Joshua 4:3 (ESV)
And command them, saying, ‘Take twelve stones from here out of the midst of the Jordan, from the very place where the priests' feet stood firmly, and bring them over with you and lay them down in the place where you lodge tonight.’”
Do you think you have a good memory? How much can you remember that happened in 2016? Have you noticed that people do a lot of remembering this time of year? Everywhere you look on TV, in magazines and on the internet, people are remembering the best and worst things that happened in 2016. They talk about the biggest news stories, the biggest movies and other special things that happened.
But way more important than remembering all of that stuff is remembering what God has done. New Year’s Eve can be a fun time to look back at the last year and remember the cool things God has been up to in our lives.
In the book of Joshua, the Bible talks about how important it is to remember what God has done. For years and years and years, God had been promising to give His special people, the Israelites, their very own country, a place called the Promised Land. They used to be slaves in Egypt, but God rescued them, and in this story He does a miracle by stopping the water of a river so the people could cross over to their new home.
Wow, what a big day! The Israelites got a brand new home thanks to God’s amazing power, and they didn’t even have to get wet going there. God did not want His people to forget the awesome things He had done. He didn’t want them to forget how much He loved them, so here is what He told them to do.
Joshua 4:1-7 When all the nation had finished passing over the Jordan, the Lord said to Joshua, “Take twelve men from the people, from each tribe a man, and command them, saying, ‘Take twelve stones from here out of the midst of the Jordan, from the very place where the priests' feet stood firmly, and bring them over with you and lay them down in the place where you lodge tonight.’” Then Joshua called the twelve men from the people of Israel, whom he had appointed, a man from each tribe. And Joshua said to them, “Pass on before the ark of the Lord your God into the midst of the Jordan, and take up each of you a stone upon his shoulder, according to the number of the tribes of the people of Israel, that this may be a sign among you. When your children ask in time to come, ‘What do those stones mean to you?’ then you shall tell them that the waters of the Jordan were cut off before the ark of the covenant of the Lord. When it passed over the Jordan, the waters of the Jordan were cut off. So these stones shall be to the people of Israel a memorial forever.”
Look at all of these things that happened this last year. Which months do you think God was with us? One month? Two? No, God was with us every single day.
Remembering the cool things God has done gives us courage to face the future. The same God who was with us this past year, promises to be with us in the 2017 no matter what.
Dear Lord, thank You for all that you did for us this past year. Help us to remember how good You are as we go into the new year. In the Name of Jesus, Amen.