Recently, I had the opportunity to go to Paint Rock, TX. Not familiar with Paint Rock, TX? That’s probably because it is a small West Texas town with a population of 350. It is the county seat of Concho County and has a pretty cool old court house to prove it. But the town’s claim to fame, and the reason I visited, is that two miles northwest of the town on Fred and Kay Campbell’s ranch is a limestone cliff with over 1500 Indian pictographs.
When I visited, we walked along the seventy-foot high cliff for about a half mile as Kay explained the symbolism of the pictographs. According to her, these pictographs were drawn by nomadic Indians who came regularly to this area because of the protection of the limestone wall and because of the spring fed river that could be counted on even in the worst drought. They were fascinating; there were hand prints, animals, and even a picture of a Spanish mission.
As we admired these 1,000 year old pictographs I couldn’t help but wonder why the Indians drew them. Was it for fun or to pass the time? Was it a creative outlet? Or was it a way to pass information and history to other nomadic Indians who would be coming through later?
I was reminded of when Joshua led the Israelites across the Jordan River and the Lord commanded him to place 12 stones as a memorial so that future generations could remember what the LORD had done and “so that all the peoples of the earth may know that the hand of the LORD is mighty, that you may fear the LORD your God forever” [Joshua 4:24].We are a forgetful people. We need reminders. Most of us have modern pictographs around our houses in frames to remind us of weddings, travels, and important relationships. But what do we have in place to remind us of God’s work in our lives? What do we have to remind us of how mighty and good He is? What do we have to remind us of what He has done in our lives? What do we have to remind us of what is important to Him?
Scripture often speaks of remembrance:
Then Moses said to the people, “Remember this day in which you came out from Egypt, out of the house of slavery, for by a strong hand the LORD brought you out from this place. [Exodus 13:3]
And it shall be a tassel for you to look at and remember all the commandments of the LORD, to do them, not to follow after your own heart and your own eyes, which you are inclined to whore after. So you shall remember and do all my commandments, and be holy to your God. [Numbers 15:39, 40] And you shall remember the whole way that the LORD your God has led you these forty years in the wilderness, that he might humble you, testing you to know what was in your heart, whether you would keep his commandments or not. [Deuteronomy 8:2]
Remember the wondrous works that he has done, his miracles and the judgments he uttered…Remember his covenant forever, the word that he commanded, for a thousand generations. [1 Chronicles 16: 12, 15]
And I looked and arose and said to the nobles and to the officials and to the rest of the people, “Do not be afraid of them. Remember the Lord, who is great and awesome, and fight for your brothers, your sons, your daughters, your wives, and your homes.” [Nehemiah 4:14]
In all things I have shown you that by working hard in this way we must help the weak and remember the words of the Lord Jesus, how he himself said, “It is more blessed to give than to receive.” [Acts 20:35]
Therefore remember that at one time you Gentiles in the flesh, called “the uncircumcision” by what is called the circumcision, which is made in the flesh by hands–remember that you were at that time separated from Christ, alienated from the commonwealth of Israel and strangers to the covenants of promise, having no hope and without God in the world. [Ephesians 2:11-12]
But what is even better than what we are commanded to remember, is what God promises NOT to remember:
I, I am he who blots out your transgressions for my own sake, and I will not remember your sins. [Isaiah 43:25]