While our son and his family were here during the first week in August, in spite of the extremely hot weather, we packed each day with many activities including hiking in the wilderness to a mountain lake, biking, tennis, bocce ball, ping pong, disc golf, and lots of swimming at the creek and building a dam to improve the swimming hole. We were quite exhausted at the end of the week—harder to keep up in our “old age.” But it was great fun and brought back lots of memories of our summers in years gone by when our days were filled with similar family activities, especially our times swimming at the nearby creek and building dams.
This time, each day we were at the creek, we built a little rock monument, ending up with six of them. They were sort of memorial stones to our special times together as a family. I was reminded of when the Israelites miraculously crossed the Jordan River on dry ground when they entered into the Promised Land, a picture of our Lord going through the deep waters of death to make a way for His people to advance victoriously and possess their heavenly possessions in Him. Having accomplished redemption, He takes all His people through death into resurrection life and glory “by a new and living way” (Heb. 10:20). When the nation of Israel had finished crossing the Jordan, God spoke to Joshua and had him select a man from each of the nation’s twelve tribes to go back to the middle of the Jordan and to each pick up a large stone and carry it to their camp where they set up a memorial at what would be called “Gilgal” (Josh. 4:1-10,20). These stones were to be a memorial so that when the generations to come ask, “What do these stones mean?” then they were to relate the story to them of how God stopped the flow of the Jordan when the priests, carrying the ark of the covenant, stepped into the waters (vv. 6,7). God also had Joshua set up 12 stones in the middle of the Jordan (v. 9).
The 12 stones taken “out of” the Jordan and set up at Gilgal speak of redemption for Israel and of victory and conquest. The 12 stones set up in the middle of the Jordan to be overwhelmed by its waters, are mementos of Christ’s death under judgment in our place (cf Psa. 22:1-18; 42:7; 88:7). The 12 stones in the Jordan represent the condemnation from which we have been saved by God’s grace. The 12 stones on the West Bank remind us of our new position as members of God’s family and heirs of heaven.
It can be a profitable thing in our lives to establish some tangible reminders of milestones in our spiritual journey, times when God did some special things in our lives (or family). If others in the future ask, what’s with the ______________ (pile of rocks, etc), then you can share with them how they represent how God was working in your life.
I’m also reminded of whom our Rock is, Jesus Christ. In Moses’ song before the assembly of Israel, He said, “For I proclaim the name of the LORD (Jehovah); ascribe greatness to our God (Elohim)! The Rock! His work is perfect for all His ways are just; a God of faithfulness and without injustice, Righteous and upright is He” (Dt. 32:3,4). In speaking of Israel’s enemies, He sang, “Indeed their rock is not like our Rock” (v. 31). In Hannah’s song of praise for answered prayer for a child, she sang: “My heart exalts in the LORD…There is no one holy like the LORD, indeed, there is no one besides Thee, nor is there any Rock like our God” (I Sam. 2:1,2). In David’s song of praise in response to God’s goodness in delivering him from his enemies and from the vicious King Saul, he sang: “The LORD is my rock and my fortress and my deliverer; my God, my Rock, in whom I take refuge…For who is God, besides the LORD? And who is a Rock, besides our God? God is my strong fortress…” (II Sam. 22:2,3,32,33 cf Psa. 18:31).
Quite obviously our Rock is a reason for singing. David also wrote in Psa. 95:1: “O Come, let us sing for joy to the LORD; Let us shout joyfully to the Rock of our salvation.”
We have thousands of rocks in the landscaping all around our property, many of them reminders of special times hiking in the mountains or swimming at the creek or floating down the South Fork of the Flathead River. We have some that our son and I packed off a ridge high in the wilderness, thinking they were meteorites (still think they are!) and we had some rather exciting moments getting the 150 pounds of “rocks” home. Each time we look at them, we are reminded very vividly of that adventure!
Have you “erected” some “memorial stones” that speak of special moments in your life—especially those when God was doing a special work in and through you? It is important to pass those stories along to the coming generations so they too will realize how God can lead in their lives. But most of all, we need to share with others about “The Rock,” Jesus Christ, our refuge, our shelter, our stronghold.
The Israelites, you will recall, on a couple occasions while wandering in the wilderness, were in desperate need of water and God, through His servant Moses, miraculously provided water out of the rock (Ex. 17:1-9; Nu. 20:8-11; Dt. 8:15). Note what the Apostle Paul wrote concerning that: “For I do not want you to be unaware, brethren, that our fathers were all under the cloud, and all passed through the sea; and all were baptized into Moses in the cloud and in the sea; and all ate the same spiritual food (manna); and all drank the same spiritual drink, for they were drinking from a spiritual rock which followed them, and the rock was Christ” (I Cor. 10:1-4). (That’s a passage for another devotional!) Suffice it to say, that Jesus is “our Rock,” He is our salvation, He is “our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble” (Psa. 46:1).
Are you “anchored” in the Rock? If so, be sure and tell others about Him, and maybe erect some “memorial stones” as a testimony to what He has done in your life.