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« The Middleman | Main | The Law of the Wineskins »

The Meaning of the Stones

“What do these stones mean to you?” Joshua 4:6 

Commemorative objects are worthless unless we consider the meaning behind them.  What is a tree, a stone, a tiny baby, a human brain if we do not know where it came from and what its existence means?  We forget birthdays and anniversaries.  We forget history.  Fullness today erases yesterday’s hunger.  Present health wipes out former pain.  Safety now laughs at yesterday’s danger.  General Joshua did not randomly throw down these stones. He deliberately arranged them to send a message.  Israel must not forget its historic past.  

So, God went to the rocks.  He has a history with the rocks.  Each of us will stand upon the Rock, stumble over the Rock or be crushed by the Rock.  Thus, God instructed Joshua to take stones out of the Jordan River and put them in a circular monument like a tower.  Why?  First, never forget divine miracles.  Remember the Red Sea, water from the rock, manna and more. These weren’t theories, legends or fairy tales.  These were real events and had to be woven into Israel’s history.  Otherwise, they would be stripped of heritage.  Second, God wanted His message to be proclaimed—forever!  “That all the people of the earth might know the hand of the LORD, that it is mighty: that you might fear the LORD your God forever.”  Joshua 4:20-24. Popular wisdom in our culture insists that faith is a private matter.  Shut up about your love for God.  That’s not what my Bible says!  “But you shall … be witnesses of me in Jerusalem and in all Judea, Samaria and to the end of the earth.”  Acts 1:8. Even so, Apostolics have miracles to remember and a message to proclaim.  Let’s look at the stones that stand for monuments to us today: 

  • What means this pulpit?  “Preach the word! Be ready in season and out of season.” 2 Timothy 4:2.  Preacher, stand up, don’t shut up!
  • What means this baptistry? “Arise and be baptized, and wash away your sins, calling on the name of the Lord.” Acts 22:16. It’s the water way!
  • What means this altar? Repent therefore and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out.” Acts 3:19. Confession is good for the soul!
  • What means these offerings? “On the first day of the week … lay something aside, storing up as he may prosper.” 1 Corinthians 16:2
  • What means this prayer room? “Pray for one another …  the effective, fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much.” James 5:16.
  • What means this modest appearance? “Present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God.” Romans 12:1
  • What means this disciplined life? “Your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you … and you are not your own?” 1 Corinthians 6:19.
  • What means this Bible? “All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable …” 2 Timothy 3:16.

A story is told of a “mystery stone” in Larabanga, Ghana.  Whenever road builders moved it, it came back to its original position. Eventually they built the road around it.  This is just a legend.  Monument stones that get moved away will not come back on their own.  We must bring back the stones and preserve them until Jesus comes back for His church!

Do not despise the stones.  Revelation 21:18-21 speaks of the twelve foundation stones of the New Jerusalem.  The stones that appeared worthless, stones that were simply monuments to the past made their way into the Holy City.  Could it be that the doctrines, the practices, miracles, the stories of the past are not just curiosities of a bygone era, but are integral to our present and our future? 

There’s only one way to remember—keep going back to the stones.  Keep telling their stories.  Shake off the dust. Go back to your miracle, your enlightenment, your experience with God.  Be refreshed.  Worship God for the past—and He will do it again!

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