When the Lord cut off the waters of the Jordan and led the children of Israel unto the land of promise, Joshua told the men to take “a stone upon his shoulder, according unto the number of tribes of Israel.” The purpose was that the placement of the stones “might be a sign among you, that when your children ask their fathers in time to come, saying, what mean ye by these stones?” The stones would be a testimony “that the waters of Jordan were cut off before the ark of the covenant of the Lord; when it passed over Jordan, the waters of Jordan were cut off: and these stones shall be for a memorial unto the children of Israel forever” (Joshua 4:5-7).
The believer has times in his life when the Lord “has cut off the waters of Jordan” and stones of memorial need to be placed. These memorial stones are not only a testimony for our children and grandchildren, but also serve as a reminder unto ourselves of God’s presence, deliverance, and faithfulness in a specific time of need.
Stones of the Impact of God’s Word on Our Life
Our children and our grandchildren need a memorial of how we treasured the Word of God. The Word was more than a decoration on our coffee table or an idol for traveler’s mercy in our vehicle when we went on vacation. The Word of God was indeed a “light unto our path.” We did not personally live through the stories contained in the Word, but the stones of our memorial testify that their promises therefrom were effectual for our lives. Psalm 66 was written hundreds of years after both the passage over the Red Sea and the Jordan River. God’s hand of deliverance was yet still a testimony for praise for the Psalmist. He wrote in verses five and six, “come and see the works of God: he is [awesome] in his doing toward the children of men. He turned the sea into dry land: they went through the flood on foot: there did we rejoice in him.”
The Scottish pastor Alexander Maclaren in his commentary wrote, “God’s work is never antiquated. It is all a revelation of eternal activities. What He has been, He is. What He did, He does. Therefore faith may feed on all the records of old-time, and expect the repetition of all that they contain.” Our knowledge of what God has done throughout eternity is our confident testimony of His abilities and powers to do for future generations.
Stones of Salvation
Our greatest “Jordan river” deliverance was when the blood of Christ “cut off” the dominion of the waves of sin. The conviction of the Holy Spirit met the crest of the waves from Jordan as they arose to a critical level over our head. It was that realization of our sinful state being “over our heads” that led us to the saving power of Jesus Christ. These stones of salvation represent a life “not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to everyone that believeth” as Paul wrote in Romans 1:16.
These stones are represented by many aspects in the life of a believer such as the baptism ceremony which was a funeral to the world for that “old man” signifying the “new birth.” The new creation was the justification “by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus: whom God hath set forth to be a propitiation through faith in his blood, to declare his righteousness for the remission of sins that are past, through the forbearance of God.” Romans 3:24-25 solidifies the testimony of our justification through Jesus Christ.
Stones of Empowerment
Not only were we delivered from the dominion and judgment from our sins, but we were empowered by the Holy Ghost. This spiritual empowerment made us more than just alive; we have the ability to thrive while abiding in a lost world. At the inception of the church, Jesus spoke in 1:8, that “you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you.” This bestowment blesses us with the ability to witness, but also teaches the believer all things and recalls to your remembrance the words of Christ” as promised in John 14:26. The stones of empowerment reflect victories in the face of temptation. Without salvation and the power of the Holy Spirit, our lives would be marred by sin dedicated to the pleasing of the flesh and self-righteousness. Through Christ, we received our righteousness and empowerment to resist temptation.
Paul wrote in 1 Corinthians 10:13, “there hath no temptation taken you but which is as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it.” For some of us, these stones of testimony are an unopened beer can in the refrigerator or an empty shot glass on the shelf for the alcoholic, but for others, we have a pile of stones covering the ashes of what used to consume the “old man.” This empowerment through the spirit is the stone of victory through Jesus Christ.
Stones of Rich Fulfillment
In our transformation through Christ, the new birth and endowment with the Holy Spirit was not the end point of our journey. We are well-versed that John 10:10 promised that Jesus came that we “might have life, and that [we] might have it more abundantly.” We must give remembrance to his continued culmination of work within our lives. We are more than mere conquerors. The psalmist in Psalm 66 wrote of a God who “has tested us”, “refined us as silver”, “brought us into the net”, “laid affliction on our backs”, “caused men to ride over our heads”, “went through fire and through water”, “but you brought us out to rich fulfillment.”
We praise Him for the remembrance of our deliverance and security, but the process has resulted in abundant life and this rich fulfillment. FB Meyer wrote, “the main end of our life is not to do, but to become. For this, we are being molded and disciplined each hour.” Our life is a living testimony of the sanctification process as a result of the inner workings of the Holy Spirit which began at salvation.
Stones of Healing
Our healing from a spiritually dead, lost condition, to that of a new birth, was the greatest stone of healing, but since our salvation, we have been healed physically and emotionally. Our need may have been manifested in sickness during a worldwide pandemic, an injury at the workplace, or a positive diagnostic test, but here we are still serving and praising our Lord for his deliverance and healing. These stones are represented by a prescription that no longer has to be filled, a breathing machine collecting dust, that single hair hidden in the corner left over from a chemotherapy treatment years ago, or the scar from a successful surgery. These are just the healings that we are aware of.
Charles Spurgeon in a devotion on the Psalms asked, “hath the Lord been gracious to thee, and inclined his ear to the voice of thy supplication? Then praise him as long as thou livest.” Emotionally we have been healed from the loss of loved ones. Salvation granted us the proper perspective to have in the times of death. We cherish the memories of those who have passed on, but we have no need to long for the glorified saint. We are able to heal because of His faithful promise and assurance of the ultimate healing of the expired life of a believer. After his young son died, David was asked, “what thing is this that thou hast done? Thou didst fast and weep for the child, while it was alive; but when the child was dead, thou didst rise and eat bread.” David through the assurances of the Lord was healed and replied, “I shall go to him, but he shall not return to me.”
Stones of Deliverance
These memorial stones give witness to our weeping family and friends at our death that we set our hope in the culmination of our deliverance and ultimate salvation of our bodily glorification. By Paul’s writings to the church in Rome, we have understood that our souls are saved from the bondage and judgment of sin through Jesus Christ. Our physical bodies and flesh, however, still have urges and drawings of sinful fleshly satisfaction. We have faith, just as Paul preached, that these mortal bodies will be resurrected and changed into our gloried bodies after we exit this stage of life. These stones give testimony to those who are left at our passing not to mourn our death for we have been delivered.
Paul in Romans 8:18 wrote, “that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us.” He was confident in his soon deliverance as he taught in verse 21, “for the creature itself also shall be delivered from the bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty of the children of God.”
Stones of His Faithfulness
These stones could commemorate the birth of a healthy child after years of praying for conception, the marriage to a Godly spouse resulting from prayers of your parents at an early age, finally finding community with a local church, getting a dream job, or any time God showed up when everything seemed hopeless. We have a duty as a believer to proclaim the faithfulness of our Lord. Not only does He hear our prayers, but He answers them.
In 1 Corinthians 1:9-10, Paul wrote, “God is faithful, by whom ye were called unto the fellowship of his Son Jesus Christ our Lord. Now I beseech you, brethren, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that ye all speak the same thing, and that there be no divisions among you.” Praising and remembering our Lord for His faithfulness is the unifying power of the church. We may not have bank accounts reflecting vast riches or material wealth indicating a “self-made” man, but our declaration and testimony are of our Lord’s faithfulness in His mercy during the sinful lost period of our life, graceful in our election, justification in our new birth, and sanctification in our path walking in His righteousness.
These stones of His faithfulness are unknown to the lost, but their manifestation is a testimony for a generation asking, “what mean ye by these stones?”