Preface: This was a post I wrote for another website a few months ago and it originally was posted HERE. I have edited it and added to it for the purpose of this blog and wanted to share it with you today!
We humans are forgetful people. I used to think it was just me, maybe it’s my baby brain or maybe I just have bad genetics (at least that’s what I tell my husband when looking for my phone or keys for the 120th time that day), but as I read about the Israelites, I noticed how God would do huge miracles and then command his people to not forget. All through Deuteronomy He warned His people to take care, lest you forget (Deut. 4:9-12, 6:12, 8:11-20).
But the Israelites didn’t remember did they?
When I read those big stories about God moving, I wonder how in the world the Israelites could forget His faithfulness! How could they forget how God brought them out of Egypt? How could they forget how His daily provision of manna or how He made the walls of Jericho fall at their cry? And yet over and over again the Israelites would turn away from YAWEH and did what was right in their own eyes.
And while I’m side-eyeing the Israelites for their doubt, a twinge of recognition sets in.
I’m not so unlike them, (and not because I can’t find my keys… ever).
If I’m honest, their story looks a lot like my own. I’ve seen God part the Red Sea in my own life. I’ve seen Him knock down walls, and restore places in my life that should still be broken. And yet I, too, am prone to forget that I serve a God who ordains every step, even the difficult ones. I grumble and complain, looking back to my own Egypt longing for better days. I forget that it was His hand that provided along the way and as my steps become easier, I stop relying on God and start doing things my way (again).
But the great thing about our stories is that it’s not about us and our ability to remember; It’s about God’s unfailing love even when we’re prone to forget.
In Joshua 4, God had just brought the Israelites across the Jordan River by parting the sea. When they safely arrived at the other side, He commanded them to take 12 stones from the sea and carry them amidst the people as a sign of remembrance so that when their children asked in years to come “What do these stones mean?” they could tell their story of redemption. And this is the part that I love! God wanted them to be able to remember and retell their story “so that all the peoples of the earth may know that the hand of the Lord is mighty, [and] that you may fear the Lord your God forever” (vs.24).
You see, our stories of redemption weren’t made to be kept hidden.
They aren’t one-time miracles that only service the present moment; rather they were designed to bless our present circumstance while impacting our future faith! God miraculously provided a way for the Israelites to cross over the Jordan River, but in that same moment He provided a way to remind them of who He was and what He intended to do in the future. He had them place stones of remembrance so that that in years to come their faith would be strengthened by remembering what God had brought them from and was bringing them to. He had them create a space to remember so that their future faith and their children's faith would be blessed by the discipline of retelling redemptive stories.
And not only that, see verse 24?
...that the peoples of the earth might know that the hand of the Lord is mighty...
Y'all, our stories are evangelistic! They are intended to be told over and over again to not only to keep us from forgetting but to declare to a broken world that the Lord is mighty to save. Our stories aren't about us. They point to a God who is mighty to save, a God who is in the business of fixing broken things, a God who loves us fiercely and remembers us even when we're prone to forget.
That is our story.
And these stones are for us and for others.
So my question for you today is this, Where in your life do you need to lay down a stone of remembrance to remind you of His faithfulness? What story of redemption in your life needs to be recalled and retold for your good and His glory?
That scar that you like to keep hidden? That old wound that you’re ashamed of? Share it. Share your battle wound and story of redemption. Lay that stone of remembrance down and when your friends or family ask about it say boldy, “Look at what the Lord has done for me!” For our boldness isn’t in what we’ve overcome, rather it’s in what He’s done and will do for us!