“Then Samuel took a stone and set it up between Mizpah and Shen. He named it Ebenezer, saying, “Thus far has the LORD helped us.” (1 Sam 7v12)
A common Old Testament practise was to set up memorials stones whenever God did something significant in the lives of His people. Throughout the generations people could look back at the stones and remember all God had done in the past. Sometimes its good to look back at the stones in our lives – those significant moments when God has done something extraordinary.
As this year comes to a close, look back at your memorial stones of 2014 – times when you have had encounters with God, times when you have heard Him speak, times when God has brought you through difficulties, times when you have let Him down and yet He has still shown love and mercy, times of victory, times of answered prayer, times when God has demonsrated His power. Can’t we look back on those memorial stones and see His goodness and faithfulness towards us? As this year comes to a close, look back and give God praise and thanks for all He has done.
Stones in the Old Testament were not just memorials, however – they were also a witness. Travellers would pass by and look at the stones and ask “what happened here?” Those who knew the story would then give testimony to what God had done. Therefore the stones themselves were a witness of Gods greatness. Today, God doesn’t have stones as His witness’ instead “you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses”. Our lives should bear witness of all God has done. People should look at the joy, peace and power we carry and ask “what happened here?” – then we can tell them the wonderful story of the gospel. In 2014 we are the stones, we are the witness’ that Jesus is alive, that God is working and that Christianity is relevant and life changing!
However there is a significant difference between the stones of the Old Testament and the “stones” of the New. 1 Peter 2 says “As you come to him, the living Stone— rejected by men but chosen by God and precious to Him—you also, like living stones, are being built into a spiritual house to be a holy priesthood, offering spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ.” The stones in the Old Testament were dead, ancient monuments to what God had done in the past. We are however “living stones” – our lives are not a sign of what God did in the past, but a sign of what He is doing now.
Some churches and Christians have great stories of what God many years ago, but can not tell you what He is up to today! Our lives and churches should not be a monument to what God in the past, but a manifestation of what He is doing now!
God is alive! His word is living and active. Jesus declared that His Spirit would be like rivers of living water flowing from within us! Get the picture?! Life! Action! Stuff happening!
“Consequently, you are no longer foreigners and aliens, but fellow-citizens with God’s people and members of God’s household, built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, with Christ Jesus himself as the chief cornerstone. In him the whole building is joined together and rises to become a holy temple in the Lord. And in Him you too are being built together to become a dwelling in which God lives by His Spirit.”
The Holy Spirit should not be a dormant force in our lives, but someone who’s working through us, a bunch of living stones, to be a witness to the power and glory of the chief cornerstone – Jesus!