I have noticed that a lot of my “God” posts are on Saturdays. Not sure if it’s because I’m preparing for worship on Sundays, or if I have more time to think about God (which I do every day of the week), or what. Anyway, here’s another one. I thought about this while I was picking up rocks from where the builder’s guys came and filled in some low areas.
There is discussion going on across the US about “teaching moments”, because of the flap over some old video that didn’t tell the whole story. In the Bible, Joshua had a teaching moment. He had led the Israelites into the Promised Land, and they had kicked out most of the original inhabitants. The land is calm now. Joshua has just resolved a potential civil war, where the two and a half tribes on the other side of the Jordan river set up an altar, and the nine and a half tribes on this side of the river want to go knock it down and kill everybody. Turns out that they set it up with good intent, not trying to take away from the worship of one location-based God. Then Joshua gives a farewell speech, gathering up all the leaders from the twelve tribes and giving them a good talking-to. From Joshua 24:14ff:
Now fear the LORD and serve him with all faithfulness.
if serving the LORD seems undesirable to you, then choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve
as for me and my household, we will serve the LORD.
Then the people answered, “Far be it from us to forsake the LORD to serve other gods!”
Joshua said to the people, “You are not able to serve the LORD. He is a holy God; he is a jealous God.”
But the people said to Joshua, “No! We will serve the LORD.”
On that day Joshua . . . 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. It has heard all the words the LORD has said to us. It will be a witness against you if you are untrue to your God.”
So what is the lesson here? It’s not that we should set up large stones wherever we have discussions about God. And this section of scripture was not sponsored by the International Oak Society.
The lessons to be learned are to trust God, to declare it publicly, and to stick with your decision.
These things matter, rocks or no rocks.