Thursday, September 1, 2016

Permanent markers

We use permanent markers to tag those things that are important to us and that we want to keep, such as our kid's clothes, Tupperware, CDs, and the like. Throughout the Bible are scattered dozens of permanent markers of a different type, and, as a nation, we even observe many permanent markers.

Throughout the Bible there are exhortations to recall and celebrate all the things that God has done, and to tell others about His acts.

Following the second time water was parted for  people of Israel to cross (Joshua 4:1-9), God instructed Joshua to pile stones in the middle of the river Jordan and in the middle of their camp: “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.”

Why the stones?

They served as a physical, permanent marker of God’s specific, caring, personal, miraculous intervention in their lives.

Monday is Labor Day. It’s a day that honors the contributions workers have made to the strength and prosperity of our country. It is a permanent marker of a special, meaningful event.

We are on the cusp of the “holiday season” when a string of such public markers will be observed from now through the christening of a new year.

Why do we put so much stead on these special days? Because they mean so much to us. Each of us have special memories and  fond emotions attached to most public holidays. The same is especially true for private holidays such as births, weddings, and first days of school.

When, on Thanksgiving, we recall the strength and suffering of the Pilgrims in their quest for religious freedom or are simply thankful for God’s life-giving blessings, we are inspired and humbled.

When, on Christmas, we recall what it must have been like for God to become man, we are filled with awe.

When, on our child's birthday, we recall what it was like to watch them be born, we are humbled in our roles as parents and proud of their growth and accomplishments.

When things are tough, we recall how God has brought us through previous tough times, or provided for needs, or brought healing, or sent someone to stand with us, we are encouraged, lifted up, and driven to worship Him all at the same time.

Spiritual permanent markers, such as Joshua’s stones, are evidences God has given us His love and care and involvement in our lives. They are opportunities to acknowledge our dependence on Him as well as to be thankful for His unfailing love and provision.

Daily, we should recount and recall all that the Lord has done for us and look with expectation and awe for what He is about to do!

“And these [permanent markers] that I command you today shall be on your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise. You shall bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be as frontlets between your eyes”  (Deuteronomy 6:6-8, ESV).

What are some permanent marker events in your life? Or how has God permanently marked you so that it is clear that you are His? Please share your experiences, insights, and thoughts in the comments.

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