IN THE BIBLE – ABOUT THE PILE OF ROCKS – ROOTED IN LOVE

“Then Joshua called the twelve men, whom he had prepared of the children of Israel, out of every tribe a man: And Joshua said unto them, Pass over before the ark of the LORD your God into the midst of Jordan, and take you up every man of you a stone upon his shoulder, according unto the number of the tribes of the children of Israel: That this may be a sign among you, that when your children ask their fathers in time to come, saying, What mean ye by these stones? Then ye shall 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 for ever.”

Joshua 4:4-7 KJV

The people came up out of the Jordan on the tenth day of the first month, and they encamped at Gilgal on the east border of Jericho. The next thing that God has them do after crossing is to circumcise themselves, and then, four days after the stones, on the fourteenth of the first month, they do what they did 40 years before as they left Egypt, they observe passover. God says, build “A pile of Rocks,” and then God says, as good and necessary as this is. There’s something better coming God says, you will nurture these associations, and you may even remember me for a time, but you will surely forget again, but do not despair, because I am giving you an association, “A pile of Rocks,”  that towers above all the rest. Chapter 4 details the collection of river boulders, one for each tribe, that are stacked in an impressive pile on the far bank “to be a memorial to the people of Israel forever” (4:7). When their descendants ask, “What do these stones mean,” the Bible says, “Then ye shall let your children know, saying, Israel came over this Jordan on dry land. For the LORD your God dried up the waters of Jordan from before you, until ye were passed over, as the LORD your God did to the Red sea, which he dried up from before us, until we were gone over: That all the people of the earth might know the hand of the LORD, that it is mighty: that ye might fear the LORD your God for ever.” Joshua 4:22-24 KJV  Rocks, Stones, and Memorials give us, and future generations, points of reference so we don’t forget the significance of God’s past dealings with us. Also note the reference the number twelve in the Stones. God seems to always like the number twelve and seven throughout the Bible. These memorials are not always set in stone. God gives us the privilege of nurturing associations, yet he knows that we will fail at times, so he provides a greater grace. And some 1,400 years later, Jesus sits in an upper room with his disciples, and in an association that remembers the past and points to the present and makes a way for the future, he pours wine and breaks bread and says, Do this in remembrance of me.  And the man who does this is the rock that the pile has been building toward. God is constantly teaching us through the Bible for whatever we need or whatever we are searching for. The Bible says, “Those things, which ye have both learned, and received, and heard, and seen in me, do: and the God of peace shall be with you. But I rejoiced in the Lord greatly, that now at the last your care of me hath flourished again; wherein ye were also careful, but ye lacked opportunity. Not that I speak in respect of want: for I have learned, in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content. I know both how to be abased, and I know how to abound: every where and in all things I am instructed both to be full and to be hungry, both to abound and to suffer need. I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me.” Philippians 4:9-13 KJV  This reminds me of the life of  “The Nursing Log.” As the tree dies and falls, it opens up an area of sunlight in the forest. The leaves of the tree itself no longer block sunlight from reaching the forest floor, plus smaller trees and some branches of other large trees are smashed on the way down. After a few years, the fallen tree will be decayed by fungus, microbes and insects to the point where its surface resembles soil (humus). Now all we need are some seeds to fall on the log. They have a perfect place to grow – rich organic soil, a newly created patch of sunlight, and a platform to raise them above the undergrowth they would otherwise be competing with. Some seeds take hold and will be the dominant “nursling” on this part of the log. And some seeds reach in front of The Nurse Log and roots in the new tree has sent to the deeper soil under the log. Eventually the new trees start getting bigger than the nurse log, and the nurse log decays to the point where it loses its definition. Finally the nurse log is completely gone, nothing more than a “ghost log” of twisted roots that were once around and through the nurse log. The roots of some trees eventually grow in a way that makes them look like they are on stilts, in bizarre shapes with large open areas where their nurse logs once were. As you can probably guess, after these trees live a long and full life, they will someday become nurse logs themselves for a new generation of trees. This is a very long cycle. Western Hemlocks and Sitka Spruces can live over 500 years, not counting their “second life” as a snag and then a nurse log. Some of the oldest trees in this forest were “nursing” at the same time Christopher Columbus was nursing! The principles that God has helped me to live by will continue to influence young lives. When we die we not only leave seed, but we also leave an effect on the soil in which future children grow and future spiritual seed will be nourished. That’s one reason the psalmist says, “Precious in the sight of the LORD is the death of his saints.” Psalms 116:15 KJV  Good soil is the legacy of pioneer grasses and plants now long gone. It has been said that the blood of the martyrs is the seed of the church. There is always new life found in death. The nurse log is nature’s method of aiding in the process of remembrance. God is often calling us to remember. To remember His promises. In the midst of death, remember the promise of character development, of a hope that does not disappoint, and of the gain that is waiting behind the pain. Paul tells us of God’s great love and abundant grace to us in the Bible, “Moreover the law entered, that the offence might abound. But where sin abounded, grace did much more abound: That as sin hath reigned unto death, even so might grace reign through righteousness unto eternal life by Jesus Christ our Lord.” Romans 5:20-21 KJV  These truths can soften the soil of a hard heart. Are you ready to give your heart to Jesus ? Now is the time, because He is the One that shed His blood for you on the cross to pay for your sins so you could have that free gift of eternal life. Amen

By: Jeff Ellinger


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3 Responses to IN THE BIBLE – ABOUT THE PILE OF ROCKS – ROOTED IN LOVE

  1. Jesus said it is finish and yet people did not understand what He mean, that is why u will see people going every where in looking for miracles.but believe this word today it’s finished Jesus said.

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