What’s with the pile of stones?

If you made a pile of stones this week, you may have gotten some questions, like  “What do those stones mean to you?” It’s possible you changed the subject. It’s possible you told them that some guy in Indiana told you to make a pile of rocks. Or it’s possible that you said,

I’m learning how to build habits of daily obedience. For a week, I picked up a rock a day. For the next week, I picked up a rock and thought about the people I need to treat with grace and forgiveness. And this week, I’m putting them in a pile as a reminder of forgiveness and grace and daily obedience.

As the people of Israel were passing through the dry riverbed of the Jordan, God told Joshua to gather some rocks. A dozen, in fact, to match the twelve tribes of Israel. “When you get to your campsite tonight,” God said, “Put them in a pile.”

Joshua told twelve men to pick up rocks.

Then Joshua explained what would happen. “Some day, you’ll be walking past this pile of rocks with your children,” he said. “You’ll be showing them the land, remembering great military battles, talking about the places you camped, how you lived off the land. And your kids will say, ‘what’s that pile of rocks?’ Make sure you tell them this:

Because the waters of the Jordan were cut off before the ark of the covenant of the Lord; when it crossed the Jordan, the waters of the Jordan were cut off.

It’s a poetic statement Joshua makes. It puts the ark in the middle of the water, and the waters piled up on either side. Joshua wants the kids to know that this victory, this was from God.

River stones can keep us honest.

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About Jon Swanson

Social media chaplain. Author of "Lent For Non-Lent People" and "A Great Work: A Conversation With Nehemiah For People (Who Want To Be) Doing Great Works." Writer of 300wordsaday.com. I help people understand. Understand some of the Bible. Understand what Lent can be about. Understand what it means to follow.

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