Josh 4:5-7, 23-24 "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"...Joshua said to the Israelites, "For the Lord your God dried up the Jordan before you until you had crossed over. The Lord your God did to the Jordan just what he had done to the Red Sea when he dried it up before us until we had crossed over. He did this so that all the peoples of the earth might know that the hand of the Lord is powerful and so that you might always fear the Lord your God."
Our God is the God of memorials - He wants us to remember what He has done so that our faith is based on historical fact, not mere fantasy. The faith of future generations of Israelites is to be founded on solid rocks - twelve to be exact--and not on shifting sands. Faith is not make-belief but trust that grows out of historical evidence of God's faithfulness in the past. The twelve stones serve as a "sign among you" for the future generations, to remind them of God's power and presence among them: "These stones are to be a memorial to the people of Israel forever." But they are not meant to create nostalgia of the "good old days", a celebration of past traditions but rather they are to serve as stepping stones into our present and future walk with God: "He did this so that all the peoples of the earth might know that the hand of the Lord is powerful and so that you might always fear the Lord your God."
And of course, for the Church, God has also instituted memorials to His faithfulness by leaving behind the Scripture and the Lord's Supper as constant reminders to us of His love and power, not only to Israel and the Church, but to all who would put their faith in Jesus Christ our Saviour. Our faith in God is therefore founded on the solid rock of the Word of God (Scripture) and the Work of the Cross (Lord's Supper) that we might know that He is the Lord of heaven and earth and that we might always love and fear Him.
Father, thank You that You have not only done great things in the past on behalf of Israel and the Church, but You have left behind memorials to remind us of Your faithfulness to Your children. Even as we read Your Scripture daily and partake in the Lord's Supper regularly, may our love and fear of You grow stronger every day. Amen.