William Andrew Dillard
WHAT MEANETH THESE STONES?
When the children of Israel came to the Jordan River in their journey from Egypt to the Promised Land, Joshua commanded them to set up a memorial of stones. One man from each of the twelve tribes was to precede the priest carrying the ark. They were to take up a large stone and carry it on their shoulder. In the place where they camped that night, they used the large stones to create a memorial marker. When their children in the future should ask their fathers what the stones meant, then they would answer them, “That the waters of Jordan were cut off before the ark of the covenant of the LORD; when it passed over Jordan, the waters of Jordan were cut off: and these stones shall be for a memorial unto the children of Israel forever.” Joshua 4:7.
A brief survey of Exodus, Leviticus, and a few other Old Testament books will reveal much usage of the term “memorial.” God wanted future generations to know how He had blessed, and helped the Israelites to accomplish what was otherwise impossible. It underscores to those of us so many thousands of years into the future of that time, the value of godly memorials.
Modern day sermons are fraught with examples and illustrations of God’s work among His people of so long ago. Such memorials are an undergirding of faith to present day saints. After all, they are preserved in writing for our admonition upon which the ends of the world are come. I Cor. 10:11.
As it was then, so it is now. It is important that memorials be created and observed, children taught, and saints reminded often of the goodness of God upon His people collectively, His church; of each saved person individually; of this great nation: the reason for its founding, and the sacrifices that have been made to defend its existence, and its liberties.
Today, God would not have us to build a memorial of bricks, rocks and mortar. Rather the stones of remembrance are spiritual landmarks of sound Bible doctrine, even those that save the spirits of men, and those that instruct to the saving of the soul; those of the faith once delivered to the saints. These include the stone of realization that all are sinners, with zero exception. Then there is the stone of salvation by grace through faith, plus nothing else. The stone of eternal security of the believer must also be a irretractible part of the accepted memorial. Add to that deep water baptism administered on a professed believer by a New Testament Church, and then the local nature of the Lords Church in which the ordinance of the Lord’s Supper is observed by its qualified membership and a memorial is made that can offer acceptable interpretation of the Living Word.