The Bible, from the Old Testament to the New, is filled with instructions about what we must remember: memorials and celebrations that commemorate the acts of God. God reminds us over and over to remember because we forget, or grow complacent. The picture above was taken at our recent team meeting in Franschoek. The sign above it says 'Altar of remembrance.' In Joshua 4:1-7, Joshua was leading the nation of Israel through the Jordan River on dry ground. The Lord then tells Joshua to choose 12 people (one from each tribe) to collect 12 stones from the middle of the Jordan. Joshua does as the Lord says.
Verse 6-7 then states that these stones are "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.” Memorials are alters placed in specific times and places to remember what God has done.
What is the point of these alters of remembrance?
1. To point to God! Seeing the pile of rocks and hearing the story, the people of Israel would know clearly that they had not crossed the Jordan on their own. Those stones 'cried out', "God did this! By His hand, we have crossed this river. By His power and faithfulness, we have accomplished this!"
2. Bear witness of God to others.
VS 6 “In the future, when your children ask you, ‘What do these stones mean?’” These stones serve as testimony to what the Lord has done and when we speak about what God has done in our lives we are shining a light in a dark world to draw people to Him. We exist to know God and to draw others into His Kingdom.
We don’t remember the past great works of God so that we can live in a dreamland of the past, thinking that the best days of our Christian experience are behind us. We remember them as a point of faith, so we can trust God for greater and greater works in the future because we have seen and experienced His past faithfulness. I just love the lyrics of this song: "All my life You have been faithful and all my life You have been so, so good, with every breath that I am able, I will sing of the goodness of God." In this newsletter, we will be sharing our alter of remembrance from the past year. I also want to encourage you to make time with the Lord - to recall some of yours. Please feel free to share some of them with us so that we can rejoice together!