Why Us Fathers Need To Create Memorials
by Charlie Matz
I’m 37 years old. I’m not “old” but I’m not “young” anymore. I’m at least old enough to have experienced God’s provision for a long (enough) period of time. I’ve seen Him provide in every category. That’s amazing when I stop to think about it. And if it’s true, then how could I ever doubt? How could I be “of little faith” regardless of what happens day-to-day? It’s because I’m prone to forget.
In Joshua 4:1-3 it says:
“When all the nation had finished passing over the Jordan, the Lord said to Joshua, “Take twelve men from the people, from each tribe a man, and command them, saying, ‘Take twelve stones from here out of the midst of the Jordan, from the very place where the priests' feet stood firmly, and bring them over with you and lay them down in the place where you lodge tonight.’”
Then Joshua goes on to relay this message to his men, one from each tribe. He commands them saying:
“When your children ask in time to come, ‘What do those stones mean to you?’ then you shall tell them that the waters of the Jordan were cut off before the ark of the covenant of the Lord. When it passed over the Jordan, the waters of the Jordan were cut off. So these stones shall be to the people of Israel a memorial forever.” (vv.6b-7)
Two things stood out to me when reading this passage.
One is that the priests' feet stood “firmly” on these rocks.
The very rocks that were to be used in the memorial were the rocks that the priests' feet stood firmly on while carrying the ark. These rocks, hundreds of years later, would still be the rocks that the ark was carried over… firmly. God’s faithfulness is on full display, tying the future Israelite generations back to a very real miracle that God provided. God gets the glory, not the priests. A high view of God is a must to remember correctly, lest we think WE “crossed the Jordan” on our own.
The second thing that stood out is that this is a “memorial forever”.
A memorial anything short of forever will be forgotten by sinful humans. We have a tendency to drown out our memories of God’s faithfulness through the loud sound of our own flesh crying out for attention. We want to be the hero of the story. We want to be David because David is cool and strong and a man after God’s own heart. But we are not cool and we’re not strong and we don’t seek after God’s heart (Romans 3), not on our own at least and only through Christ who calls us to Him through His strength and mercy. A high view of God is a must to lead our family.
So Father’s, let us be the kind of men who constantly call out what God has done despite our weakness. Let us create memorials around our homes and in our family traditions that document the real miraculous grace and faithfulness that HE has provided. Let us make these memorials to last a lifetime, lest we forget and think we did something on our own. This will teach our children that God is faithful and He is good and His commandments are worth pursuing. Let us make memorials that are founded on the real telling of what happened.
My prayer is that my children’s children can look back, generations from now, citing the legend of the one true living God who provided everything for us Matz’s. If we do have a family “legacy”, I pray that it is one that quickly points back to Jesus Christ. He's our legacy. He is our past, present, and future.
The truest litmus test is this: what will grandchildren talk about when they remember what I was about? My prayer is that they remember God’s faithfulness. When they tell stories about great-grandpa Charlie, they tell stories of the Lord’s faithfulness.
Let’s create memorials in our homes. Founded on God’s firm provision, displayed until Christ comes back for His church.