When God laid the foundations of the earth,
hung the stars in place,
set the planets in their orbits,
halted the proud waves on the shore,
wrapped the sea in clouds of mist,
and taught the dawn to take the earth by its edges,
all of the angels shouted for joy at the magnificent display of God’s glory and power in Creation!
When have you, too, shouted for joy over the display of God’s glory wrapped up in His character in each day of every year for your entire life?
In Luke 19:40 Jesus said, “If we keep quiet (and don’t praise God), the stones will cry out.” Why would you and I remain silent, forfeiting to stones the joy of praising God for what He has done?
Samuel used stones as a memorial when God’s people wanted to remember His goodness and faithfulness. First Samuel 7:12 says that when God enabled the Israelites to defeat the Philistines, the Prophet Samuel “took a stone and … named it Ebenezer, saying, ‘Thus far has the Lord helped us.’”
Joshua also used stones to help God’s people remember His goodness. After wandering in the wilderness for 40 years, the Israelites experienced the power of God to roll back the waters of the Jordan River, enabling them to cross over and take possession of the Promised Land. Joshua then commanded them to build a memorial of stones as a public testimony of what God had done for them … stones that would remind them to keep on praising Him.
Read Joshua 3 and 4.
I. THE LITERAL STONES | Joshua 4:1-9
- Read Joshua: 4:2-3, 5, 8. What were the stones of remembrance and where did they come from?
- Read Joshua 4:6-7. Why did God say they were to be collected and carried to the riverbank?
- What literal objects could you place in your home or office that would serve as reminders to you of your personal experiences of God’s power?
- What are some other practical ways you can remember what God has done for you in order to cultivate and maintain an attitude of gratitude?
- From the following passages, describe other visuals God gave His people and what each represented: Genesis 9:12-16; Exodus 12:1-13; Matthew 26:26-29; John 20:24-29.
II. THE LIVING STONES | Joshua 4:10-18
- Read Joshua 4:10. What was necessary before the Israelites could experience God’s power?
- Read Joshua 4:11. What was the living proof of God’s power?
- What do you think the crossing of the Jordan symbolizes in the Christian life?
- Did the Israelites believe their experience of God’s power meant their lives would be easy from then on? Give a verse to prove your point.
- What is significant in Joshua 4:18? How would this affect the Israelites?
- Who are the living stones today? See 1 Peter 2:4-5; Ephesians 2:19-22.
III. THE LASTING STONES | Joshua 4:19-24
- Read Joshua 4:22-24. What did the stones mean?
- Read Joshua 4:6-7, 22. What were the Israelites to do with the memories of their experiences of God’s power?
- When others look at your life, do they demand an explanation for what they see? What explanation do you give them?
- What testimony are you leaving behind for your children/grandchildren, and how will you be sure they get it?
- What are at least two reasons for us to give verbal testimony to what God has done for us? See Joshua 4:24; Luke 1:1-4; John 4:28-42; John 20:30-31; 1 John 1:1-4.
- How do nine of the 10 lepers in Luke 17:11-19 illustrate only living stones, but not lasting stones? How does the one leper illustrate both a living stone and a lasting stone?
Take a moment now to reflect on God’s blessings, grace, and power in your life. Write down what you remember and make two copies … one to keep, and one to give to someone else as a witness of what He has done for you. Then praise God for Jesus, His living, lasting Stone.