“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, 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.” (Joshua 4:5-7 NIV)
Our small group has been reading the book of Joshua, tracing the journey of the Israelites into the Promised Land. One of the interesting things that we noticed is how God taught them to memorialize significant events in their journey with Him.
Whether it was moments of triumph or even moments of failure (like Achan’s disobedience in Joshua 7:26), the Israelites would place a pile of stones as a memorial for themselves and the future generations. God knew how forgetful His people could be, and how easily they could lose sight of all that He had done.
In addition to the record kept in the Scriptures, these memorials served to remind them of God’s faithfulness and the importance of obeying God’s instructions.
Today, we may not be in that same kind of journey to a physical Promised Land, but we are each on a spiritual journey with God. We may start out well, but along the way, we too may forget God’s faithfulness, and lose sight of His hand in our lives.
That’s why it is so valuable to have a way of reminding ourselves along the way. Keeping a journal is one practical way that has benefited me a lot. Ever since God turned my life around about 13 years ago, I’ve been keeping a journal of my thoughts, prayers, joys and struggles. I recently managed to take some time out for a personal retreat, and started reading some of my journals from the beginning. It was an amazing experience, at times I wanted to laugh at myself, at times to cry. But through it all, I was greatly encouraged to see how God had been watching over me despite all my follies and failures.
I was left feeling a real sense of assurance of God’s faithfulness in my life, and His assurance of His guidance and provision for the future.
I pray that as we spend our devotional time with God, whether using our small group materials or otherwise, we will each be able to keep a memorial of the steps of our journey with God.
“Praise the Lord, O my soul; and forget not all His benefits.” (Psalm 103:2).
By Jan Choo, Assistant Pastor (YCKC Bulletin 1&2 March 2014)