MOVING FORWARD: REMEMBERING WITH THANKFULNESS
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: 6-7
The Israelites had seen God do amazing things: delivering them from Egyptian captivity, parting the Red Sea, providing food in the desert, and giving them water from a rock. After forty years of wandering in the wilderness, they arrived at the Promised Land after crossing the Jordan River. God did not want them to forget this moment, so He commanded them to make a “memorial” with twelve stones taken from the middle of the Jordan River, at Gilgal, the first town they arrived at. The word “memorial” is translated from the Hebrew word “zikkaron” which means a “marker, sign or symbol to remember the past in such a way that it impacts the present and also builds up expectations of the future.
The memorial at Gilgal reminded the people that God had opened the impassable Jordan River at harvest season and brought them safely across into the Promised Land. They had made a break from the past and were never to think of going back. Whenever the children asked about the memorial at Gilgal, their parents would have explained the miracle of the crossing of the river. It was a reminder to never forget that their old life was buried and always give thanks that they were walking in newness of life with God. For us, living after the cross of Jesus, it is a pointer to help us focus on the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ who forgives us of our sinful pasts and gives us salvation and a new life with Him as our Lord and Saviour.
Often, in our busyness we can easily forget the many times God has answered our prayers. We need to remember, to remind us that the God who answered prayers back then is the same God who answers prayers now. We establish spiritual memorials or markers in our hearts and minds, so we will never forget! In other words, we remember to give thanks because remembering is not meant to keep us stuck in the past but to equip and encourage us for the present. A powerful motivation for believing God in our todays is intentionally remembering how He’s worked in our yesterdays.
He did this so that all the peoples of the earth might know that the hand of the Lord is powerful and so that you might always fear the Lord your God.” Joshua 4:24
Happy Thanksgiving 2019