Then Joshua called the twelve men whom he had appointed from the children of Israel, one man from each tribe; and Joshua said to them: “Cross over before the ark of the Lord your God into the midst of the Jordan, and each one of you take up a stone on his shoulder, according to the number of the tribes of the children of Israel, that this may be a sign among you when your children ask in time to come, saying, ‘What do these stones mean to you?’ Then you shall answer them that the waters of the Jordan were cut off before the ark of the covenant of the Lord; when it crossed over the Jordan, the waters of the Jordan were cut off. And these stones shall be for a memorial to the children of Israel forever.” (Joshua 4:4-7)
When our grandson was an infant, he began making some overnight visits to our house. He slept in a pack and play. When he got older, we purchased a good crib for him. It has a nice wood finish and converts into a bed so it should be around for a while. It fits well in the spare room, and our little house-guest liked it just fine. One day I noticed several scratch marks on the top of the railing. The child was too small to make them. I tracked down the likely culprit – the wife. “You scratched the crib; look right here.” She didn’t deny the possibility of being the guilty party, although she also did not recall making those marks. Not long after that, she discovered the mark, maker. A particular little boy was pulling himself to a standing position and gnawing on the crib railings.
“Ahh, that is so cute, look at his little teeth marks.” I gushed.
“Hey, what a minute,” the wife said, “When you thought it was me, I was in all kind of trouble. But, now, it’s “cute”?!
“Well, yeah, because I just figured you had been careless and damaged new furniture. But, these are memory marks. Whenever we see them, it will remind us of this precious little child.”
“Uh huh.” she responded.
I’m sure lots of us have memory marks in our lives. Perhaps pencil marks on a wall somewhere give testimony to children’s growing times. A heart and arrow carved in a favorite tree. A card from that special loved one who is no longer here. Maybe even a scar on a forehead or chin. These give their intimate witness to the unique experiences of each of our lives.
Most are familiar with Jacob’s ladder. Jacob laid down in Haran for the night and saw the angels of God ascending and descending between heaven and earth. God then spoke to him there. The next morning Jacob took the stone he had used as a pillow and set it up as a pillar, “and he called the name of that place Bethel.” (Genesis 28:10-22)
Other times in scripture we see the use of memory marks also. Such as in our opening verses when the Israelites put twelve stones in the Jordan. And the Lord Jesus, on the night of His betrayal, made the ordinary things of bread and wine into memorials as well.
Do we have memory markers in our lives that speak to others about the things of God? Marks that people can point to and inquire of us the meaning and significance of such. Marks that we can point to and use as a testimony to the faithfulness, the kindness, the love, the mercy, the grace and the goodness of God. I hope we all do. No other marks witness to these things like the ultimate memory marks. “Then He [Jesus] said to Thomas [us], “Reach your finger here, and look at My hands; and reach your hand here, and put it into My side. Do not be unbelieving, but believing.” (John 20:27)