On Monday we celebrate “Memorial Day”. It is a day that we set aside to remember those who have sacrificed their lives over the years, so that we might be free and safe here in the United States of America.
“Memorial Day”, is to help us remember.
The Bible also wants for us to celebrate other “Memorial Days”. Days in which the Lord has shown us His mighty power, His Love, and who He is. Days in which we might “Remember” who our God is, and that He has the power to deliver us.
Exodus 12:14 “So this day shall be to you a memorial; and you shall keep it as a feast to the LORD throughout your generations. You shall keep it as a feast by an everlasting ordinance
This was the day that the Lord delivered 2.5 million slaves from their slavery, into freedom and a land full of blessing.
This deliverance came by the shedding of the blood of a Lamb that would free them from their slavery. That day was “Passover”, when the Angel of death came and when He saw the blood of the Lamb on the doorposts of the house, He would “Pass Over” that house and not destroy the first born of the house. The Egyptians did not believe in the Blood of the Lamb, they put none of His blood on their homes. They suffered the consequences of that unbelief by the death angel when He took their first born sons, including Pharaoh’s own firstborn son.
It is interesting that the 2.5 million people were delivered by “The Blood of a Spotless Lamb”, just as we today can only be saved and cleansed of our own sins by Jesus, God’s only Spotless Lamb.
There are other kinds of Memorials that the Lord intends that we set up for ourselves in our lives. Remembrances for those times when things are not going that well. Reminders that the Lord can and will deliver us, if we will only trust Him and wait upon Him.
There is a Memorial that the Lord set up in the Heavens, that is intended to remind us how great and powerful our God is:
Psalms 19:1 The heavens declare the glory of God; And the firmament shows His handiwork.
There are memorials that the Lord created in the world that should remind us that God exists, and that He is the One that holds everything together.
Romans 1:20 For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even His eternal power and Godhead, so that they are without excuse…
There is the Memorial that the Holy Spirit left for us in our Bibles. Places that remind us that other people just like us, with all their own struggles, that God was faithful and mighty to delivered them throughout their lives. They are now in Heaven, where we shall be some day soon.
Romans 15:4 For whatever things were written before were written for our learning, that we through the patience and comfort of the Scriptures might have hope.
Memorials in the Heavens.
Memorials in the Earth.
Memorials in our own lives.
Today we will look at these three kinds of Memorials that the Bible speaks of, and if we are paying attention, the Lord will build our faith through these Memorials.
The first Memorial we want to look at, is the one that the Lord set up in the heavens that remind us how great our God is:
Scientists are only today beginning to realize just how incredibly large and complex and perfectly balanced the Universe is. The Universe is so perfectly balanced that if any part of the universe were to be changed, it would throw off the balance of billions of stars and planets. The Galaxy that we live in , the Milky Way, is so perfectly balanced so as to allow Life to exist on the Earth, that if the Milky way Galaxy was not placed 2/3rds of the way out from the center of the Milky Way Galaxy, none of us would be alive.
It has become absolutely clear that An intelligence has Created the Universe, and specifically the Earth, specifically for Human beings.
For many years, scientists criticized the Bible because they said that it claims that the Earth it flat because of the reference in Isaiah of “The Four Corners of the Earth.”
Isaiah 11:12 He will set up a banner for the nations, And will assemble the outcasts of Israel, And gather together the dispersed of Judah From the four corners of the earth.
The Marines are said to be “In the Four Corners of the Earth”, the winds are said to come from “The Four Corners of the Earth.” This is a phrase that is used by many to indicate the whole earth, or the four extremities of the Earth.
Actually, 700 years before Jesus came to the earth and long before scientists knew that the earth was round, the Prophet Isaiah wrote:
Isaiah 40:22 It is He who sits above the circle of the earth, And its inhabitants are like grasshoppers.
Clearly the Holy Spirit is describing the Earth as a Sphere, long before any man knew that it was a sphere.
A Memorial for us, to remember that the Bible is the Word of God.
The Book of Job says that:
Job 26:7 He stretches out the north over empty space; He hangs the earth on nothing.
Job is believed to be the oldest of all the Old Testament Scriptures, written during the time of Abraham, about 1,500 years before Jesus came to the earth, or about 3,500 years ago.
Here the Holy Spirit accurately and scientifically describes the fact that the Earth as “Hanging on Nothing”. The ancient pagans believed that the earth was balanced on the back of an Elephant that rested on the back of a Turtle. Other pagans said that Atlas carried the Earth on his back.
The Bible says that the “Earth Rests on Nothing”,
We know today that the Earth hangs in space, suspended in space by gravity.
Job Described the fact that “He stretches our the North over empty Space”.
An amazing recent discovery by Astronomers found that the area to the North of Earth’s Axis towards the Polar star is an almost completely empty space, devoid of any stars or planets.
This is an empty space in the North of more than 300 million light years across. Our Milky Way Galaxy is 100 million Light years across. A light year is the distance that light travels at a speed of 186 million miles per second, for one year. 300 Million miles, with hardly a single star, is an amazing empty space. In every other direction from earth as you look, there are an abundance of stars. But not in the North.
In Isaiah chapter 14, where Lucifer makes the statement that he “Wants to be like God and live where GOD lives in the farthest sides of the NORTH”.
Isaiah 14:13 For you have said in your heart: “I will ascend into heaven, I will exalt my throne above the stars of God; I will also sit on the mount of the congregation On the farthest sides of the north
Is that vast empty space in the north, that Astronomer have recently discovered, the place where Heaven is located? We don’t know, but the Bible describes the places of the North as being the place where God lives. The Bible declared this fact long before Astronomers ever had a telescope powerful enough to find out that there was a vast empty space in the north.
Again, a Memorial in the Heavens to the fact that the Lord lives and inhabits the heavens.
Secondly, there are memorials in the Earth to us as reminders of the Lord’s existence and His great power.
Finally after decades, scientists have concluded that the Earth and our Solar system are “Anthropic”. This means that Scientists have discovered that the Earth and the Solar System we live in have striking evidences that the earth was “designed” by a superior intelligence to allow human life to exist here”.
Scientists now say that “There are an astonishing number of scientific variables within a very narrow range, that allows human beings to exist here on the earth.”
- If we were just slightly closer or slightly farther from the sun, life would not be possible on earth.
- If the earth was 2% farther from the sun, the planet would be too cool for a the winds, and cloud cycle that waters the earth, everything would die.
- If the earth was 2% closer to the sun, the earth would be too warm for a the wind, cloud cycle that waters the earth, everything would die.
- If our sun was any closer to any other sun, in the universe, there would be no life on earth.
- The Earth is 2/3rds water and 1/3rd land. If the proportions of water to land were different, all life would die.
Our moon is much larger in relation to the size of earth, than other planets moons are.
- Because the moon is larger, it has the right amount of gravitational pull on the earth that keeps us tilted at 23.5 degrees
- Exactly 23.5 Degrees is what caused the oceans to have movement that cleanses the earth through the tidal cycles the moon creates by its pull on the earth.
- If the tilt of the earths axis was greater than 23.5 degrees, the earth would have massive continental flooding and long periods of darkness.
- If the tilt of the earths axis was less, the areas around the equator would be too hot for life and the Ice caps would be gigantic.
Our sun is exactly the right size that the earth needs to keep the earth rotating at 1070 miles an hour.
If the earth did not have an exact 1,070 mile per hour rotation:
All plant life would burn during the day, and freeze at night. If we rotated just 100 miles an hour faster, The winds on the earth would be so high that they would destroy everything
The distance that the earth is from the Moon is perfect.
If we were just 1/5th closer to the moon, the tides would be so strong that they would cover up all of the land twice a day. If we were farther away from the moon or had no moon, the earth would “Wobble” like Mars does, causing major catastrophic changes in our weather that would kill us all.
Finally, The air that we breath on the earth has exactly the right mixture of gases:
- 78% Nitrogen, 21% Oxygen, .92%Argon, .035% Carbon Dioxide, and .035% other gases.
- If we had just 6 percent less oxygen (15%) all of us would suffocate.
- If we had just 9% more oxygen (25%) spontaneous fires would break out all over the earth because oxygen is so flammable.
- If there was even a slightly less amount of carbon dioxide on the earth, every plan would starve to death.
A Mathematician with a lot of time on his hands, computed all the variables in this delicate balance on earth and in our solar system that make life possible.
There are literally thousands of these very delicate balances that make life possible, that if even one of them were to be changed not one of us could live on the earth. It has been calculated that it is beyond any mathematical possibility that all these very delicate balances on the earth that make life possible, could happen by accident. This leaves only one other possibility; they were created this way by an Intelligence that is beyond our ability to comprehend.
This tiny planet called earth, is so finely tuned and delicately balanced, that it is virtually impossible that this absolute perfect balance needed to sustain life, happened by sheer accident.
These Delicate Balances that we can see in the Earth are our “Memorials” In the Earth that remind us that because our God did make everything for us, that He will continue to take care of us and sustain our lives.
Thirdly, there are those Memorials that the Lord has left for us in our own lives:
Romans 15:4 For whatever things were written before were written for our learning, that we through the patience and comfort of the Scriptures might have hope
Every person that has lived on the earth before you, was just like you.
Even those persons listed in the Bible that are called “Great Men and Women of Faith”, were just sinners like you and I. None of them were any more Spiritual or better equipped than you are. All of them failed, all of them doubted. They all had problems with patience, their tempers, and their mouths. They all lied just as we have, they all lusted as we do, they all had terrible moments of deeply hurtful trials, just like you do.
In the Book of Joshua there is an interesting story, when Israel was near the end of their journey through the desert for 40 years. The Lord brought them to the edge of the Jordan rive, and after they crossed it, they were promised that thy would enter into the land that the Lord had prepared for them.
Joshua 3:1-17 Then Joshua rose early in the morning; and they set out from Acacia Grove and came to the Jordan, he and all the children of Israel (2.5 Million), and lodged there before they crossed over. And Joshua said to the people, “Sanctify yourselves, for tomorrow the LORD will do wonders among you.” Then Joshua spoke to the priests, saying, “Take up the ark of the covenant and cross over before the people.” So they took up the ark of the covenant and went before the people. And the LORD said to Joshua, “This day I will begin to exalt you in the sight of all Israel, that they may know that, as I was with Moses, so I will be with you. You shall command the priests who bear the ark of the covenant, saying, “When you have come to the edge of the water of the Jordan, you shall stand in the Jordan.’ ” So Joshua said to the children of Israel, “Come here, and hear the words of the LORD your God.” And it shall come to pass, as soon as the soles of the feet of the priests who bear the ark of the LORD, the Lord of all the earth, shall rest in the waters of the Jordan, that the waters of the Jordan shall be cut off, the waters that come down from upstream, and they shall stand as a heap.” So it was, when the people set out from their camp to cross over the Jordan, with the priests bearing the ark of the covenant before the people, and as those who bore the ark came to the Jordan, and the feet of the priests who bore the ark dipped in the edge of the water (for the Jordan overflows all its banks during the whole time of harvest), that the waters which came down from upstream stood still, and rose in a heap very far away at Adam, the city that is beside Zaretan. So the waters that went down into the Sea of the Arabah, the Salt Sea, failed, and were cut off; and the people crossed over opposite Jericho. Then the priests who bore the ark of the covenant of the LORD stood firm on dry ground in the midst of the Jordan; and all Israel crossed over on dry ground, until all the people had crossed completely over the Jordan.
Crossing a river is not that big of a deal, except that the Holy Spirit says here that this was during “The Harvest Season”.
The Harvest Season happens in the spring time, when the winter snow is melting from Mount Hermon, and as a result of this snow runoff, The Jordan river is at its highest level of the year. Every other time of year the Jordan river is only about 100 feet wide, this time of year the Jordan river is over 1 mile across! Why did the Lord wait till the Harvest season when the Jordan River is at Flood stage, to lead his people across the Jordan river? Why did He pick the Time of the year when it was the most difficult, instead of the time of year when it would be more easily crossed?
This crossing of the Jordan river was a greater miracle than the crossing the Red Sea.
The Red Sea simply parted and folded back on itself. The Jordan River is a Raging torrent 5,000 feet across, that suddenly stopped. Where did all that water go? We don’t know, but surely this is even a greater miracle than the parting of the Red Sea.
At the parting of the Red sea, all Moses had to do was raise his staff and then the Lord would part the waters. This time, at the parting of the Jordan River, the people have to participate themselves in order for the water to part and stop flowing.
Joshua 3:13 And it shall come to pass, as soon as the soles of the feet of the priests who bear the ark of the LORD, the Lord of all the earth, shall rest in the waters of the Jordan, that the waters of the Jordan shall be cut off, the waters that come down from upstream, and they shall stand as a heap.”
Why didn’t the Lord make it as easy for them this time, as He did the last time?
Man always looks for the easiest way, the least line of resistance. Jesus looks for the way that will grow the greatest Character in us. When building your character, the hardest way is often the best way for us. The Lord is more concerned with building your Character than your Comfort.
Many of you are thinking right now: “Well the Lord must be trying to build a lot of Character in me right now because I sure have been having a hard time lately!”
You see, the Lord will do greater and greater works in your life as time goes by, but to see these greater works, will require greater trials. With these greater trials, there will be the need for greater trust than the last time you went through a trial.
This time, the waters did not part until the people stepped into the raging river. Imagine what they were thinking; “Okay, last time we just stood still and watched the Lord work, this time we have to step into that raging river, what if we step in and get swept away and the Lord Doesn’t part the waters?”
We call this “Stepping out in faith”
The name of the place where they are “Stepping out In Faith”, is called Bethabara, which means “House of Passage”.
1,400 years later John The Baptist will baptized Jesus here at this same place that they are crossing. Today, many of you are going through your own “House of Passage”. You are going to need more faith than you had the last time you were in a trial, because this one is even more difficult.
In the walk of faith with Jesus will constantly be stretching us. This is where we run into problems because if we don’t understand what is happening and we don’t like it.
“Lord why is this happening?”
“Lord why did you allow this?”
The person of faith, knows that trials happen and the reason, is that the Lord is working in our life to stretch our faith. The person of faith knows that the Lord promised that “It will all turn out for good—to those who love the lord and are called according to his purposes”. (Romans 8:28)
The Lord wants to bring you into a greater trust, so he brings you into a greater trial. Until you are fully committed to Jesus and fully committed to believing that He is working and will make it turn out for good, no matter what is happening you will not have any peace. Once you are fully committed, then anything can happen and you will let it happen, and not fight against it, and still have peace.
“A growing faith says: “I accept my circumstances without understanding why”
No explanation is needed. I am committed anyway. Jesus is in control. I am committed to trust. Therefore I have peace.
Without this firm commitment:
We will constantly be restless. We will be searching for answers. We will want to get out of our situation, change jobs, change marriages or even change the city we live in. We will be trying to use our intellect to figure everything out.
Are you in your “Bethabara?”, your house of passage into a deeper faith?
Joshua 4:1-7 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.’ ” 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 crossed over the Jordan, the waters of the Jordan were cut off. And these stones shall be for a memorial to the children of Israel forever.”
Perhaps what you are going through right now will cause you to trust more and complain less. Theses things that you are struggling through right now are your “Memorial Days”.
Places that you will be able to mark in your future where you were tested, but you grew. Days in which you hurt, but you were helped. Monuments that you have built that remind you that no matter what happens, the Lord will be faithful and deliver you.
Happy Memorial Day, It is going to be a great one.