and complacent. They had forgotten it was the Lord God who had saved them and provided everything for them. So Joshua says

“You are not able to serve the LORD. He is a holy God; he is a jealous God. He will not forgive your rebellion and your sins. If you forsake the LORD and serve foreign gods, he will turn and bring disaster on you and make an end of you, after he has been good to you. But the people said to Joshua, “No! We will serve the LORD.” (Joshua 24:19-21)

The temptation to forget what God had done for them, to take God for granted was always a danger. Other people nearby worshipped other gods that looked attractive – that promised good harvests, healthy children and great wealth. But God says that was rebellion that they must repent of or God would bring disaster on them.  What anniversary did we celebrate last night?

Because Joshua reminded the people what God had done for them, they were sorry that they had forgotten him. Sorry they had not thanked him. Sorry they were tempted to worship idols.  That is why anniversaries are important.  That’s why coming to church every Sunday is important. Anniversaries help us remember with thanks. They help us repent of rebellion.

3. Anniversaries help us resolve to serve

Anniversaries remind us to look back with thanks but also look forward with resolve to serve faithfully.  Joshua leads by example. He insists, “But as for me and my household, we will serve the LORD.” (Joshua 24:15). And three times God’s people repeat “We will serve the LORD our God and obey him.” (Joshua 24:20, 21, 24). And to help them remember this day when they renewed their covenant (which Joshua wrote down), then

The took a large stone and set it up there under the oak near the holy place of the LORD. “See!” he said to all the people. “This stone will be a witness against us. It has heard all the words the LORD has said to us. It will be a witness against you if you are untrue to your God.” (Joshua 24:26-27)

And so this became another anniversary to

Remember, repent and resolve…

That is why anniversaries are motivational. Today is meant to motivate you to resolve to serve God faithfully just like our ancestors. And if you do not presently serve in and through Christ Church today is your opportunity. Please respond using the serving leaflet you received and join one of our teams who serve the Lord faithfully at Christ Church.

Anniversaries help us:

Remember with thanks for God’s provision.
Repent of our rebellion.
Resolve to serve faithfully.

Lets pray.