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Saturday, September 22, 2012

Stones - For Glory or Dishonor?

            I have been pondering Absalom's treasonous act against David, the divinely appointed king of Israel, and Absalom's death and burial. Specifically, I have been pondering the significance of his dishonorable burial under a pile of stones instead of under the pillar he erected as a memorial to himself or in the burial place of kings and princes. While considering these things, I began recalling the significance of stones in the Bible. These daily devotions take you through what I have read and considered. Hopefully they will lead you to your rightful place, the Church of God, where He has provided the Cornerstone. 

Monday: Read Genesis 32:22-33:20. Altars were called Ebenezers, too. Ebenezer translated from the Hebrew means “stone of help.” Who set up a stone altar? Why? What was the place named because of it? El Elohe means “mighty is the God of Israel.” What did this ebenezar show about God? This was a spiritual marker of an important place where Jacob had an encounter with God. Jacob gave God a sacrifice of praise here.  

Tuesday: Read Genesis 35. Who set up this stone altar? Why? What was the place named because of it? Bethel means “house of God.” This altar/ebenezar was also set up because of an encounter Jacob had with God. God is given a sacrifice of praise here, too.  

Wednesday: Read Joshua 4:5-9. Who set up a stone altar here? Who told them to do it? Why? This altar was set up as a reminder, as a spiritual marker, an ebenezar, so the Israelites always remember God gave them the victory and their own land as He had promised. 
Thursday: Read Joshua 7:20-26.  What was the pile of stones a reminder of in Achor? Achor means “trouble.” Not the spiritual markers/reminders/ebenezars we will have as Christians will remind us of good things God did for us. Sometimes God disciplines us to get us to go on the right path and grow. These will be spiritual markers, too.  

Friday: Read 1 Samuel 7:1-12. Who set up a stone altar here? Who told them to do it? Why? This altar was set up as a reminder of how God gave them the final victory over their enemy. This stone was a remembrance to Israel that “thus far the Lord has helped us.”  

Saturday: Read 1 Peter 2:4-8. Who is this Living Stone? Are we supposed to be reminded of God by this stone, too? Is this stone special for everyone? No, these spiritual stones of the past and this Living Stone are special only for those to whom God has taught/helped/called. God calls each of us to come to Him. If we call Jesus our Living Stone, then we also become stones built according to the Father to become an altar proclaiming His praises and calling others to come out of their darkness to “this marvelous Light.” We become the stones making an altar of praise to God for people to see God and come to His light. Are you letting Him do that, to use you as a lighthouse beacon for His Light? Have you decided to become a part of His Church to be built in the way He wants others to see Him? You are a “chosen” person, a loved child. He wants to shelter, lead, and forgive you, too, just as David wanted to shelter and forgive his son, Absalom, who chose not to accept it. Absalom’s grave with stones mounted upon it became a marker for Israel to remind them not to run away from God, but return to Him. God had to discipline Absalom for attempting to overthrow the divinely anointed king, David.