Last night I was having trouble sleeping so I got up and was scrolling through my computer at photographs and I came across some of our family. A few years ago, our vacation took us on a trek east as we went to Gettysburg, Philadelphia, Washington D.C. and New York City. The entire trip was a blast. I really love history and I was in awe walking the steps of our forefathers in Constitution Hall, and the streets of Philadelphia, and the battlegrounds of Gettysburg, and so much more. Seeing Gettysburg helped me wrap my brain around much of the terrible battle that took place there and I walked away with a much deeper understanding of that point of our Nation's history. But that is for another day. Today, I want to zero in on one thing about Gettysburg that still stands out in my mind... the many, many monuments that have been erected throughout Gettysburg. There are more than 400 monuments throughout Gettysburg. They come in all shapes and sizes, and each one tells a story. Various states have erected memorials to the soldiers who fought there. There is a purpose for these monuments. They tell the story. Even though it is enjoyable seeing them, it is also deeply sobering as you walk the ground there and read the monuments and plagues. The reality of the sacrifice of the life's that was made there. I remember saying to my wife that you could almost hear the blood crying out from the ground. No, these monument were not there for mere enjoyment... they stand as a constant and enduring reminder to succeeding generations of the important events that occurred on those green hills in July 1863.
My trip down memory lane recalling our vacation took me somewhere else. Thoughts of those monuments and memorials brought to mind a story from the Bible. I began thinking about how that after the Israelites miraculously crossed the Jordan River on dry land, Joshua instructed the priests to carry huge stones from the middle of the river and place them on the shore. Why? The Bible says in Joshua 4: 21-13, “In the future when your descendants ask their fathers, ‘What do these stones mean?’ tell them, ‘Israel crossed the Jordan on dry ground.’ For the Lord your God dried up the Jordan before you until you had crossed over.” The stones were to be a monument, left behind to "testify" (tell the story) of the miraculous power of God and what He had done for His people.
This morning, I'm compelled with the thought that we need to "tell the story" to the next generation so that they can pass it on to the next... not just only about our Nation's battles, but how God has blessed this Nation... how this nation has historically cried out, not just to "a" god, but to the one true God, through His Son, Jesus Christ. Today, "they" are re-writing history, trying to omit America's reliance on God and trying to tear apart the lives of men who worshipped God and prayed openly. We can never allow them to succeed in this sinister plot. We need to carry some stones and erect monuments (so to speak) so that future generations will ask, and we can tell them the story.
I believe it is also important for Christians to memorialize important spiritual events in their own lives: salvation, answers to prayer, God’s presence, special Bible verses, or a spiritually moving worship service. When these “stones” are shared with others, they too will learn of the mighty acts of God. And they also serve to remind us, ourselves of key times of the Lord’s presence in our lives. Just recently I was looking through one of my older Bibles and I was looking specifically at my own hand written notes throughout that Bible, and I rejoiced all over again as I was reminded of key points in my life when God broke through in a powerful way.
Let's erect some stones!