There’s a quote about remembering God that I absolutely love. Ibn Ata Allah said: “He whose wealth or children distract him from remembering God is lost; but the one who remembers God experiences delights sweeter than the pleasure of food and drink.“
Remembering God is so important but remembering all God’s done can be tough.
God told Israel to use stones as a means of remembering all He did for them. While I don’t expect you to go stack rocks in your backyard each time God does something, we do need to remember God’s faithfulness, provision, and instructions.
That’s tough though and in reality, almost impossible.
We’re going to open the Bible and look at a story showing how Israel remembered God. Along with that, I’m weaving in my story of remembering God’s faithfulness.
By the end of this post my prayer is
- that you’ve remembered what God has done,
- that you’ve recounted the stories of God’s faithfulness in your life, and
- that the remembering has kindled a heart and mind full of contagious joy.
As I was standing at my computer thinking of a story to tell that aligned with the scripture in today’s post I was awestruck by just how much God has done for me.
God has blessed me and given me so many reasons for joy over the 20+ years I’ve served Him. Today I’m going to take you on a journey, a journey much like the Israelites were on.
Fourteen years ago I was happily married, living in my favorite state (sunny Florida), going to an amazing church, and living in a beautiful home. By American standards I was living the dream – there was nothing I lacked.
I still remember, my then husband, coming to dinner and calmly telling me he didn’t want to be married anymore. The shock left me numb for days as I hurried about trying to rally people together to help fix whatever had broken our marriage.
God didn’t fix the marriage but He did give me every reason to remember His faithfulness.
He gave me so many “forever signs,” answered every question I had, and ultimately proved Himself powerful beyond my imagination as He took me on this unexpected journey.
As we open the Bible and explore the stones of remembrance Israel set up, I’ll weave my remembering God story alongside Israels.
My prayer is that you see God’s faithfulness to Israel, and me, and in turn recognize the many ways God’s been faithful to you.
The stones of remembrance in our lives should be remembered and shared for as long as God gives us life.
A Sign Forever
“Each of you is to take up a stone on his shoulder, according to the number of the tribes of the Israelites, to serve as a sign among you. In the future, when your children ask you, ‘what do these stones mean?’ tell them…these stones are to be a memorial to the people of Israel forever.” Joshua 4:5b-6a,7b
Joshua was about to lead God’s people into the Promised Land, the land God had promised their forefather Abraham, the land He’d been leading them to since they set out from bondage in Egypt.
With each passing year Israel had to remember what God had promised them. This was a promise of God that took years to come about, but those years were part of God’s plan.
Those years involved Israel growing in relationship with the God who loved and provided their every need. Those years showed them that
- God fought their battles,
- God was their source for everything, and
- that God journeyed with them.
The 12 stones God told them to set up when they’d reached the Promised Land were hugely important.
Each tribes stone memorialized every little and big thing God had done up to this point.
Israel was about to take possession of a land “flowing with milk and honey”.
Remembering the things God leads us through, and to, is critical.
Stones of remembrance aren’t just Old Testament “things”, they’re things we also need.
- Do you remember what God did or said last year?
- What about 10 years ago?
It’s hard. I get it – I’m not a journaler and have trouble making notes of all the things God tells me and does.
But we should.
I’m challenging you and me right now. Challenging us because…
My Sign Forever
Shortly after my husband left, my job told me I was being transferred to Georgia. I didn’t know why.
I didn’t know anything except God had given me an unexplainable peace and knowing that I was to go.
Here’s the problem.
This was in the middle of the first huge recession we had in the early 2000’s. I had a house that would need to be sold and no one was selling houses unless it was a short sale or foreclosure.
God said sell, so I followed His instructions despite them making absolutely no sense.
Within 1 week of putting my house on the market it was sold for exactly what I’d asked for it…to the penny. God had given me my first “forever sign” that He was leading me on this new journey and He would provide my needs.
Pray and ask the Holy Spirit to help you remember all the stories of God’s faithfulness over your life.
Then, take a moment and write down everything God’s done for you. As you’re doing this,
- How does it make you feel?
Are you feeling an unexplainable joy and peace, maybe mixed with excitement?
That’s how I feel when I’m remembering God. Writing this has even caused a huge smile to plaster itself on my face.
A Questions Answered
“In the future when your descendants ask their fathers, ‘what do these stones mean?’ tell them, ‘Israel crossed the Jordan on dry ground. For the Lord your God dried up the Jordan before you until you had crossed over. The Lord your God did to the Jordan just what He had done to the Red Sea when He dried it up before us until we had crossed over.” Joshua 4:21-23
God is amazing.
I couldn’t help but start this section with that statement.
The Jordan was at flood stage and God stopped the water, dried the ground, and allowed every last Israelite to cross over into the land He’d promised them. This is the second time God did something like this for Israel – the first was when He parted the Red Sea.
When kids, born in the Promised Land, would see these stones it would lead them to ask questions.
Those questions would lead to the stories of God’s provision – His parting of the Jordan and how He brought Israel to the Promised Land.
The best part…these stones told God’s story.
All who asked about these stones of remembrance would hear about God.
- Do you have special places that remind you of things God has done?
- Do you remember and retell the stories of how God’s provided for you, supplied your needs, answered your prayers, fought your battles, rescued you, saved you…?
Making a point to retell the stories of God in your life plants seeds of hope, faith, and trust in the lives of others.
God's Provision & My Stones
Just like God parted the Jordan and led Israel to their promised land, God led me on a new journey marked by God’s unfailing provision.
Instead of telling you a detailed story I’m going to show you how God provided – the stones of remembrance He had me set up.
- A place to live without having to search.
- A service dog when my health took a nosedive.
- He provided my long term disability when I was no longer able to work.
- He led me to a school so I could finish my degree.
- He led me back to Washington where my family is.
- God provided a home in Washington and unexpectedly lowered the price for me.
- God gave me the dream for Bought at a Price and miraculously provided Sarah to partner with.
- God drew together my love for nutrition and His word and opened doors for me to use them to serve Him.
This list could be so much longer but I’ve just provided you the highlights.
We serve an awesome God who loves and wants to provide for His children. We need to remember the times
- God provides for us,
- leads us, and
- instructs us.
These are our stones of remembrance.
Powerful & Feared
“He did this so that all the peoples of the earth might know that the hand of the Lord is powerful and so that you might always fear the Lord your God.” Joshua 4:24
The Promised Land wasn’t going to be an immediate bed of roses. There were battles and tests ahead that only God’s power could see them victoriously through.
Israel wouldn’t be able to make the Promised Land their home without remembering
- God’s power,
- faithfulness, and
- also to fear God and God alone.
This wasn’t just about Israel remembering and trusting in Him, He did it so “all the peoples of the earth” would know.
Israel’s journey with God makes up most of the Bible and thousands of years later continues to be a story of remembering God that’s shared with everyone.
- Where, in your life, have you seen God’s power?
- Has that changed how you “fear the Lord your God”?
- Why or why not?
- How could the things God has brought you through be used to share God with others?
- How would it cause them to “fear the Lord your God”?
Only God Could
How God could be recognized as powerful and feared never crossed my mind as I was journeying through the last 14+ years.
What I did realize, with each miraculous provision and leading, was that God didn’t want me to keep His stories to myself.
I just never realized sharing the stories of God in my life was actually sharing His power and why He should be feared.
The number of people who have heard one or more of my God stories is uncountable. God has led me to speak to
- strangers on the street,
- coworkers (when I still worked),
- people at church…
- literally any and everyone.
The journey God has taken me on has taught me to trust God in and through all things.
It has taught me the depth of God’s love, grace, and mercy for His children.
It’s taught me that God’s promise to provide our every need is a promise He always keeps.
And it’s also taught me that God loves to love on His people.
He wants a close intimate relationship with us and wants to be part of every second of our lives.
Over my life I’ve come to believe God does things because He loves us and wants to bless us as a Father does His children. But also that these things, even the littlest of things, is done to reflect God to all people.
How we remember God and the things He’s done in our lives is part of our testimony. These stories, remembered and recounted, are able to share God’s love with the lost, bring help to the hurting, and healing to the wounded.
Seeing God’s faithfulness in the Bible and remembering God’s faithfulness in our own lives is a powerful life-changing combo.
Whether you journal, keep notes or reminders on your phone, or put rocks in a jar – I pray you do something to remember all God’s done and will continue to do.
Me, I like the idea of putting a rock in a jar each time God says or does something. You can write the year or one small word on it that will remind you what that rock symbolizes.
Each time you’re joy tank runs dry would you remember what God has done for you?
Remember what He’s done for those around you and remember His stories of faithfulness recorded in the Bible.
Until next time…
“If God will be with me and will watch over me on this journey I am taking and will give me food to eat and clothes to wear so that I return safely to my father’s house, then the Lord will be my God and this stone that I have set up as a pillar will be God’s house, and of all that You give me I will give You a tenth.” Genesis 28:20-22