Tuesday, February 26, 2013

God's Messages in Stone #1.

The Sign of the Stones

My Grandchildren went to a gemstone exhibition and display and went home stone enthusiasts. Now they looked at every pebble with a new interest.  Maybe the next rock they kick will turn out to be a precious gem.

After talking with them, or rather listening, I thought about various mentions of stones in Scripture.  It turns out that God is keen on lapidary also. The word comes from the Latin ‘lapidarius’ meaning working with stone.  Our Lord has used stone to tell His dealings with His people in history. This was especially true  before the advent of paper. It was also more durable.

Monuments such as Stonehenge in England are still speaking. The trouble is as yet experts are unsure as to what is being said. This isn’t true with God’s stones. Their meanings have also been recorded on parchment and paper so that we may ponder their words.

Joshua led the fledgling nation of Israel across the Jordan river. He then had one representative from each of the tribes collect a stone from the river. These twelve stones were to become two types of silent witnessing and reminders to all people. Were they arranged in a circle or a cairn or other pattern is not mentioned. Did they have some writing on them? Probably!

The book of Joshua says these stones were a ‘sign and a memorial’ of God fulfilling His promise. As the nation in coming months faced opposition, frustration, failure and victory these stones stood as a reminder of God’s faithfulness and power. They would be sources of encouragement in the tough times and reminders to praise God for the good times. These stones also were a witness to the surrounding nations of the Sovereignty of the Eternal God.

Centuries have come and gone. The dust of history has covered the original stones but their message lives on in God’s Word.  Their significance for us today is to point us to the fact that God keeps His word. There is one stone which highlights this more than anything else. It has been rejected and defaced but it cannot be destroyed. This ‘stone’ has become the Bible’s metaphor for Jesus the Christ.

In coming weeks we will consider this ‘Stone’ and its implications for us. We will also discover that by the mercy of the Father, Christ’s followers have become ‘chips off the block’ and are called ‘living stones.’

So I hope you will come along with me and read ‘The Messages in the Stone.’

Ray (a pebble being polished) Hawkins

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