Memory Markers in Genesis

Sadly Memorial Day has become just another day devoted to the pursuit of personal entertainment and the maximization of our own pleasure and leisure time.  It has largely lost its significance.  I wonder if most Americans could even distinguish between the purpose for Memorial Day vs. Veterans Day?  Memorial Day is a day of remembering the men and women who died while serving to protect our country and our freedoms, while Veterans Day celebrates the service of all U.S. military veterans.  Do we even care that people sacrificed their lives so that we could enjoy our way of life?

The Lord who created us understands that we are a forgetful people.

Only give heed to yourself and keep your soul diligently, lest you forget the things which your eyes have seen, and lest they depart from your heart all the days of your life; but make them known to your sons and your grandsons”. (Deut. 4:9)

Beware lest you forget the LORD your God by not keeping His commandments and His ordinances and His statutes which I am commanding you today; 12 lest, when you have eaten and are satisfied, and have built good houses and lived in them, 13 and when your herds and your flocks multiply, and your silver and gold multiply, and all that you have multiplies, 14 then your heart becomes proud, and you forget the LORD your God who brought you out from the land of Egypt, out of the house of slavery.” (Deut. 8:11-14)

Bless the LORD, O my soul, And forget none of His benefits; Who pardons all your iniquities; Who heals all your diseases; 4 Who redeems your life from the pit; Who crowns you with lovingkindness and compassion; 5 Who satisfies your years with good things, So that your youth is renewed like the eagle.” (Ps. 103:2-5)

The Lord understands that we need repetition in order to remember.  We also need visible Memory Markers along life’s journey as concrete reminders of important lessons that He has taught us.  Hopefully you have created some of these Memory Markers in your own home with your own children.  What events have been especially significant in your experience.

For us, I can think of the plaque on the wall that commemorates the Lord enabling us to purchase our home by turning the heart of the seller towards us to give us favorable terms.

The king’s heart is like channels of water in the hand of the LORD; He turns it wherever He wishes.” (Prov. 21:1)

Or the plaque on the wall in my study above my computer that reminds me of the Lord’s faithfulness when I was looking for work after being booted out the door by Alban Cat.

Offer to God a sacrifice of thanksgiving, and pay your vows to the Most High; And call upon Me in the day of trouble; I shall rescue you, and you will honor Me.”  (Ps. 50:14-15)

Right from the beginning of Creation, the Lord used this technique of establishing Memory Markers to reinforce important life lessons.  Katie had asked for us to study through Genesis – so we will do that very rapidly this morning as we think of Memorial Day tomorrow.


11 Key Memory Markers in Genesis

1) Genesis 1:14-19

Description: God established the lights to rule the day and the night

Location: in the heavens for all the world to see

Name: Lights — sun (the greater light), moon and stars (lesser lights)

Lesson: God provides light and rules over the darkness by virtue of Creation; there is a marked difference between light and darkness – huge separation – you                   can’t mix them up or comingle them – Sovereignty and Dominion

2 Cor. 6:14  “what fellowship has light with darkness

MacArthur:  For 3 days there had been light … God could have left it that way, but did not.  He created the “lights, sun, moon, and stars,” not for light, but to serve as markers for signs, seasons, days, and years.  Signs – certainly to include 1) weather  2) testimony to God  3) divine judgment  4) navigation ….

God starts off with a memory marker that we see all of the time – either by day or by night

Important that we hold to a literal Creation – don’t undermine God’s life lessons by humanistic errors like the theory of evolution

2) Genesis 9:12-17

Description: God set a rainbow in the sky

Location: in the sky in the clouds after a rainstorm

Name: Rainbow

Lesson: Noahic Covenant – God will never again destroy the earth with global flood; mercy and love and faithfulness of God

gay agenda has perverted that memory marker —  They essentially stole it and have redefined it —  In 1978, San Francisco artist Gilbert Baker designed what is believed to be the first modern gay pride flag by combining eight stripes, each a different color with its own symbolism: pink for sex, red for life, orange for healing, yellow for sunlight, green for nature, blue for art, indigo for harmony, and violet for the human spirit. When he wanted to manufacture the flag for sale, he found that hot pink wasn’t as available as the other colors, and so the flag dropped to seven colors. Baker later dropped indigo to maintain an even number, and the flag arrived at its contemporary six colors.

What a visible reminder of what God spoke of in Romans 1 – where depraved humanity substitutes the glory of the incorruptible God for an image in the form of corruptible man

God still wants us to think of His faithfulness when we see a beautiful rainbow in the sky

3) Genesis 11:1-9      

Description:  Tower of Babel / Confusion of languages / diverse nations around the world

Location:  City of Babel

Name:   Babel / Languages

Lesson:  God frustrates the pride of men who seek to make a name for themselves and reject the true worship and obedience that God requires

4) Genesis 15:5

Description:  Number of the stars and the sands of the seashore

Location: in the sky and on the seacoast

Name: stars and sands

Lesson: God will abundantly multiply and bless the offspring of Abraham – Covenant Blessing

God never goes back on His promises

Even when it seems that the fulfillment is impossible, we are still to live in hope of the certain fulfillment

Speaks to us about certainty of future blessings

What comes to your mind during beach vacations?

5) Genesis 17:9-14; 23-27

Description: Circumcision

Location:  flesh of male foreskin

Name:  Circumcision

Lesson:  Abrahamic Covenant – separation from the world and faithfulness to God

Jews make an elaborate public ceremony over this Memory Marker

6) Genesis 19:23-26

Description: Sodom and Gomorrah / Lot’s wife = reduced to pillar of salt

Location: Sodom and Gomorrah

Name: Sodom and Gomorrah

Lesson: Wrath of God poured out in fire and brimstone reducing those cities to ashes and total destruction for their debauchery

7) Genesis 21:22-34; cf. chap. 26

Description:  Abraham planted a tamarisk tree (firm and durable wood – like cypress tree)

Location:  Beersheba (45 miles SW of Jerusalem)

Name:  Covenant with Abimelech; “the well of the oath” / “the well of seven” ewe lamb (same root in Hebrew for swearing and seven)

Lesson:  Fruitfulness and Prosperity from the hand of the Everlasting God — Mutual  sharing of limited water resources with foreign national powers; there                        “Abraham called the name of the Lord, the Everlasting God

Theophanies occurred there to Hagar (Genesis 21:17), to Isaac (Ge 26:24), to Jacob (Genesis 46:2), and to Elijah (1 Kings 19:5).

8) Genesis 22:14

Description:  Altar of sacrifice where God provided a ram in the place of Isaac

Location: mountain in land of Moriah = “the mount of the Lord

Name:  “The Lord will Provide

Lesson:  “in the mount of the Lord it will be provided

9) Genesis 23; 25:7-11          

Description:  Burial of Sarah and Abraham

Location:  Cave in Ephron’s field in Machpelah which faced Mamre (that is Hebron) in the land of Canaan

Name: Burial site

Lesson:  Respect for the dead and the memory of their life

10) Genesis 28:10ff  

Description: Jacob’s dream – Covenant renewed with Jacob; “took the stone that he had put under his head and set it up as a pillar and poured oil on its top

Location: Bethel (previously Luz)

Name: Bethel = “house of God

Lesson: meeting in the presence of God who will provide for all his needs; pledged to tithe in response to God’s faithful provision

11) Genesis 31:43-55

Description:  Covenant of Mizpah; took stones and made a heap – covenant between Laban and Jacob; ate a fellowship meal there

Location:  Mizpah (watchtower)

Name:  Galeed = “heap of witnesses

Lesson: They would do no harm to one another


If you are like me, you are surprised to see how often God used this memory device of establishing visible memorials to mark significant events and important lessons.  We just looked at the book of Genesis.  It would be informative to track this thread throughout all of Scripture.  For Christians today – the 2 most significant Memory Markers remain the Cross and the Empty Tomb – the crucifixion and resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ.

It tells me that we need to be more intentional within our own families in how we reinforce our significant memories.  Maybe you like to journal; maybe you create scrapbooks; maybe you hang plaques on the wall as I like to do; there are many techniques to use.  But we do not want to forget the lessons God has taught us.  Certainly as we celebrate Memorial Day tomorrow as a country, let’s not lose sight of its significance.  A country without memorials quickly becomes a country without a future.