Sunday, August 3, 2003

God's Family

“How great is the love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are!” I John 3:1.

“Then the Lord said to Joshua, ‘This day I have rolled away the reproach of Egypt from you.’ Therefore the name of the place is called Gilgal to this day.” Joshua 5:9.
Now, you need to remember this word Gilgal! It is very important to our lesson today.

We have gathered here these few days because we are family. God, in His divine wisdom, knew that we would be a part of this family way before we were born. Even those of us who are a part of this family by marriage.

God made you for a reason. He also decided when you would be born and how long you would live. God also planned where you would be born and who your parents would be. God, in His wisdom, knew what family you would fit into best. God made us a part of this family, but there is something greater than being a part of this family!Just as God set in motion circumstances that made you a part of this family, He also made it possible by the death of His only Son Jesus that you could be a part of His spiritual family by adoption. (Galatians 4:1-7)

We were created to be God's children! Nothing more and nothing less! Until we come to the point in our lives where we realize this, we can never find happiness!

Now with this thought we go to the book of Joshua for a family lesson. Remember I asked you to remember the word “Gilgal”? Now, you say, Darrell, what in the world does Gilgal have to do with being a family? That's what I want to talk to you about!

Gilgal was a place where God's family were gathered together after forty years of wondering in the wilderness. The word “Gilgal” means, “The reproach has been rolled away.” Gilgal became a base of operations. Just as the corss is a base of operations for us! Gilgal was where God taught the children of God many lessons about life.

It was a place of remembrance, a place of revelation, a place of renewing, a place of realization, and a place of rewards.

I want us to look at it as a place of remembrance this morning. If you look at the fourth chapter of Joshua , verses 1-9, you will read that the Lord gave directions concerning the building of a monument.

And it came to pass, when all the people had completely crossed over the Jordan, that the Lord spoke to Joshua, saying: “Take for yourselves twelve men from the people, one man from every tribe, and command them, saying, ‘Take for yourselves twelve stones from here, out of the midst of the Jordan, from the place where the priests' feet stood firm. You shall carry them over with you and leave them in the lodging place where you lodge tonight.’”

Then Joshua called the twelve men whom he had appointed from the children of Israel, one man from every tribe; and Joshua said to them: “Cross over before the ark of the Lord your God into the midst of the Jordan, and each one of you take up a stone on his shoulder, according to the number of the tribes of Israel, that this may be a sign among you when your children ask in time to come, saying, ‘What do these stones mean to you?’ Then you shall answer them that the waters of the Jordan were cut off before the ark of the covenant of the Lord; when it corssed over the Jordan, the waters of the Jordan were cut off. And these stones shall be for a memorial forever.”

And the children of Israel did so, just as Joshua commanded, and took up twelve stones from the midst of the Jordan, as the Lord had spoken to Joshua, according to the number of the tribes of the children of Israel, and carried them over with them to the place where they lodge, and laid them down there. Then Joshua set up twelve stones in the midst of the Jordan, in the place were the feet of the priests who bore the ark of the covenant stood; and they are there to this day.

They were to build a monument about how God had blessed them with His presence and how he had led them to the Promised Land, that when their children asked, “‘What do these stones mean to you?’ That you may answer them...”

There has been a monument built, about how God has blessed this family. We can't see twelve stones this morning but nevertheless there is a monument being built that started years ago. This week we have heard lots of stories about the family and how it started. Books could be written of all the memories through the years. We are here today building more memories. But the memories that are the greatest are the spiritual ones because we are the Family of God. These are the memories that are the most important that we pass on to our children and grandchildren! Memories of how God answered prayers for sickness and needs. But more important is how God manifested Himself through the years.

With the cross as our Gilgal and the Holy Spirit as the ark of the covenant we have, and we are, and we will continue to build memories about how God has led us.

I want you to see a trend here! It's not about us and how great this family is, but rather it's about God and how great He is!!! It's about the presence of God through the years to those who obey Him! It's about how God answered prayer through the years to those who obey Him! It's about how God manifested Himself through the years to each one who obeyed Him! It's about the power of God!

These are the memories we must pass on!

We can say like Samuel of old, “Hitherto hath the Lord helped us.”

Just as God has made you a member of your earthly family, more importantly, he made us a part of His family! I say to you today, let's continue the tradition of being a family that is built on the foundation Jesus Christ, that those who come after us may know Him as well or better than we do! Let's live a life that is pleasing to Him and pass on the spiritual blessing that He has given us: blessings of love, blessings of grace, blessings of mercy.