Remembering the Past

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 theses 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


Setting up memorial stones was a common Old Testament practice.

Many times when a significant event occurred in the life of the people of Israel, they would use stones to mark the place where an event occurred. The Israelites had left Egypt, wandered for 40 years, and now were at the dawn of a new day as they entered the Promised Land. The Lord wanted them to remember that God had been with them from their departure from Egypt to the parting of the Red Sea; from their wanderings in the desert to the edge of the Jordan River. He had supplied them with food and with shoes that never wore out. Although the Israelites grumbled and complained, He never forsook them. Their idolatry denied one generation of Israelites entrance into the Promised Land, but their descendants crossed over. Joshua had seen how quickly the Israelites forgot their God both in good times and in difficult times. Joshua wanted them to remember what God had done. He wanted their children to know what the stones signified. Today, we use memory markers such as pictures, souvenirs, or gifts to remind us of special events that are especially meaningful. I often write down in my journal answered prayers so that I can remember the faithfulness of God. Memorials help us to remember God’s blessings and encourage us to go forward in our journey of faith.

Can you recall a time when the Lord opened up a river of blessings for you? After the Jordan River parted and the Israelites crossed over, the memorial stones were a reminder that God had delivered them from the bondage of Egypt into the Promised Land. God’s promises in His Word are true for us today. He parts the rivers in our lives and asks us to enter into His promises. In order to grow in our faith, we must trust God to part the sea and remember to thank the Lord for what He has done.


Heavenly Father,

I quickly forget Your faithfulness after You have answered my prayers until the next time when I again cry out to You in prayer. Forgive me for my ungratefulness. Carve a memorial stone of remembrance on my heart so that I will always remember Your faithfulness to me.

In Jesus’ name, Amen

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