January 3rd, 2012 | Posted in » Bible in a Year, Devotions / Bible Studies, Scripture Snapshots
Perhaps it’s a small vial of sand or dirt, to help remember a memorable place. Maybe a coin from another country, or a ticket stub from a movie you attended with a special someone. Maybe it’s something else?
We love these things. They’re treasures to us… Markers of memories. Inherently worthless… yet invaluable.
Scripture contains an example of just this kind of remembrance technique.
1When the whole nation had finished crossing the Jordan, the Lord said to Joshua, 2“Choose twelve men from among the people, one from each tribe, 3and tell them to take up twelve stones from the middle of the Jordan from right where the priests stood and to carry them over with you and put them down at the place where you stay tonight.”
4So Joshua called together the twelve men he had appointed from the Israelites, one from each tribe, 5and 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, 6to serve as a sign among you. In the future, when your children ask you, ‘What do these stones mean?’, 7tell 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.”
8So the Israelites did as Joshua commanded them. They took twelve stones from the middle of the Jordan, according to the number of the tribes of the Israelites, as the Lord had told Joshua; and they carried them over with them to their camp, where they put them down. 9Joshua set up the twelve stones that had been in the middle of the Jordan at the spot where the priests who carried the ark of the covenant had stood. And they are there to this day.
We human beings have an amazing ability to forget what God has done in our lives. I don’t understand it, but it’s true. God can blow us away with His goodness, faithfulness, and love for us one day, yet we find ourselves questioning His love and care for us the next.
We need constant reminders of what He has done.
The Israelites had twelve stones, placed in a specific location to remind them of what God had done.
I have a friend who has an entire container of marked stones. When God does something important in his family’s life, they pick a new stone, write a couple notes about the event on the stone with a sharpie, and place it in a container they keep on display.
I have a tattered page from a Baptist Hymnal that I picked up in the front yard of my mother-in-law’s home May of 2003 following a devastating tornado. I kid you not, the song was “From Every Stormy Wind that Blows”. God worked in amazing ways in the town of Battlefield that week, and that page let me know immediately that God was still there in the middle of the destruction.
I have three rubber bands, one red, one yellow, and one pink, placed on my wrist in July 2010 by a beautiful little girl in the Dominican Republic. They’re worth less than a penny, I’m sure, but I wouldn’t trade them for the world. God opened my eyes to our privileged existence on that trip, and gave me a heart for orphans.
My point, again?
We need these kinds of reminders of God’s goodness and work.
So what “stones” have you held onto?