Joshua 3:17-4:9 (Click HERE to read the full passage.)
“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.”
I will remember the deeds of the LORD; yes, I will remember your miracles of long ago.
They say an elephant never forgets. I wanted to know why that was a saying so I decided to do some research. I found some pretty interesting facts about this magnificent animal:
They are HUGE, especially African elephants, weighing anywhere from 4-8 tons!!*
They help the ecosystem by clearing trees so younger trees can get the light they need to grow.*
The bonds between their herd members run deep. Their families are run by matriarchs and the females help each other raise their calves.**
Their intelligence is high and they can express a number of different emotions.**
They are pregnant for 22 months!**
What I found most fascinating is that the saying “an elephant never forgets” is not unfounded. Elephants indeed have incredible memories. One article I read recounted a story of two elephants who were extremely excited to be reunited after 23 YEARS!! This incredible ability to remember is one of the key elements in how they survive as the matriarch of the herd recalls water sources in seasons of drought.***
I admire the elephant’s ability to remember. I am the kind of person who has to write down everything or I will forget about it. To-do lists are a daily must! It’s also not unusual for me to forget something and have to run back to grab it.
In a spiritual sense I also forget sometimes what God has done for me in the past: the battle with depression that He helped me fight in 2014; the financial hardship in that same year and the debt He helped me pay off; the incredible friends He has brought into my life; the sins He has forgiven me for; the husband He led me to… The list goes on! Yet somehow, when I face a new challenge, I often forget what He has done for me in the past and begin to worry.
In Exodus we read about the amazing things God did for His chosen people, the Israelites under Moses’ leadership. After miraculously freeing them from slavery in Egypt, He led them across the Red Sea on dry ground and provided for them in the desert. In the book of Joshua, when Moses passed away, God anointed a new leader named Joshua to lead His people into the Promised Land. There were many battles ahead to be fought, and God wanted to show the Israelites that He was with them. To that end, He did yet another miracle and led them across the Jordan River on dry ground just like He did across the Red Sea.
God knew how important it would be for them to remember what He has done and to tell future generations. It would give them confidence to move into the next chapters of their journey. Therefore, He commanded them to build a monument made of 12 stones, one representing each tribe of Israel. These stones were gathered from the center of the Jordan River as a sure reminder of God's saving power. When their children asked what the stones meant, they could pass on the story and assurance that God is with them and for them.
Just like the matriarch elephant remembers where to find water in seasons of drought, and the Israelites remembered past miracles as they headed into battle, we can use reminders of God's faithfulness in the past to provide the encouragement we need to keep going in our own seasons of drought and struggle. Our circumstances may change, but the God who helps us through each season remains the same.
Let’s remember what God has done! Let’s celebrate it, write it down, and share it with others! It will fuel our faith to move forward into tomorrow!
COMMENT BELOW: What is one thing that God has done in your life that you never want to forget? Share your story below as an encouragement to others of God’s faithfulness!