Remember all you have seen the Lord do for your sake:
It is the Lord your God who has fought for you.
It is the Lord who has driven out great and strong nations before you.
It is the Lord who fights for you as he promised you.
Not one word has failed of the good that God has promised you.
The Lord your God has promised you this land. He will drive the nations out of your sight.
The Lord has given you rest from all your enemies.
God took Abraham and led him.
God gave Abraham Isaac.
God gave Isaac Jacob and Esau.
God sent Moses to deliver you from bondage.
God plagued Egypt.
God brought you out of Egypt.
God put darkness between you and Egypt and made the sea come upon them.
God brought you to this land.
God delivered you from the Amorites and the Moabites.
God gave the people of Jericho and the inhabitants of the Promised Land into your hands.
Remember, it was not by your sword or by your bow, but it was the Lord your God who gave you a land, cities you had not built, and vineyards you did not plant.
It is against this backdrop of recounting God’s faithfulness and his promises that Joshua calls the people to choose: “Choose this day whom you will serve.”
“We will serve the Lord, for he is our God” is their reply. Joshua presses them to make sure they feel the full import of what they are promising. The people confirm their desire, “The Lord our God we will serve, and his voice we will obey.”
Their resolve was made strong by the truth of God’s steadfast love for them and his power. Joshua threaded all these reminders into his final instructions to Israel. As his parting act, Joshua filled the people with praise for the Lord their God, who had delivered them, fought for them, and given them rest in the land he had promised.
Praise warms the heart and kindles gratitude and love. Nothing could have better prepared Israel for this recommitment to serve the Lord than this litany of praise. Joshua then took a stone and set it up as a witness, a reminder, of their covenant with God.
Praise is remembering, actively calling to mind, who God is and what he has done. The Lord built into the fabric of Israel a host of reminders. Their feasts, their sacrifices, their worship, their scriptures, and their prophets were all stones of remembrance. Like lights on a runway, these were designed to point the people back to God. Praise has a way of reorienting our heart to its true north.
We are people who need reminding. Jesus tells us to celebrate communion “in remembrance of me.” We need to hear and rehear the good news that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. We also need to remember the story of God’s faithfulness in our own lives—to actively call to mind who God is and what he has done.
What have you seen the Lord your God do? How has he delivered you? How has he fought for you? Where has he brought you? What has he given you? How has God given you rest from your enemies?
Write it down, erect your own stones of remembrance, or tell others the story of God’s faithfulness in your life. Praising God from whom all blessings flow warms our hearts, feeds our faith, and makes us strong to go forth to love and serve the Lord.