Gather the Stones, Joshua
Recently, I have been doing a study through the book of Joshua with Good Morning Girls. Not long ago we looked at the Lord commanding Joshua to gather stones from the Jordan to build a memorial. God wanted the future generations to be able to see this and ask questions.
5 And Joshua said to them, “Pass on before the ark of the Lord your God into the midst of the Jordan, and take up each of you a stone upon his shoulder, according to the number of the tribes of the people of Israel, 6 that this may be a sign among you. When your children ask in time to come, ‘What do those stones mean to you?’ 7 then you shall tell them that the waters of the Jordan were cut off before the ark of the covenant of the Lord. When it passed over the Jordan, the waters of the Jordan were cut off. So these stones shall be to the people of Israel a memorial forever.”
The stones were taken from the Jordan so the people could always remember what God had done. The stories would be passed down and the generations would know that God brought them through the river. God did not want the people to forget what He had brought them through. His hand was upon them and His hand would be upon the generations to come.
The stones were a memorial. They were there as a sign to look and remember. Just as we build statues today to commemorate events and people Joshua was to put the stones there to commemorate their crossing.
Isn’t it interesting that God did not command for stones to be set up for when the people rebelled? God did not set up signs for them to remember their shortcomings but His ability to overcome.
The Stones We Gather
As we walk through life we seem to gather two types of stones: commemorative stones and condemning stones.
Every day of our life we walk through things. We have bad experiences and good experiences. There are mountains and there are valleys. Along the way, we gather memories. Some memories are things that we store away as times that God brought us through. Other memories are stored as condemnation. We look at our choices and condemn what we did.
God does not gather stones of condemnation. Think about the woman drug out to the street by the religious leaders. She had sinned and they were ready to stone her to death. They were more than happy to condemn her to death. But what did Jesus do?
He got down, wrote in the dirt, and put the leaders in their place. It was not about what she had done, but what she would do after her encounter with Jesus. The Messiah had stopped the stones of condemnation from killing her and she was given the opportunity to go and gather commemorative stones now. She was no longer bound to the condemnation of others, she had been set free.
Do we gather stones to build memorials or mortuaries?
Are the memories we carrying building up our faith in God? Or are they killing us?
Rocks in the Road
When we choose to remember our downfalls we place rocks in the road of our lives. When rocks are in the road we stop all progress. We cannot move. We are stuck. Rocks prevent us from walking the path of our destiny. Rocks in the road keep us bound by where we have been and not where God wants us to go.
God wants to remove all the rocks from our life. He wants to be the dynamite that completely removes that rock pile of past mistakes and failures.
What if we stopped gathering rocks from our mistakes and started to collect memories of the miracles?
When our children come to us and ask us about our lives will we recall the rocks that blocked us from God? Or will we recall the memorials of all the Jordans God brought us through?
The rocks only stop us if we let them.
We can’t let life be about the memories that condemn. It needs to be about the memories we commemorate and celebrate.
Blow it Up!
Take time this week, today even, to evaluate if you have stones that commemorate or condemn. As you come upon those that condemn ask God to be the dynamite and blow them away. Allow His forgiveness to wash over you. He forgives as soon as you ask now it is time to forgive yourself. Blow those rocks up and begin to gather stones that honor God’s faithfulness. You can even gather physical items to help you remember. Pick up a stone, take a picture, write out a verse, do something that helps you to remember what God has done.
Live the Lovely