Sweet Sisters,

In this lesson, I want to talk about memory.

Memory is defined as the process of taking in information from the world around us, processing it, storing it, and later recalling it, sometimes years later.

Two words that are connected to the word memory are; “remember” and “commemorate”.  If I understand these words correctly, to remember is to bring to mind our memories.  To commemorate is to honor a memory.

Memory is a powerful force in our lives.  It plays a huge role in how we interact with the world around us.  The word “remember”, or some form of it is used often in the Bible.  Approximately 255 times.

In this lesson, I want to focus on commemorating memories of the amazing ways God has worked in our lives.

In Psalm 77:11, the psalmist says “I will remember your miracles of long ago.”

I will remember the deeds of the Lord;
    yes, I will remember your miracles of long ago.

He continues in verse 14 to say, “…you are the God who performs miracles”.

You are the God who performs miracles;
    you display your power among the peoples.

My experience in my walk with God has been that there have been countless times that God has performed “signs and wonders” and “miracles” in my life.  I’m sure you have had similar experiences.

When I was a little girl everyone, it seemed, had a coffee table with a large family Bible on it.  Between the pages of this Bible people often placed a memento (souvenir) of something they wanted to remember; a pressed flower wrapped in wax paper from a wedding or a funeral, a birth announcement, or an obituary from the death of a loved one.  These “tokens” of special occasions were almost considered sacred.

What do we do so that we don’t forget the amazing things God has shown up and done in our lives?  The Bible has several examples of ways people chose or were told, to remember great ways God worked in their lives.  

Joshua 4:1 – 9 tells us about one:

When the whole nation had finished crossing the Jordan, the Lord said to Joshua, “Choose twelve men from among the people, one from each tribe, and tell them to take up twelve stones from the middle of the Jordan, from right where the priests are standing, and carry them over with you and put them down at the place where you stay tonight.”

So Joshua called together the twelve men he had appointed from the Israelites, one from each tribe, and said to them, “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.”

So the Israelites did as Joshua commanded them. They took twelve stones from the middle of the Jordan, according to the number of the tribes of the Israelites, as the Lord had told Joshua; and they carried them over with them to their camp, where they put them down. Joshua set up the twelve stones that had been in the middle of the Jordan at the spot where the priests who carried the ark of the covenant had stood. And they are there to this day.

To fully understand what is talked about in chapter four, we have to go back to chapter three.  The Israelites are getting ready to finally cross the Jordan River and enter the “Promised Land.”  God tells them that the priests are to go first with the ark of the covenant.  The challenge is that it is the time of the year that the Jordan River is a “flood stage”.  

Joshua 3:15 – 16 tells us how God handled this challenge:

15 Now the Jordan is at flood stage all during harvest. Yet as soon as the priests who carried the ark reached the Jordan and their feet touched the water’s edge, 16 the water from upstream stopped flowing. It piled up in a heap a great distance away, at a town called Adam in the vicinity of Zarethan, while the water flowing down to the Sea of the Arabah (that is, the Dead Sea) was completely cut off. So the people crossed over opposite Jericho.

Joshua 4:1 – 9 tells us what Joshua did so that the Israelites would not forget this event.

The next example I want to show you is in I Samuel 7.  Israel has assembled at a town called Mizpah so that Samuel can pray to God that He will deliver them from the Philistines.  The Philistines find out that they are there and decide to take advantage of the situation and attack Israel.

Verses 10 – 11 tell us how God handled this:

10 While Samuel was sacrificing the burnt offering, the Philistines drew near to engage Israel in battle. But that day the Lord thundered with loud thunder against the Philistines and threw them into such a panic that they were routed before the Israelites. 11 The men of Israel rushed out of Mizpah and pursued the Philistines, slaughtering them along the way to a point below Beth Kar.

Verse 12 tells us how Samuel responded to God’s intervention:

Then Samuel took a stone and set it up between Mizpah and Shen. He named it Ebenezer, saying, “Thus far the Lord has helped us.”

There is an old hymn written by Robert Robinson in 1758 called, “Come Thou Fount of Every Blessing”.  The third verse (second verse in our book) says:

            Here I raise my Ebenezer;

            Hither by Thy help I’ve come;

            And I hope by Thy good pleasure

            Safely to arrive at home;

            Jesus sought me when a stranger,

            Wandering from the fold of God.

            He to rescue me from danger

            Interposed His precious blood.

Sweet Sisters, I would like to suggest that it would be really beneficial in times of crises if we each had an “Ebenezer” we could look at that would remind us of God’s faithfulness in the past.  It could be something as simple as a stone that we have written the word, “Ebenezer” on that sets on our desk or on the nightstand by our bed.

The last example I want to show you today is found in I Corinthians 11:23 – 24.

23 For I received from the Lord what I also passed on to you: The Lord Jesus, on the night he was betrayed, took bread, 24 and when he had given thanks, he broke it and said, “This is my body, which is for you; do this in remembrance of me.” 

In this passage, Paul is referring to the Lord’s Supper which Jesus instituted in Luke 22:19 – 20, Mark 14:22 – 25, and Matthew 26:26 – 29.  Jesus wanted to make sure we had a way to remember Him and the things He taught us and the sacrifice He made for us.

Memories.  Remember.  Commemorate.

May we never forget the miracles, signs, and wonders God has blessed us with, and may we each find a way to “raise our Ebenezer”.

Debbie ❤