And he spake unto the children of Israel, saying, When your children shall ask their fathers in time to come, saying, What mean these stones? Then ye shall let your children know, saying, Israel came over this Jordan on dry land. For the Lord your God dried up the waters of Jordan from before you, until ye were passed over, as the Lord your God did to the Red sea, which he dried up from before us, until we were gone over: That all the people of the earth might know the hand of the Lord, that it is mighty: that ye might fear the Lord your God for ever. – Joshua 4:21-24
Many times in Israel’s history when God did something significant for them, He commanded them to set up some sort of memorial as a testimony to Him. This was important because if we fail to remember, we will forget. Those who walked across the dry ground where the Jordan river was parted would never forget that day. But what about their children? Or their children’s children? It must be passed on. We learn a valuable lesson of failing to do so in Judges 2:10, “And also all that generation were gathered unto their fathers: and there arose another generation after them, which knew not the Lord, nor yet the works which he had done for Israel.” From there, they went on violating God’s commands over and over.
As Thanksgiving has just passed and the Christmas season is in full swing, consider this question: what are some “stones” in your home? What memorials have you laid out for your children to often remember the goodness of God in your life? There are various ways win which we can do this, but the most important thing is that we do this.
Here are some categories of “stones” we might consider setting up for our families:
Everywhere Paul went, he wanted to make sure his salvation testimony was known. Does our family know our testimony? Do we make much of the day we got saved? If we truly believe the significance of salvation, we would make much of it. It was a miracle of miracles!
In 2 Samuel 6, David gathered his men to retrieve the ark of God that had been returned by the Philistines. They placed it on a cart instead of on the priests shoulders and subsequently the cart became unstable. A man named Uzzah tried to stabilize it and when his hand touched the ark, he died. David was upset so they left the ark at a nearby house belonging to Obededom. In the three months that it remained at Obededom’s house, God greatly blessed his entire household. That was the day God came into their home. After three months David went to retrieve the ark a second time and successfully got it to Jerusalem. As they begin setting up the tabernacle, Obededom and his sons are mentioned several times for the service of the Lord. Why were they there? They weren’t from Jerusalem.
I believe God’s presence in their home so changed the family of Obededom and they wanted to be where God was. He made much of the story with his sons. Some of them served in the tabernacle, and some became mighty warriors for God. All because of the day when God came into their lives. The memorial of salvation is foundational in our families’ spiritual growth.
In our home, we love to point out to our children all the things that God has given us. There have been times when we had very little and we were praying real needs. One time in particular we were short our rent by about $500. An envelope showed up with no return address with five 100 dollar bills in it. I will never for get that. This and many other stories like it that we have experience are memorial “stones” in our family that remind us of God’s faithfulness and provision in our lives.
In 2 Samuel 9, there was a man named Mephibosheth, Jonathan’s son, from Saul’s family. Typically when a kingdom would go from the rule of one family to a new one, anyone left from the family of old reign would be put to death or exiled to avoid a rebellion and an attempt to overthrow the new king. David loved Jonathan and one day was desiring to do something good because of him. He had asked if there were any survivors from Jonathan’s family when he learned of Mephibosheth. He was a cripple, living in the middle of no-where, with the possibility of being killed if he was found alive. One day, the king sent for him. Instead of being put to death, he was invited to eat at the kings table. He was given Saul’s land and servants to work the land. He went from having nothing and deserving death to royalty and treated as one of the king’s own sons. What a story to pass down to his children!
I have been young, and now am old; yet have I not seen the righteous forsaken, nor his seed begging bread. – Psalm 37:25
David was called “a man after God’s own heart.” He witnessed God do many miraculous things in his life. When in the field with his father’s sheep, he wrestled a lion and a bear. Later, he killed a giant. I can just see David rehearsing these stories before his children as he taught them that victory is the Lord’s. In our own lives, what a powerful thing it is to testify as God brings victories. Whether it be conquering addictive sins, building character in us, or numerous other things that, as we submit to God, He brings the victory. Speak often of these “stones.” Past victories can develop present confidence in our God.
I will lift up mine eyes unto the hills, from whence cometh my help.- Psalm 121:1
Stones of God’s Faithfulness in Trials
By the time we get to Genesis 41, Joseph had been betrayed by his brothers, sold into slavery, falsely accused, imprisoned, then finally elevated to ruler in Egypt, second only to Pharaoh. He takes a wife and they have two sons. In verse 51-52, He names their sons as a testimony of God’s work amidst his trials. “And Joseph called the name of the firstborn Manasseh: For God, said he, hath made me forget all my toil, and all my father’s house. And the name of the second called he Ephraim: For God hath caused me to be fruitful in the land of my affliction.” Their names were a daily reminder of God’s faithfulness in trials.
Joseph later points out in chapter 50:18-21 how that his brothers meant these things for evil, but God meant them for good to save many people, and to provide for them.
And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose. For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son… – Romans 8:28-29a
Stones of Learning to Walk With God
And they compel one Simon a Cyrenian, who passed by, coming out of the country, the father of Alexander and Rufus, to bear his cross. – Mark 15:21
A man named Alexander had a literal lesson in carrying Christ’s cross. Jesus was one His way to Golgatha where He would be crucified. Along the way a man was compelled to carry Jesus’ cross for Him. What an encounter! Jesus calls us to carry our cross; to identify with the Saviour and walk with Him. I imagine he told the story often to his sons, Rufus and Alexander. In fact, many years later we see Rufus and his mother mentioned in Romans 16:13. Apparently his sons continued following the Lord. How did that happen? It was a “stone” in their family.
The list could go one. The point is, we should make much of God in our homes. Share testimonies, elevate God’s goodness, and cultivate hearts of gratitude. We should develop habits of intentionally looking for God’s blessings, they are all around us.
Blessed be the Lord, who daily loadeth us with benefits, even the God of our salvation. Selah. – Psalm 68:19