My memory isn’t what it used to be. Sometimes I think my hard drive is just getting full. Other times I think I just have too much going on, but no matter what the cause, the effect is the same: It’s easier and easier to forget things. I can be holding my cell phone and forget that I’ve got it. So it’s no surprise that I have to keep a day planner now. If I don’t write it down, there’s no way I’ll remember to do it.
But that works the same way for accomplishments. If God does something in my life and I don’t take a moment to write it down or at least set something in place so I can remember it, I’ll walk off and forget it. And when God does something in our lives, it’s worth memorializing because on the bad days we can remember who God is and what He’s done.
Today’s verse is Joshua 4:9.
Joshua also set up another pile of twelve stones in the middle of the Jordan, at the place where the priests who carried the Ark of the Covenant were standing. And they are there to this day.
This story deals with those radical children of the Israelites who we first get to know in the Book of Deuteronomy. They were sold out, on fire, and absolutely rip-roaring-ready-to-go for God. Where their parents had failed, they would succeed. Where their parents had not trusted God, they had given their hearts all the way.
Joshua was the leader, Moses’ successor. And during one battle, they had to cross the Jordan River while it was at flood stage. Now, those of us in the Wichita area, when we think of rivers we probably think of our sad Arkansas River, which at this moment is so dried up, it needs to be called the Arkansas Creek (if it even merits that). But the Jordan River is a big deal. It’s a big river. And at flood stage, it wasn’t a river you wanted to ford.
But Joshua’s army needed to. And they trusted God to take care of it. And when the priests carried the Ark of the Covenant across ahead of them, the waters of the Jordan parted. Kind of like the Red Sea parted for their parents.
But unlike their parents who crossed the Red Sea and didn’t look back, Joshua and his men built a memorial. He ordered his men to get 12 stones, and they did and they built a memorial where they camped for the night to remember what had happened. But as if one memorial wasn’t enough, Joshua built another one himself. While all the people were crossing the river, Joshua built up a pile of rocks where the priests were standing.
Why? Keep reading Joshua 4.
Then Joshua said to the Israelites, “In the future your children will ask, ‘What do these stones mean?’ Then you can tell them, ‘This is where the Israelites crossed the Jordan on dry ground.’ For the Lord your God dried up the river right before your eyes, and he kept it dry until you were all across, just as he did at the Red Sea when he dried it up until we had all crossed over. He did this so all the nations of the earth might know that the Lord’s hand is powerful, and so you might fear the Lord your God forever.”
Marking milestones is important because it gives us something to do to help us remember. Yes, it helps our children and other people understand what happened in the past, but it’s also good for us. Building memorials out of stones was back-breaking work, and Joshua made one all by himself. That kind of labor is hard to forget.
The point is this: When God does something in our lives that demonstrates how much He loves us or that He really does have a plan or that He really does listen, we need to mark it. We need to set something up, something that will help us remember on the days when our emotions tell us we’re all alone. Whether you mark it on a calendar or build your own memorial out of rocks, it doesn’t matter.
Memorials aren’t overrated. In fact, the more we have of them, the better we might be, so everyone could remember the sacrifices people have made in the past to help us get where we are today.
So what has God done for you today? What has He done for you this week? Or this month? What do you want to remember tomorrow when reality leaves you cold and feeling alone? Mark it down. Build a memorial. And remember.