Those twelve stones which they had taken from the Jordan, Joshua set up at Gilgal.
Israel has just finished crossing the Jordan on dry land and Joshua sets up a pile of twelve stones, exactly as God had instructed him. The point of these stones, we are told elsewhere in the chapter, is to serve as a reminder. These were large river stones, taken from the bed of the Jordan and set up to remind Israel of walking on dry land when they should have been drenched.
In the modern world, I have the ability to set reminders on my computer and my phone and my tablet. I can command any of these devices to alert me to something happening that I want to get to or some event coming up that I need to remember. In the age of technology; when our devices can tell us what is coming, we are without excuse when it comes to remembering dates and events. But there’s something we do not set reminders for, and that is the work that God has accomplished in our lives.
My wife is a journaler; she loves to have time to sit and write in her journal and be able to go back through those journals and be reminded of what God has brought her through. Her journals are her reminders. I, for my part, am a storyteller and will recount the things that God has done whenever given half an excuse to do so. Since more than a few of my stories hinge on the fact that I stand in the presence of those listening to tell the tale, my reminder is often the fact that I am alive. By most reckonings, I should be dead several times over. I walked into rush hour traffic as a toddler and God preserved my life. When I was about two, my mom was set to take me with her to something and the car she was riding in had no car seat so I would’ve been in her lap, but one of her sisters arrived at the last minute and I stayed behind — that car was struck by a motorcycle and the place I would have been seated was more or less cut in half by the bike. I was the driver of a car that flipped and CHP, who recovered the car, looked at the roof and declared that the driver should have had his skull caved in. I was walking to the corner store to get a Coke when someone shouted at me from the back of a vehicle. When I turned, I was looking at a rifle and someone with their features covered. I ran like my life depended on it. Over and over again, God has preserved my life. The fact that I am alive is a reminder to me that God is and that He has plans for me that are not finished yet.
What other reminders can I set up? I need reminders because there will come a day when my daughter will ask me how I know that my God is alive and that He loves me … and her. On that day, I will sit her down and recount to her the tales of how God spared her father’s life over and over again; how He protected a toddler from disaster; how He averted a brush with death by seconds; how He stayed the trigger finger of some punk who wanted to freak someone out; how He held the roof of a car at bay long enough for me to get out of the car. I am quite sure God will have done more by then and I will be able to tell her those stories as well; the accounts of God’s doings in my life — and hers.
In this age of being able to set a reminder for nigh anything we want, I need to stop and ask myself what reminders of God’s goodness and faithfulness and mercy I am setting so that I can recount the tales of God’s glorious dealings with His children to the generation to come. Not so I can look back and revel in the glory days, but so I can sit with those who are too young and not yet born and say, “This is a reminder of the time when God ….”