“So, Joshua called together the twelve men he had appointed from the Israelites, one from each tribe, and said to them, “Go over before the ark of the LORD your God into the middle of the Jordan. Each of you is to take up a stone on his shoulder, according to the number of the tribes of the Israelites, to serve as a sign among you. In the future, when your children ask you, ‘What do these stones mean?’ tell them that the flow of the Jordan was cut off before the ark of the covenant of the LORD. When it crossed the Jordan, the waters of the Jordan were cut off. These stones are to be a memorial to the people of Israel forever.” Joshua 4:4-7 (NIV)
While we are most assuredly “prone to wander” we are also most assuredly “prone to forget”, Amen? We pray for something and receive it and it is a mere nano second more before we become forgetful of what the Lord’s Hand has done on our behalf. We whine and complain like little children that just had ice cream but now are screaming for cake. We are incredibly short sighted and ungrateful. If God never did anything more for us besides saving our scrawny necks, we should remain on our faces thankful, right? Remember, remember, remember is a common theme throughout all of Scripture because we are so prone to forget. f we do not take time to look back and remember how He carried us through on eagle’s wings both in the big miracles (although all miracles are big!) and all the sweet simple movements of His Hand which are so catered to us personally, we become selfish brats, demanding more and more for His mighty Hand to move.
In our verses for today, Joshua’s stones were simply an example to teach the Israelites God’s intentionality for them to celebrate His mighty acts on their behalf and we are to do likewise. He wants us to be a thankful people remembering what He has done. If He was faithful in the past, He will be also be faithful in the present. His desire is for us to tell our children and their children of His faithfulness in all that He has done. We are so short-sighted to our own harm and to the harm of those we love greatly. That is why it is so important to rehearse all His Omnipotent Hand has done for us. And we need triggers – like standing stones - lest we forget. In Deuteronomy we are given the Shema. The Jewish people consider this to be one of the most important passages of the Old Testament. Reminding the Israelites to love the Lord their God with all their hearts as well as all His commandments for them which, BTW, were for their greatest good. Even to the point of tying them as symbols on their hands and writing them on the doorframes of their houses so that they would not forget. God tells us we need reminder triggers so that we will be careful to reflect on how God brought us out of the land of slavery (sin and depravity) and into the freedom of Him in which we now stand, through the death of His Son. When we ponder on what God has done in the past, we disconnect from worry and fear in the present.
“I will remember the deeds of the LORD; yes, I will remember your miracles of long ago. I will meditate on all your works and consider all your mighty deeds.” Psalms 77:11-12 (NIV)