And Joshua set up at Gilgal the twelve stones
they had taken out of the Jordan. ~ Joshua 4:20
READING: Joshua 4
The twelve stones at Gilgal were the first of seven stone memorials that Joshua set up, as recorded in the Book of Joshua. (See Josh. 7:26; 8:28, 29; 8:32; 10:27; 22:34; and 24:26, 27.) Each one provided a witness, a reminder or a warning of some momentous event in the conquest of the Promised Land. They helped the Israelites to remember God’s past blessing or discipline.
I happened to be reading through this portion of Joshua right after our church weathered a particularly difficult church crisis. Limp with relief at how God protected and guided us through, it suddenly struck me that I should set up a “Twelve Stones” kind of reminder about this most recent victory.
Biblical memorials took many forms, including such things as celebratory parties, jewelry, written accounts or just plain piles of rock. The best ones were designed to provoke conversation – to re-tell “the story.”
Because I’m a weaver, I wove a tapestry depicting twelve stones on a grassy knoll. I’ve hung that weaving in our house ever since. And, for years, on the anniversary of the pivotal meeting that ended our “Twelve Stones” crisis, we took the elders out to eat who had stood so courageously with us. We would praise God for watching over us and thank them once again for the part they played.
It’s curious; we’ve had dozens of wonderful milestones in the churches we planted. But the ones I remember best are those with a tangible reminder, maybe hanging on the wall, written down in a journal or memorialized in a photograph.
It’s no coincidence that the land Joshua conquered was positively littered with memorials. Courageous faith goes hand in hand with remembering all God has done for us.
Father, Show me creative, tangible ways to remember Your many kindnesses. Amen.