Several years ago, our neighbors purchased large ornamental rocks to add to their landscaping. One neighbor used the rocks to create a beautiful fountain in their front yard. But the rock craze didn’t end there. Two other neighbors set rocks and stones around their pools, giving their backyard venues a more natural look. These various landscape treatments definitely improved our neighborhood’s appeal.
Moses’ rock encounters didn’t fare as well. For the thirsty, Promise-land-bound Israelites, God commanded Moses to strike a rock which provided water (Ex.17:6). But, on the next occasion, Moses disregarded God’s instruction to speak to the rock. Exasperated with his million-plus travel companions, he instead struck the rock. Not once but twice. Water flowed, much to everyone’s delight. But disobedience to God brought Moses a heavy consequence (Num.20:12). He led the Israelites to the Promised Land, viewed it from afar, but couldn’t enter.
Joshua, the next leader of this ragtag group of Israelites, had a different stone experience. After they had crossed the Jordan River, Joshua called out twelve men as God had requested, one from each tribe of Israel. They were tasked with fetching stones from the river to be set as a memorial. A reminder that God had stopped the Jordan’s swift flow to allow the Ark of the Covenant to cross (Josh.4:1-24). When the Israelite children asked about the stones, their elders were to remind them of this and God’s many other mighty works.
By God’s power, Goliath met a rock of ruin. David was of no mind to allow this giant to continue to defame God. But the shepherd boy had a few other enemies in his path before his meeting with Goliath: one of his brothers and the king! Eliab called his little brother prideful and said he had a wicked heart. Talk about confidence building! Then, even after David gave Saul his resume, the king tried to burden him with unnecessary armor. Discarding all but his faith in the Lord God Almighty, a staff, sling and stones, David advanced toward Goliath. Before the giant’s demise, David issued his winning warrior’s cry:
…And all those assembled here will know that it is not by sword or spear that the LORD saves; for the battle is the LORD’s… (1Sam.17:47a)
Even though Saul then hunted him, David had no complaints with God. He called the Lord his Rock, Fortress, and Deliverer (2Sam.22:3). David later went on to prophesy that Jesus is the stone that the builders rejected. Three of the four Gospels reiterate that Jesus is the Chief Cornerstone, rejected by men.
So, in your life, is Jesus the Rock of Remembrance or will you bring about your Ruin by rejecting Him?
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Lots of Biblical history there...a good lesson for us all!
I loved your point about how when David set out to do what God called him to do, slay Goliath, his older brother and King Saul tried to discourage him. Thank goodness, David listened to God and followed His voice, rather than the discouragements of the detractors.