”And the people said to Joshua, ‘We will serve the LORD our God and obey Him. On that day Joshua made a covenant for the people, and there at Shechem he reaffirmed for them decrees and laws. And Joshua recorded these things in the Book of the Law of God. Then he took a large stone and set it up there under the oak near the holy place of the LORD. ‘See!’, he said to all the people. ‘ This stone will be a witness against us.” Joshua 24:24-26
When we look back over the journey the Israelites took out of Egypt to the promised land, we see rocks mentioned several times. Moses struck a rock twice and water came pouring out (see Numbers 20:11). This was a significant moment because God had not told Moses to strike the rock, only to speak to the rock. After all the complaining from the people, it is easy to see why he was frustrated and lashed out. However, the Lord speaks to Moses and Aaron and says, “Because you did not trust in me enough to honor me as holy in the sight of the Israelites, you will not bring this community into the land I give them.” (Numbers 20:12). We see how serious God is about His holiness and our obedience.
Another time the Lord has Joshua choose twelve men to each pick up a stone from the middle of the Jordan River. The same river where the water had literally piled up and allowed them to cross safely (see Joshua 3 and 4). “These stones are to be a memorial to the people of Israel forever.” (4:7). Twelve stones to remember this mighty act that only God could have done. I think I would have been tempted to pick up a small rock and put it in my pocket while I walked through. It is always good to have something to remind us of the faithfulness of God; especially the further we get away from the big moments, it helps to have a visual.
After the children of Israel cross the Jordan and they march around the walls of Jericho. The walls come down and they take the land, just as the Lord told them. There are more events and I highly recommend you read them for yourself in the book of Joshua, but for now I will fast forward to the end of the book. We find another stone of significance. Joshua is speaking to the people and reminds them of all the Lord has brought them through. He gives them this charge, “Now fear the LORD and serve Him with all faithfulness. Throw away the gods your ancestors worshipped beyond the Euphrates River in Egypt, and serve the LORD.” (24:14). The people say they will and a stone is set up to remind them of their promise.
As I looked out my window this morning, I saw again two huge stones across from our home. I see them every morning when the sun finally comes up. We have many pictures of the kids on these rocks. I was thinking I needed to change my morning place so I could see the sunrise like my friend does. However, I am going to stay put because I thought again of God’s faithfulness over the years and know He will remain so for all my days. This made me wonder if during these days of waiting, are we collecting stones? So much good is happening right now. Yes, there is tragedy in all kinds of ways, but there is more going on than gets reported. Check with your local churches and see how many people are now watching services online. See what is happening around your city to help those that need help. There is prayer times going on continually and those who often go unseen, are now hero’s. Families are spending time together and kids are playing outside. Education has been handed back to parents and their is more flexibility to add heart shaping lessons. New skills are being learned at home and siblings are helping each other. There is also more time to rest and reconnect. Perhaps “normal” will be re-evaluated when the doors open again.
So my question is, what stones of remembrance can we be putting into place now to look at when we are out of quarantine? We have gained too much ground to want to go back to the way things were. How will we protect the relationships with the ones around our tables? We must not forget these days where we are very aware of God’s faithfulness. May the Lord draw us so closely to Himself and to those around us, that we smile when our eyes see the stones of remembrance from this time. He has given us this time and we can spend it collecting whatever we decide, but I pray we only bring Him glory during this quarantine.