Now two sons were born to Joseph before the years of famine came, whom Asenath, the daughter of Potiphera, priest of On, bore to him. Joseph named the firstborn Manasseh (causing to forget), for he said, “God has made me forget all my trouble and hardship and all [the sorrow of the loss of] my father’s household.” He named the second [son] Ephraim (fruitfulness), for “God has caused me to be fruitful and very successful in the land of my suffering.” Genesis 41:50:52 (AMP)
A memorial is a memory, so precious that one has a physical representation of it in order to daily remind him of the contents of the memory. A testimony, on the other hand, is a written or spoken record of anything that God has done. An excellent example of a testimony is the bible, every part of it becomes our family history the moment one is born again.
Memorials and testimonies, serve to strengthen or encourage us in the Lord as they remind us of His nature and His goodness. They create an expectancy to witness God’s goodness in our lives occurring again. A gratitude journal would serve well as testiment of God’s goodness in our daily live, keeping such journals strengthens our faith in the Lord.
From today’s devotion, we see Joseph setting up memorials through the names he gave to his sons. Joseph named his firstborn son the name, Manasseh which means that God has made me forget all my trouble and hardship and all the sorrow of the loss of my father’s household. He also went ahead and named his second son Ephraim which meant God has caused me to be fruitful and very successful in the land of my suffering. These names would forever remind him of the nature of God and what He did for him in Egypt. These memorials would also build up his faith in God to expect even more miracles, be it a physical manifestation or healing an emotional wound. Remember with just a little faith one can move mountains.
The Hebrew root word for “testimony” means “do again.” Every record of what God has done in generations past is a promise of what He will do it again in our lives, because He is the same yesterday, today and forever, and He is no respecter of persons (see Heb. 13:8; Acts 10:34).
Testimonies are so important that God put specific instruction in the Law of Moses for the Israelites to rehearse the testimony on a daily basis and teach it to their children. This is so that they can set their hope in God (See Psalm 78: 5-7).
Therefore, you shall impress these words of mine on your heart and on your soul, and tie them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be as bands (frontals, frontlets) on your forehead. You shall teach them [diligently] to your children [impressing God’s precepts on their minds and penetrating their hearts with His truths], speaking of them when you sit in your house and when you walk along the road and when you lie down and when you rise up.You shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates, so that your days and the days of your children may be multiplied in the land which the Lord swore to your fathers to give them, as long as the heavens are above the earth. ~Deuteronomy 11:18-21 (AMP)
So what happens when on abandons keeping the testimony and memorials, let’s see this-Take, for example, the sons of Ephraim.
Though they were all equipped warriors, each with weapons, when the battle began they retreated and ran away in fear. They didn’t really believe the promises of God; they refused to trust him and move forward in faith. They forgot his wonderful works and the miracles of the past, even their exodus from Egypt, the epic miracle of his might. They forgot the glories of his power at the place of passing over. Psalm 78:9-12 (TPT)
This is one of the saddest scriptures in the bible. At first we see the father of Ephraim, Joseph, kept the testimony, infact, the name Ephraim was a memorial of God causing him to be fruitful and very successful in the land of Egypt where he suffered so much. Every time he called Ephraim, for supper or while playing with him, Joseph was reminded of the goodness of God in the land of his suffering.
Later on, we see the descendants of Ephraim, which is the biggest irony, because the foundation of their name was a memorial of God’s goodness and grace to their father, Joseph. The Ephraimites refused to trust God, they did not keep His testimonies, as a result, they forgot His wonderful works, the miracles of the past and the glories of God’s power. So despite the fact that they were experienced warriors, equipped with weapons, they were full of fear, so they retreated and ran away in fear. They lacked a faith in God.
This is a direct contrast with the scenario of David and goliath story, (see I Samuel 17). The Ephraimites ignored God’s testimonies and forgot all about them, while David, he treasured the testimonies of God, he even wrote in Psalm 119:111(AMP) –
I have taken Your testimonies as a heritage forever, For they are the joy of my heart.
The Ephraimites were an army of seasoned warriors equipped with the latest weapons while David was alone, he was not even a warrior, he was a young boy. He had no weapons of war, infact King Saul offered him his armor, and he declined it and opted instead for five smooth stones out of the stream bed because he was familiar using it.
Then Saul dressed David in his garments and put a bronze helmet on his head, and put a coat of mail (armor) on him. Then David fastened his sword over his armor and tried to walk, [but he could not,] because he was not used to them. And David said to Saul, “I cannot go with these, because I am not used to them.” So David took them off. Then he took his [shepherd’s] staff in his hand and chose for himself five smooth stones out of the stream bed, and put them in his shepherd’s bag which he had, that is, in his shepherd’s pouch. I Samuel 17: 38- 40 (AMP)
David fought the giant goliath and conquered while the Ephraimites retreated in fear, they didn’t attempt to fight, they lost because of their lack of faith.
• Setting up memorials of God’s works and keeping the testimonies of God’s goodness and glorious power builds our faith in Him, and it creates an expectation for a manifestation of His miracles everyday.
• An inexperienced man in battle with faith in God, is better than an experienced army with armed men without faith in God.
• Faith in God, is the difference between successfully possessing God’s promise for our lives and living in fear and mediocrity