Summer Stories: Forgetfulness
When 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, 3 and tell them to take up twelve stones from the middle of the Jordan, from right where the priests are standing, and carry them over with you and put them down at the place where you stay tonight.” 4 So Joshua called together the twelve men he had appointed from the Israelites, one from each tribe, 5 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, 6 to serve as a sign among you. In the future, when your children ask you, ‘What do these stones mean?’ 7 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 4:1-7
As I get older, I realize that I am forgetting things more often. I forget where I put my keys. I forget what kind of chips each of my kids does not like in their lunch. I forget dates. I forget times. I forget. Thankfully the people around me are either filled with a lot of grace or just as forgetful as I am ….Or both maybe?
Forgetfulness is not something new as we see if the passage above. Joshua has just led the people of Israel out of the desert where they have been wandering for the 40 years, and into the land that God has promised them. They have waited an entire generation to get to this place, and the first thing God wants them to do is to set up a Memorial? So let me get this straight…. God enlists Moses to lead the people out of Egypt away from Pharaoh. As they are being chased, he makes a way for them to pass through the Red Sea, and then uses that same escape route to bring Pharaoh’s army to its demise. God provides manna, water and the Law while they are in the desert, and now they have finally been led to leave the desert and into the promised land – and God wants them to set a way for them remember? You really think they’re going to forget?
Simple answer – yes. We forget all to easily. We need to be reminded. We need to be reminded of the ways God has been faithful in our lives. The ways He has provided for us in our time of need. The way healing has come when it didn’t look like there was a chance. The way God provides great an influential people in our lives to encourage us and cheer us on in the tough times and to cry with us when the times are challenging. And we live. And we go into the next day. And somehow…. What was I talking about again? Oh yeah, we forget.
The stones are there to be a reminder not only to this generation but for us to teach the generations to come. God is faithful – all the way to the point of dying so that we might have life. And so it is for us to remember. How are you reminded? What are the ways that you try to avoid forgetfulness? Are there new practices to adopt in order that you might remember all that God has done? Think about that and see what you can do to be a better rememberer.