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Daily Bible Reading Notes–What Do These Stones Mean?

by Mike Sanders

Monuments are for the living, not the dead. The story is for the living.

God stopped the flow of the Jordan River enabling Israel to cross the flood-stage river. God then told Joshua to build two monuments. One was a collection of 12 stones, positioned to the west of the river. The second was placed in the very middle of the river that was being held back by Israel’s God. This second monument, how unusual, stands to this day at the bottom of the Jordan. (Joshua 4)

Joshua was surely curious. God explained that in the days to come he would pass by this monument with his son and his son would ask, “Father, what do these stones mean?” The monument will present teachable moments. Monuments afford fathers opportunities to explain God’s intervention and provision for His people. Imagine the impact on a young boy. (Joshua 4)

Seldom am I surrounded by more stone monuments than when at the graveside with a grieving family. Each tells a story. All affirm that I am terminal. Dates show infant lifespans, too brief. Others span a century. Some give witness to an honorable man and his wife. Too many affirm lives of evil. Some lie “asleep in Jesus.” Many are “in torments” awaiting judgment to come. (Luke 16:19ff.; 1 Thessalonians 4:13ff.)

Solomon said it is better to gather with the mourning than go to a party. The party is a frivolous time and conversation may go as deep as, “How ’bout them Cats?” The story of the monument is the final report on a life now spent. Graveside is the uncomfortable encounter with accountability. There I stand before a full-length mirror. It is another sober report card time. (Ecclesiastes 7)

The message of the monument is, “A good life matters.” Being “in Christ” I am guilt free and can anticipate the “Well done” from my Lord. The guilty have only a fearful expectation of the certain judgment to come.

Today, monuments from a loving Father invite me to Himself.


      Mike Sanders is a former Church of Christ minister and attends Southeast Christian   

      Church in Louisville, KY.


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The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.

John 10:10