The Memory of Stone
Take twelve stones from here out of the midst of the Jordan . . . and bring them over with you and lay them down in the place where you lodge tonight . . . these stones shall be to the people of Israel a memorial forever. Joshua 4:3,7
I’m from South Dakota where history has been carved into rock as a reminder of something important. In visiting the iconic presidential memorial, it is almost impossible not to remember the great deeds of the past.
This seems to be the purpose of the stones the Israelites were commanded to take from the Jordan River. God commanded the priests carrying the ark to stand in the middle of the river, causing the waters to stop flowing, so the Israelites could cross on dry land. He then told them to take 12 stones from the river bottom, to build a memorial on the other side. The memorial was to serve as a reminder, for years to come, of what God had done for His people.
We too, should remind ourselves, frequently, of where we have been and what God has done for us. If we have no memory of what God has done for us, it is possible that we have not allowed Him to do much. It is possible that some of us are still wandering in the wilderness, refusing to cross our Jordan.
If I am trapped in an addiction to drugs, food, pornography, resentment, anger, bitterness or pride, it is not because God wants me to be addicted, it is because I have refused to do what it takes to follow God to freedom.
For those of us for whom God has done something amazing though, we must remember where we once were and what God has done for us. To forget is to repeat the mistakes of the past. To remember is to repeat the successes of the past. There will be more Jordan Rivers – sometimes daily rivers – and though the details may be different, the obedience required will be similar.