Luke 19:40, “I tell you that, if these should hold their peace, the stones would immediately cry out.” This verse has always intrigued me. Christ was making His triumphant entry into Jerusalem and the Pharisees wanted the crowd to stop praising Him. Jesus was saying “if man doesn’t recognize Me as the Creator, the stones will.”
When my two girls were young we took vacations in several western states, portions of which were transported to Iowa in the form of “purty wocks.”
Each of those rocks had a special meaning to the kids and there are rocks and stones mentioned in Scripture that have a special meaning for us.
Rocks don’t change much. They just lay there until somebody or something moves them. I suppose the stones that witnessed things in the Bible are about where they were when those things happened. They serve as a reminder of how God uses the common things in His creation to teach us something.
Let’s look at some stones God used in the original encounters, starting with Jacob. His father sent him away after the shameful way he claimed his inheritance because his twin brother, Esau, wanted to kill him.
Genesis 28:5: "And Isaac sent away Jacob: and he went to Padan-aram unto Laban, son of Bethuel the Syrian, the brother of Rebekah, Jacob's and Esau's mother."
He came to a place called Luz the first night on the road. Genesis 28:11: "And he lighted upon a certain place, and tarried there all night, because the sun was set; and he took of the stones of that place, and put them for his pillows, and lay down in that place to sleep."
That night, on his stone pillow, he dreamed of a stairway up to heaven with angels going up and down. The Lord spoke to him through that dream and told him that the blessings promised to Abraham would be carried out through him. Genesis 28:18-19a "And Jacob rose up early in the morning, and took the stone that he had put for his pillows, and set it up for a pillar, and poured oil upon the top of it. 19: And he called the name of that place Bethel:" Bethel means “House of God.” Jacob met God at Bethel that night and promised to obey and worship Him.
Fourteen years later, with two wives and a large family, Jacob went back to Bethel. On the way he would meet Esau and Jacob was afraid he might kill him, but God worked out a great reunion for them. Genesis 33:4: "And Esau ran to meet him, and embraced him, and fell on his neck, and kissed him: and they wept."
After this meeting, Jacob continued on his journey. Genesis 35:6-7: "So Jacob came to Luz, which is in the land of Canaan, that is, Bethel, he and all the people that were with him. 7: And he built there an altar (of stone) and called the place El-beth-el: because there God appeared unto him, when he fled from the face of his brother."
God had promised Jacob at Bethel that He would bless him with the promises He’d given Abraham. It didn’t happen right away because there was some growing to do.
If the stones in that altar could talk, they would tell us that God had blessed Jacob and given him a second chance. Jacob started out wrong but had returned to Bethel where God wanted him.
In spite of our self will and imperfections, God never leaves those who trust in Him.
When we first accept Jesus Christ as our Savior, we expect everything to be perfect. Then we find out some changes have to take place. We need to visit our Bethel again, to return to the Lord and to grow.
Exodus 17 records another rock that God used for an object lesson. I’d like to hear that rock’s side of the story. The people had left Egypt two months earlier. God parted the Red Sea, He provided manna and quail but they still didn’t trust that He would provide everything. They needed water to drink so God told Moses, in Exodus 17:6: "Behold, I will stand before you there on the rock in Horeb; and you shall strike the rock, and water will come out of it, that the people may drink." And Moses did so in the sight of the elders of Israel." God will take care of us, but sometimes we have to get a little thirsty, first.
There’s another rock in Exodus 17. Israel was fighting the Amalekites and winning as long as Moses held his hands up. Moses got tired, after all, he was past 80. Exodus 17:12: "But Moses' hands were heavy; and they took a stone, and put it under him, and he sat thereon; and Aaron and Hur stayed up his hands, the one on the one side, and the other on the other side; and his hands were steady until the going down of the sun." That stone could tell how Moses rested on it and how it was used of God to help win the battle for His people.
God will fight our battles and provide a place to rest. He knows what we can bear and He shares all our burdens.
In Exodus 31, God gave the Law, written in stone. Exodus 31:18: "And he gave unto Moses, when he had made an end of communing with him upon mount Sinai, two tables of testimony, tables of stone, written with the finger of God."
What do you suppose those stones would say if they could describe the finger of God writing on them? The first two stones never made it to the bottom of the mountain. Moses saw the people sinning and broke them to save the people from the consequences of the law. God later restored those broken stones with new ones.
Sometimes our lives are like those first stones. If we get on the wrong track, we may have to be broken for our own good. Sometimes it’s pretty rough but God is a God who restores broken things.
It’s never easy once we fail. The Lord didn't make it easy for Moses. He went back up the mountain and pleaded for forgiveness for the people. This time the Lord wrote on the stones with fire.
The Christian life can be like the second set of tablets. God will restore you, but it may not be an easy restoration. There may be a little fire involved.
Our pride may be hurt but we will be restored if we have faith and follow His path for our lives. Proverbs 3:6: "In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths."
Back up on the mountain alone, God reassured Moses that He was still with him.
Exodus 33:21-22: And the LORD said, "Here is a place by Me, and you shall stand on the rock. 22: So it shall be, while My glory passes by, that I will put you in the cleft of the rock, and will cover you with My hand while I pass by."
What greater reassurance is there than the God of heaven covering us with His hand? I wonder what the cleft rock would tell us. It, too, was in the presence of God with Moses.
When the people came to the Jordan River, God parted the river and they crossed over on dry land. The wilderness journey was over, Moses was dead, and Joshua would lead them into the Promised Land.
Joshua 4:1-7: "And it came to pass, when all the people had completely crossed over the Jordan, that the LORD spoke to Joshua, saying: 2:Take for yourselves twelve men from the people, one man from every tribe, 3: and command them, saying, 'Take for yourselves twelve stones from here, out of the midst of the Jordan, from the place where the priests' feet stood firm. You shall carry them over with you and leave them in the lodging place where you lodge tonight. 4: Then Joshua called the twelve men whom he had appointed from the children of Israel, one man from every tribe; 5: and Joshua said to them: "Cross over before the ark of the LORD your God into the midst of the Jordan, and each one of you take up a stone on his shoulder, according to the number of the tribes of the children of Israel, 6: that this may be a sign among you when your children ask in time to come, saying, 'What do these stones mean to you?' 7: Then you shall answer them that the waters of the Jordan were cut off before the ark of the covenant of the LORD; when it crossed over the Jordan, the waters of the Jordan were cut off. And these stones shall be for a memorial to the children of Israel forever."
These stones could tell you of the awesome power of the Lord. They would tell you nothing is impossible with God. When the priests stepped into the flooding Jordan, the water parted.
If you don't have faith and step in the water, to go wherever the Lord wants you to go, the water will never part.
Another time and in another place, David met Goliath. (1 Samuel 17) Goliath was defying the army of the living God. Scripture states David went to a brook and got 5 smooth stones.
Why does scripture specify smooth stones? Because they had to be just the way God made them. Man would have no part in this victory other than to use the stones as God directed. David put a stone in the sling and hurled it at the Giant. The stone hit Goliath in the forehead and the Giant came tumbling down.
If that bloody stone could talk it would tell us there are no giants in our life that God can’t defeat. If you have to face a situation in life that seems like a giant, turn it over to God. There are no giants too big for the Lord.
There are more stones in the Old Testament but I want to look at some in the New Testament that Jesus encountered. These stones would have great stories to tell. Jesus walked on them, sat on them, prayed on them, wept on them and bled on them and He was even buried in a rock tomb sealed with a stone.
I’ll begin with some stones mentioned when Satan tried to tempt Jesus.
After his creation, Lucifer rebelled against God and wanted to be Most High. Now God the Son had set aside His glory in Heaven and come to earth as a human being.
If Satan could entice Jesus to do his bidding, it would be a great victory for him. But, God took this time to reveal something more about himself. Matthew 4:2-3: "And when he had fasted forty days and forty nights, he was afterward an hungred. Now when the tempter came to Him, he said, "If You are the Son of God, command that these stones become bread."
Satan is the tempter. He knows our weaknesses. Jesus set an example for us to follow. He answered Satan from God’s Word.
God had spoken the world into existence. To turn stones into bread would be a simple matter. But there was a catch. If He did so, Jesus would be following Satan's orders.
Verse 4: “But He answered and said, "It is written, 'Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God.”
Jesus quoted God's written Word that it is more important to follow God than to care for our physical needs. Many people are so concerned about this physical life that they ignore their spiritual well-being. Mark 8:36: “For what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world, and loses his own soul?"
Satan tried another angle. Matthew 4:5-6: “Then the devil took Him up into the holy city, set Him on the pinnacle of the temple, 6: and said to Him, "If You are the Son of God, throw Yourself down. For it is written: 'He shall give His angels charge over you,' and, 'In their hands they shall bear you up, Lest you dash your foot against a stone.”
Satan quoted from Psalms and challenged Him to prove He was the Son of God. Satan loves religion and quoting the Bible but the problem was that Satan doesn’t quote it accurately. He was using parts to suit his purpose. He mis-quoted God's Word to Adam and Eve in the garden of Eden and now he tried it on Jesus.
Jesus answered by quoting the Bible correctly. Matthew 4:7: “Jesus said to him, It is written again, 'You shall not tempt the LORD your God.”
When Andrew brought Peter to meet Jesus, He named him “Cephas” or “Rock.” John:1:42: "And he brought him to Jesus. And when Jesus beheld him, he said, Thou art Simon the son of Jona: thou shalt be called Cephas, which is by interpretation, A stone."
Later in His ministry, Jesus asked Peter who He (Jesus) was. Matthew 16:16: "And Simon Peter answered and said, Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God."
Christ’s reply was; [verse 18:] "And I say also unto thee, That thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it."
Peter’s rock solid confession that Jesus was the Christ, the Son of the Living God is the foundation stone that God would build His church on.
Christ’s first miracle at a wedding in Galilee shows how God can provide for us in many ways. John 2:6 "Now there were set there six water pots of Stone, according to the manner of purification of the Jews, containing twenty or thirty gallons apiece."
Jesus turned the water in those stone water pots into wine. If God takes the time to provide wine for the joyous occasion of a wedding, He will also provide for us, as long as we follow Him. Nothing is too insignificant for our Heavenly Father.
He provides our needs and even many of our “wants.” Everything we have comes from the Lord and we can give Him our worship and praise and prayer and finances in return.
Our next stone speaks of God's Forgiveness. John 8:4-5: "They say unto him, Master, this woman was taken in adultery, in the very act. 5: Now Moses in the law commanded us, that such should be stoned: but what sayest thou?" His answer was, "He who is without sin among you, let him cast the first stone."
Some men brought this woman to Jesus to tempt Him to judge her so they could make an accusation against Him. The Mosaic law required she be stoned and they asked what He would say. Jesus stooped down and wrote something in the dust. We don’t know what He wrote. Maybe He wrote their names and the name of another woman. Can’t you just hear the stones in their hands hitting the ground? Jesus stood up and only the accused was there. Verses 10-11: Woman, where are those thine accusers? hath no man condemned thee? 11: She said, No man, Lord. And Jesus said unto her, Neither do I condemn thee: go, and sin no more."
The only one Who could have thrown a stone forgave her sin. He wants to forgive us, too. John 3:17: "For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved."
Another time when the Pharisees wanted to stone Him, He asked them a pointed question. John:10:32-33: Jesus answered them, "Many good works I have shown you from My Father. For which of those works do you stone Me?" 33: The Jews answered Him, saying, "For a good work we do not stone You, but for blasphemy, and because You, being a Man, make Yourself God."
You see, they didn’t believe He was the Son of God.
In John 11:38-39 there was a stone on the grave of Lazarus. “Jesus therefore again groaning in himself cometh to the grave. It was a cave, and a stone lay upon it. 39: Jesus said, Take ye away the stone.” Verse 41: “Then they took away the stone from the place where the dead was laid.” Verse 43b: “He cried with a loud voice, Lazarus, come forth. 44: And he that was dead came forth.”
I would loved to have seen Jesus bring that dead man back to life! God has an even more important power. He can bring the spiritually dead to life eternal, but He will only do so while you are still in this life.
The next stone is in the garden of Gethsemene. Luke 22:41-44: "And he withdrew from them about a stone's throw, and He knelt down and prayed. Saying, "Father if it is Your will, take this cup away from Me; nevertheless not My will, but Yours, be done."
Christ was alone, separated from His disciples by a stone’s throw. He was pouring out His soul to God over what was about to take place.
If that stone could talk, would it tell you about His perfect life? How He never sinned? How He never failed to do everything the Father asked of Him? How His actions never caused others pain or hurt feelings? How He healed others and even raised some from the dead?
Or would that stone tell us that here was the Son of God, praying to His Father about the trip to the cross where He would take the sin of the world on Himself and die in our place, and, by dying in our place, purchase eternal life for you and me?
Next we come to the crucifixion that bought our salvation. It affected not only the rocks but the whole universe.
Matthew 27:45: "Now from the sixth hour there was darkness over all the land unto the ninth hour. [verses 50-51] Jesus, when he had cried again with a loud voice, yielded up the ghost. 51: And, behold, the veil of the temple was rent in twain from the top to the bottom; and the earth did quake, and the rocks were rent;" The whole universe trembled at the death of the Savior. I think those rocks were speechless in disbelief that this could happen to the Son of God.
The last stone in this message is found in Matthew 28:1-6: "In the end of the sabbath, as it began to dawn toward the first day of the week, came Mary Magdalene and the other Mary to see the sepulchre. 2: And, behold, there was a great earthquake: for the angel of the Lord descended from heaven, and came and rolled back the stone from the door, and sat upon it."
This is one stone that I would really like to hear tell it’s story. It had protected the Lord’s body from vandals while He lay in the rock tomb. It saw Him emerge from the grave clothes and leave through solid rock. It had witnessed His resurrection. The stone rolled over the entrance wasn’t moved to let Him out. It was rolled away so we could see that “He is Risen!”
Is the Holy Spirit speaking to your heart and telling you to come to Christ? God is inviting you to come to Him for salvation today.
God says we have a stony heart by our very nature. He wants to come into that heart and make it a new heart. Ezekiel 36:26: "A new heart also will I give you, and a new spirit will I put within you: and I will take away the stony heart out of your flesh, and I will give you an heart of flesh."
Just accept the fact that Christ died for you
and in return you will have the gift of eternal life.
Reject or neglect to do so
and you will have the wages of eternal separation from God.
Now it’s up you.