by Joy Bach
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When my husband, John, and I moved into our house, it was new construction and had no landscaping. In talking with our new neighbors about whom to call for help with underground sprinklers, we were told by more than one neighbor that landscape companies would not come to our neighborhood. The reason? We had too many rocks. More than one company had broken a trencher in our area.
We finally found a company willing to help us. And…sure enough…they broke a trencher. Our ground is full of rocks.
As I began the process of planting trees and flowers, for each hole I dug, I removed a pile of rocks. I used rocks to make paths and to border the fence. I still have a pile of rocks by the side of the house. That pile of rocks certainly has memories, but it’s not very special.
There is a very special pile of rocks in the Bible.
In Numbers 13, Moses sent 12 men, one from each tribe, into the “Promised Land” to spy and bring back a report. Out of those 12, only two men (Caleb and Joshua) gave a good report, saying it was a wonderful land, flowing with milk and honey. Because the people believed the ten with the bad report, they wanted to stone Caleb and Joshua. God’s punishment was that everyone 20 years of age and older would die in the wilderness…everyone except Caleb and Joshua.
Joshua is now in charge and they are getting ready to enter the “Promised Land”. Joshua has chosen a man from each tribe to carry the Ark of the Covenant. Joshua told the people that when the soles of the feet of the men carrying the Ark touched the Jordan River that the flow of water would be stopped…the water coming from upstream would pile up in a heap. It was harvest time and the Jordan River always overflows its banks during that season. But guess what happened? As soon as the soles of the feet of the 12 men touched the water, the river went dry. While the twelve chosen men holding the Ark of the Covenant stood in the middle of the river, all TWO MILLION people crossed into the “Promised Land”…and not one wet foot.
Then God commanded Joshua to select 12 men (one from each tribe) and tell them to collect a stone from the middle of the river. These stones were large enough that they had to carry them on their shoulders. They carried them into camp and made a pile of the rocks.
Joshua told them, “When your children ask you, “What do these stones mean?” you will say, “The flow of the Jordan was stopped in its tracks and we walked across on dry ground.” These stones are a permanent memorial for the People of Israel.
A memorial of rocks.
One more story about rocks.
In I Samuel the Israelites are getting ready to do battle with the Philistines. While Samuel was offering a sacrifice to God, praying for God’s help in battle, a huge thunderclap exploded among the Philistines. They panicked and fled. The Israelites chased them and won the battle.
Here’s the part about a rock.
Samuel took a single rock and set it upright…and then he named the rock “Ebenezer”, which means “Rock of Help”. Samuel said, “This marks the place where God helped us.”
Memories are important to us. We use photos and videos to help us remember. Some people use diaries or journals to help them remember.
Memories are important to Jesus too. The Lord’s Supper is in “remembrance”.
And what of the stone that rolled…rolled away from the tomb? Easter is a memorial.
All these memories or “memorials” serve to “proclaim” the good news of what God has done.
And that brings us back to the pile of rocks beside my house. I never considered it a special pile. Just a lot of work. But that pile could be called “Ebenezer”. First of all, that pile by my house means I have a house…of my own.
I had never had a home of my own. We had been trying to use John’s VA loan for a house, but had been told it couldn’t be used for a new one. The house we now live in had never been lived before. It had been built for someone else, something happened and it sat empty for one year. God was certainly working in that process, to give us this house.
We moved in the first of November. I made a hole in the stack of boxes and sat up my sewing table. I had a wedding dress to make for John’s daughter (Anne) by November 11th. When she and Jack got married, they weren’t attending church. Fourteen years later, they attend church, read their Bible and pray and lead a Bible study in their home. Another memory for my pile of stones.
In 1999, God worked in a very wonderful way to provide some sudden money and the ability to take a trip of a life time. John and I bought Euro-Rail tickets and backpacked around Europe for a month. We felt every day of that trip that it was “blessed” of God.
More recently, God gave my husband the desire to eat differently and begin to exercise. I have watched as he lost 60 pounds and began to cut back on his diabetes medicine. In the first 24 hours of the new way of eating, he no longer needed his insulin shot. How great is that “Ebenezer”?
I challenge you to find a rock and put it in a place where you will see it as you go through your day. It can become your personal “Ebenezer”. Ponder what God has done for you. Perhaps someone will ask, “Why is that rock laying there?” And you can tell a story of how God helped you.
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