When I was in Israel I learned many lessons about God. In a way they were taught by what I saw around me. Concrete object lessons right from the very land that Abraham and Isaac and Jacob and Jesus walked. The dessert told me stories of great spiritual truths as well as the rushing “living water” that would tumble and bubbly from the base of the mountains! And everywhere I went there were rocks and boulders and stones! Even the very stones cried out their God lessons to me!
When I think of Israel in the summer, the color of the land comes to mind. It is so different than the bucolic farmland where I live. I think of the color of a bone… a dried bone.
Bleached by the sun and exposed. Beautiful in it’s own way.
Standing at Abraham’s well in Beersheba (Be’er Sheva) overlooking a vast expanse of buff colored landscape with the thin rope of the King’s Highway winding through it could almost take your breath away. Ancient and impressive and monochromatic.
In Israel one is either going up or down. It is not, for the most part, a flat country. Lots and lots of mountains and hills and valleys and boulders and rocks… all bleached by the summer sun…
Israel sits on the riff of two tectonic plates… it sits in the area where the African and Asian plates heave and butt against each other making the land push in upon itself like an accordion. So there are mountains and hills and valleys… and rocks and boulders. Israel is a country of bleached rocks and boulders!
One of the amazing things I have learned about my God is that He is a great communicator.
He would often communicate to the ancients by using what was around them to make a point. Because there are lots and lots of rocks in Israel, He even used the rocks… and used them in the most beautiful way…
When God freed the nation Israel from the bondage of slavery to Egypt and the Israelites finally were about to enter the land God had given them as an eternal possession… God had them enter the promised land across the Jordan river from it’s East side.
He instructed Joshua to have the the priests take the Ark Of The Covenant and go before all the people crossing the Jordan river first… on foot!
When the priests, who carried the Ark Of The Covenant hoisted up on long poles, put their feet into the water, they stood on dry land!
“AND IT SHALL COME ABOUT WHEN THE SOLES OF THE FEET OF THE PRIESTS WHO CARRY THE ARK OF THE LORD, THE LORD OF ALL THE EARTH, SHALL REST IN THE WATERS OF THE JORDAN, THE WATERS OF THE JORDAN SHALL BE CUT OFF, AND THE WATERS WHICH ARE FLOWING DOWN FROM ABOVE SHALL STAND IN ONE HEAP.”
All the nation Israel passed over the dry river bed of the Jordan river into the land that God had given them.
“IT CAME ABOUT THAT WHEN THE NATION HAD FINISHED CROSSING THE JORDAN, THAT THE LORD SPOKE TO JOSHUA, SAYING,
TAKE FOR YOURSELVES TWELVE MEN FROM THE PEOPLE, ONE FROM EACH TRIBE, AND COMMAND THEM, SAYING , TAKE UP FOR YOURSELVES TWELVE STONES FROM HERE OUT OF THE MIDDLE OF THE JORDAN, FROM THE PLACE WHERE THE PRIESTS’ FEET ARE STANDING FIRM, AND CARRY THEM OVER WITH YOU, AND LAY THEM DOWN IN THE LODGING PLACE WHERE YOU WILL LODGE TONIGHT.”
These stones… or as I would say… big boulders are called STANDING STONES.
“LET THIS BE A SIGN AMONG YOU, SO THAT WHEN YOUR CHILDREN ASK LATER, SAYING, ‘WHAT DO THESE STONES MEAN TO YOU?’ THEN YOU SHALL SAY TO THEM, ‘BECAUSE THE WATERS OF THE JORDAN WERE CUT OFF BEFORE THE THE ARK OF THE COVENANT OF THE LORD; WHEN IT CROSSED THE JORDAN, THE WATERS OF THE JORDAN WERE CUT OFF.’
SO THESE STONES SHALL BECOME A MEMORIAL TO THE SONS OF ISRAEL FOREVER.”
The STANDING STONES were a memorial.
They said… “Hey, something great has happened here”!
Sorta like the Washington Monument or a statue in a town square. They were a sign… they pointed to something important!!! It was a way for the people to remember something special.
God used the ordinary things around the ancients to keep them ever mindful of the wonderful things He had done for them.
I can just imagine all the conversations between generations of Jewish father and their children as they told the story of how God brought the nation Israel across the Jordan river… on dry land. I can picture the children touching the stones in wonder… sealing the story into their memory… to tell their children!
STANDING STONES were used by God many times throughout the Old Testament as a memorial of God’s blessing and greatness. So that when the ancients would pass a STANDING STONE they would ask… “What happened here?” And God work would be remembered and He would be praised!
This oral retelling kept the history of the people… and God… alive.
Now here is an amazing thing…
God uses this same imagery today!
In 1Peter 2, God calls all those who believe in Jesus
We are living breathing STANDING STONES… like those big bone-colored boulders that would become memorials or monument of what God has done. Ordinary everyday things that because of God… would become extraordinary reminders of His marvelous works!
Our lives, like the STANDING STONES, should be memorials, so that maybe someone would ask …
“What happened here”… “Why are you different”…
And because we are “LIVING STONES” we can speak of the marvelous work of God and His saving grace in our lives.
When I think of Israel… I will forever think of the mountains and valleys and rocks and hills and boulders… all bone-colored. And in my mind, they are all STANDING STONES!
They remind me that I am a STANDING STONE… a LIVING STONE. Connected to a long history of retelling God’s work and greatness. They remind me that I have a story too…
…and… Oh, what a story I have a to tell!
I pray that my life will be a memorial. A reminder that God took a very ordinary, sinful person and changed her life. I hope that my generations will tell the story of God’s greatness, grace and salvation in my life. I pray that my children and children’s children and so on and on… will hear of my LIVING STONE experiences and the stories will be sealed into their minds and bring them to know
THE CORNERSTONE REJECTED BY MEN (1 Peter: 2:7)… Jesus Christ!
I want to be a LIVING STONE… not only to my posterity… but all those who’s life I touch!
Thank you for such a heart warming message. Know that your presence is truly a living stone to all those whom come across your blog. Your messages about Gods word as always lead me to reflect upon self and my interactions with others. May you continue to do great things by being a living stone!
Thank you! What an encoragement! We must keep building those altars of rememberance..to be able to say,” see what the Lord has done!” To be challenged to look forward to see what HE WILL DO. He is so faithful!
Amen and Amen!
Beautiful! So touching and true. Thank you for each Sunday giving such great lessons.
Lovely Yvonne. The message you’ve described is an inspiring one. Your Sunday posts are just as lovely as the decor and design ideas you share.
I pray God’s special blessings and anointing on your blog ministry! Thank you so much for sharing! I look forward to your blog every Sunday. (My church before church)you have such a sweet spirit and a heart after God, there is no way anyone around you could not be affected. Just like with the disciples everyone will take note that you have been with Jesus!
Have a blessed day my friend!
Me Too Yvonne, thank you for that inspiration and encouragement, I want to be a living stone too.
Enjoyed your message today!
Our God is a Great God .
When I went to Israel we visited the Valley of Elah, where David killed Goliath. David picked up 5 smooth stones because Goliath had 4 brothers. Our guide encouraged us to each take 5 stones home with us – to help Israel get rid of some of the rocks and stones they have there in profusion! Wonderful lesson – great how you tied it together. I had never thought of myself as a “living rock” but I will remember that now – in addition to being a co-heir with Christ. Thank you for your Sunday Scriptures – I look forward to them each week. Blessings, Janet
Thank you for sharing this message with us in such a clear and profound way. And yes, our GOD IS A GREAT GOD!
Have a blessed day.
These passages and your relating of them are very special to me today. Having lost both my Mom and my beloved Aunt Susan in the past year and one half has caused me to reflect upon my own life and what I, a sinner too saved by the Grace of Our Lord, can do to leave a mark, a stone that will be lasting in the hearts of those it touches. All the fluffing of our cottages is fun, but the real rewards of our lives lie in the relationships we have with others and the goodness we spread. This was a wonderful message today. Very thought provoking and heartfelt. Thank you so much.
Big Texas Hugs,
Susan and Bentley
Thank you for an inspiring piece. I love waking up on a Sunday morning and reading something that helps to give me purpose on the Sabbath Day!
Amen….your words are a living stone for and from the Word of God.
Amen! Thanks again for sharing your insight into God’s Word. I look forward to your Sunday messages each week and am blessed. Continue your ministry and be blessed. Prayerfully, Avis
I love your blog for the beautiful inspiration including your Sunday messages from God’ word! Thank you so much for including what ultimately matters most in your blog!!! I am blessed by your words!!
Yvonne, you’re such a living stone to me. I so look forward to Sunday Scriptures, and I’m so glad you have been to The Holy Land so you can tell us that you felt Jesus presence this means so much to me. Thank You and God Bless.
Thanks so much for your story. I love your blog and your inspirational stories. They are very uplifting.
AMEN……The “Living Stone” is a great example how to live our life here on earth. Thank you so much for these Sunday blogs.
Sister In Christ
I thought I had a pretty good understanding of the Living Stone from previous bible studies. However in your personification of a Living Stone this week, it became crystal clear how we, as Christians, can be Living Stones each and every day of our lives, even after death. We do not have to be in the River Jordan to do so, but can be in the humblest place on earth, leaving examples to fellow human being of God’s wisdom, love and generousity to all mankind. Thank you, Yvonne, for taking the time to share the wonderful talents that God has bestowed upon you as well as living His commandment of proclaiming thr GOOD NEWS!
You’re such an inspiration with your decor ideas…love it!, but I l LOVE reading your Sunday Scriptures about Gods message how we as Christians should live our daily lives. Someday I hope to make it to the Holy Land to experience the Standing Stones like you did:)!
Thank you and God Bless!!!
Oh what a precious reminder. Only what is done for Christ will last throughout eternity. We are to be His hands and feet here on earth. We are to make a difference. And we don’t have to make a BIG difference. Anything that is done in His name is a stone. I too want my kids and (one day) grandkids to remember that I lived my life for Christ. I am NOT perfect, but thank God I am forgiven. Blessings my sweet sister!!
Thank you for such a beautiful devotional. I, too, pray that I will live my life in such a way that others will ask, “Why are you different?” and learn about Jesus! “One generation shall praise Your works to another, and shall declare Your mighty acts.” Psalm 145:4
I truly enjoying reading your message.
My dear sister in Christ, thank you fou using this wonderful platform God has provided for you to teach, encourage, and inspire us not only of lovely home settings but of the need to prepare for our eternal home as well. I live in Miami, FL, which is a wonderful place to live except for the fact it is one of the most unchurched cities in the nation (well, that and the humidity!). Thankfully we attend a Bible based church that speaks to seekers and well-grounded believers both. It is a haven for my family and me and recently proved its creativeness by handing out stones and asking us to write 1 Peter 2:5 on it and keep it in a visible place for at least a week. That little stone inspired me and drew out conversations with my coworkers. Now I read your story on standing stones and am not only moved and edified by your preaching, but thrilled to see how your readers are being blessed. God continue to keep you strong in your faith and evangelism, Yvonne. His purpose for your life is shing bright! God bless.
Wow. I know you are fueled by the Holy Spirit and I am impressed and grateful for your allowing Him to guide your teaching. You do such an amazing job of getting us to look at the familiar verses in such a new way. And I appreciate how you connect the New and Old Testaments. You are extraordinarily gifted in the decorative arts but, truly, this is your strong suit–teaching the Word.