‘Remember to remember’—this is a quote we have heard over the past several weeks at Christ’s Church. Walking through Moses’s life each week has carried this characteristic: Do not forget who God is. Remember what he has done. Oh, and remember. 

Remembering is not one of my gifts. It is not something that comes naturally to me. I forget – whether it is a chore, a birthday, an anniversary, or doing something I said I would do and then moving on to do the exact opposite. Perhaps you can relate to this struggle, as we all have our moments of forgetfulness. My youngest son may have inherited this trait from me. As we were getting ready for the day this past week, Edison ran out of his room, excited to show us his SuperMario Brother’s shirt, and declared, ‘Ready to go, Dad!’ 

I said, “Great, bub, but you’ll need to put some pants on.”

He looked down, and we had a good laugh.

I hope you can empathize with me a little, but remembering is hard. It’s like trying to hold water in your hands, and it slips through your fingers no matter how tightly you try to grasp it.

And some things are worth remembering (for example, pants).

It is safe to say God knows we are pretty bad at remembering. 

Time and time again, throughout the Bible, God commands his people to set up reminders of His faithfulness. 

Here are just a few passages you can look up to see what I mean:
Deuteronomy 4:9, 6:12, 8:11
1 Chronicles 16:12
Psalm 77:11-12, 103:2
Isaiah 46:8-9

We understand the need to remember, but the bigger question is, How? How can we hold onto these moments of God’s faithfulness in a world that constantly bombards us with distractions and forgetfulness?

Three particular spots in the Old Testament come to mind that teach us how to remember best, not just for memory’s sake but also for the sake of those we influence over. 

The first is in Genesis 28. Jacob dreams of God’s promise that He will watch over him, that He will not leave him, and that Jacob’s descendants will bless the earth. 

Jacob, not wanting to forget this promise, took a stone from underneath his head, set it up as a pillar, and poured oil on top of it. He called the place Bethel, meaning House Of God. For he said, indeed God is in this place. This place, ‘Bethel,’ would become a central worship place for the Israelites. That memorial would serve as a reminder to Jacob and those who would follow after – reminding them God is with them, that He would not leave them, and that they would be a blessing.

The second is in Joshua 4. Joshua and the Israelites prepare to cross the Jordan River into the Promised Land. Joshua instructs the people to consecrate themselves, and God will do amazing things. As the priests carrying the Ark Of The Covenant stepped into the Jordan River, the water stopped flowing and piled up away from them, making it possible for the entire nation to pass through the river on dry ground. Joshua then instructs each tribe to take twelve stones at Gilgal, meaning a circle of stones, to signify what God has done. 

It says, “When your children ask you, ‘What do these stones mean?’ Tell them Israel crossed the Jordan on dry ground. He did this so that all peoples of the earth might know that the hand of the Lord is powerful and that you might always fear the Lord your God.” Joshua 4:21-22,24

God longs for us to remember His goodness and teach them to those who are to follow.

The last example is one of my favorites from 1 Samuel 7.

The Israelites were under attack from the Philistines. Samuel intercedes for the people, asking the Israelite people not to stop crying out to the Lord your God so that He may rescue them. The Lord answered, rescuing them from danger. Samuel then took a stone and set it up between Mizpah and Shen, where the battle happened. He named it Ebenezer, meaning the stone of help.

Samuel would then continue to influence Israel. From year to year, he traveled from Bethel to Gilgal to Mizpah, judging Israel in each of those places. (Joshua 7:15-16)

I don’t think it is a coincidence that Samuel chose to go to each place where memorials were to remind him of God’s faithfulness to his people.

So, how do we remember? Judging from these stories, we need to find some remarkable rocks. 

That might not be practical for most of us, but there are smaller items you could set aside as memorials of God’s faithfulness to remind you that He is with you, sees you, and cares for you. 

Remember I mentioned I don’t have the gift of remembering? The good news is that my wife does have the gift of setting up reminders all over our home to remind us that God is good. From post-it notes on our fridge or mirrors to art in frames to the little piles of rocks our kids have found to put on their shelves.

Each of those little items paints a picture of God’s faithfulness to my family. 

So, here’s a new question – What’s your Ebenezer?

From what could look like a pile of rocks to one person might serve as a powerful reminder of God’s power to save.

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