In Joshua 4, the LORD commanded Joshua to call up 12 men, one for each tribe of Israel to pick up stones from where the priests were standing, priests who were carrying the Ark of the Covenant, and bring them to the place where Israel will encamp. These stones were to be a memorial to what the LORD has done for the people. This will serve as a reminder how God allowed the people of Israel to cross the Jordan on dry land.
In the Old Testament, you can read so many references of people building a memorial as a remembrance of what God did for them. Jacob, Isaac’s son and grandson of Abraham, after waking up from the vision that God gave him, set up the stone where he laid his head on and set it up as a memorial pillar. The rainbow that we see in the sky is a memorial that never again will God destroy the earth by flood. Aaron staff, stored with the 10 commandments in the Ark, was also a memorial of how God chose the Levites to be His priests.
It is important for us to remember important spiritual milestones in our lives. We should be able to remember when we prayed to receive Jesus in our lives. I did this on a certain day in September of 1989, 22 years ago. I regret that I do not remember the exact day anymore. Even the day when I was baptized in water. These are dates that should be remembered always because it shows God’s grace and goodness in our lives.
The stories surrounding these memorials are to be passed on to our children. So that they will know how God moved. How God has blessed and how He continues to be faithful up to this day. Our children need to know all these things so that they too will be encouraged and so their faith will be strengthened. That is why God commanded the Israelites to tell the stories of these memorials to their children and their children’s children–so that we will remember always.
Memorials can also be setup for those day when God disciplines us. We need to remember those days too. It is not something to be ashamed of. No! Those are days when God showed His love towards us by disciplining us. Our children need to know this too so that they would not go through the path where we went.
These days, the word memorial is often associated with death and funerals. Far from it. Memorials are memories. They are there to let you remember and we need to remember how God has moved in our lives.