Stones That Tell a Story | UMC YoungPeople
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October 2017

Stones That Tell a Story

By Vanessa Small

“Joshua set up at Gilgal the twelve stones they had taken out of the Jordan. He said to the Israelites, “In the future when your descendants ask their parents, ‘What do these stones mean?’ tell them, ‘Israel crossed the Jordan on dry ground.’ For the LORD your God dried up the Jordan before you until you had crossed over. The LORD your God did to the Jordan what he had done to the Red Sea when he dried it up before us until we had crossed over. He did this so that all the peoples of the earth might know that the hand of the LORD is powerful and so that you might always fear the LORD your God.” - Joshua 4:20-24, NIV

Recently, my brother introduced me to a new and interesting hobby. Individuals paint rocks and stones with various designs such as polka dots, pictures of animals, or even a miniature landscape. The rocks are then hidden at various public locations around town. Clues are given on a community Facebook page to help others find the rocks. Sometimes individuals stumble across the stones unintentionally and, out of curiosity, are introduced to the hobby. The rocks can be kept as a special token or rehidden for others to find. The stones are intended to be an encouraging memento to those who discover them. Some individuals paint Scripture references or inspirational sayings on the rocks as a way to share their faith with those who find them.

The legacy of God’s faithfulness was to be passed down from generation to generation.

Indeed, rocks can serve as a stepping stone to share stories of God’s faithfulness, as we read in this Bible story from the Book of Joshua. In this passage, we learn that God had done something miraculous and special for his people, the Israelites. As they were crossing into the Promised Land, God held back the mighty waters of the Jordan River so that the people could cross on dry ground. Afterward, God commanded that a memorial of large stones from the Jordan River be set up as a lasting reminder of his mighty and faithful works for the generations to come. The stones were a visual reminder, which in the future would raise children’s curiosity, causing them to ask questions about the stones. This, in turn, would prompt their parents to share the story of God’s faithfulness, power, provision, love, and care for his people. In this way, the legacy of God’s faithfulness was to be passed down from generation to generation.

We have inherited many stories of God’s faithfulness throughout the centuries.

This important event in the history of the people of Israel was not to be forgotten. God had been faithful in the past and, as his people continued to trust in him, God would be faithful in the future as well. These stories lived on as encouragement for future generations to keep the faith. As Christians of the 21st century, we have inherited many stories of God’s faithfulness throughout the centuries. Let’s continue to share God’s story so others may know him.

Discussion Question: What memories of God’s faithfulness can you share with the next generation?

For further study: Joshua 3-4

Young Adult devotions from Vanessa Small. Originally published November, 2015.