As we head into the new year, we understandably place our focus on the new year, and the things that will come during it. But there is a lot to be gained by pausing for a moment or two, and look back at what God has done for us way back in 2019.
Then Joshua set up in Gilgal the twelve stones they had taken from the Jordan, and he said to the Israelites, “In the future, when your children ask their fathers, ‘What is the meaning of these stones?’ you should tell your children, ‘Israel crossed the Jordan on dry ground.’ – Joshua 4:20-22 (CSB)
When the Israelites crossed the Jordon, it was a significant hurdle that God helped them cross, a hurdle that was far larger than the river, as flooded with the seasonal run-off as it was. They had been “wondering” in the desert for 40 years (I put wondering in quotes, because they were being led by God, so they weren’t randomly drifting from place to place, lost, but still, it was a long time to ‘wander” around). They had transitioned from a huddled mass of former slaves into a strong nation of God’s Chosen People. God had delivered them from slavery, and now they were finally in the land that God promised them many decades before.
They were to erect an “ebenezer, a reminder, a monument to a significant event in our past, in order to remember what God did for them. We still do that today. I remember a field trip I took as a kid from Maine down to see the Plymouth Rock, where the Pilgrims carved the year of their arrival. I’ve seen Mount rushmore, a monument to important presidents in our nation’s history. Even the horses above Vantage, Washington are a monument to wilder times in our own state’s history.
In today’s fast-passed world, it is all to easy to forget our own personal past. Taking a moment or two to remember what God has done for us is an important task that Joshua’s example reminds us of. In Joshua’s day, the rock pile would remind them that God answered his promise to them. In times of hardship, they could look back at the rocks, and take comfort. God helped them then, he will help them through what they were going through.
its like that today, too. By taking time to look back, and remembering what God did for us, we can garnish encouragement. If we write it down, than that log can be our Ebenezer: By recording our needs and prayers, and then the answers to those prayers, we can build a monument to God’s mercy and grace in our own lives. Then, when WE are beset by a trial or rough spot, we can look at our evenezer and gain the same encouragement they would get from the rock pile.
Certainly, we should look forward to what God has in store for us in 2020, but let’s take a moment or two to remember – and record – what he did for us in 2019.