And it came to pass, when all the people were clean passed over Jordan, that the LORD spoke to Joshua, saying,…
This primitive form of a memorial is common to almost all nations. Of this character are the Egyptian obelisks and the cairns and the Druidical circles in England and Scotland. The text is the question of the children. The sight of the cairn would awaken curiosity. It has been well asked, "What child in Altorf but must have inquired respecting the statue of William Tell, or in Lucerne about the lion sculptured by Thorwaldsen to commemorate the deaths of the Swiss Guard? "These memorial stones would remind the tribes of God's greatness and goodness. But the stones must have tongues in order that their testimony may be more complete. They were not simply to be memorial; they were also to be declaratory
.... Occupying to-day for the first time this place of worship, it is fitting that we should ask and answer the old question, "What mean ye by these stones?" The form which the stones have taken partly answers the question. Turret, tower, and spire point heavenward. In its symmetry and sincerity the whole structure preaches the need of truth in the heart and life.
1. These stones express our conviction of the world's need of Christ's gospel. Sin is the terrible fact in human existence. It is the absence of wholeness and of happiness; of Godlikeness here, and of heaven hereafter. It has separated man from God, and man from man. It is the prolific parent of all our woes. In the fulness of time the Christ was born. One element, the negative element, in that fulness was the world's fruitless effort to help itself. Mighty Rome, in her abject helplessness, was calling for a deliverer. Beautiful Greece was stretching out her hands for a healer. Christ was both to both so far as they received Him. The experience of the world must be that of each individual. God says, and experience echoes the saying, "Thou hast destroyed thyself." Thank God He speaks this other word: "But in Me is thy help."
2. These stones express our faith in Christ's gospel to meet the world's need. To each man, guilty and condemned, it offers, through the death and mediation of Christ, a full and free pardon. It makes the redeemed here have foretastes of heaven. It harmonises all the conflicting interests of human society.
3. These stones declare our faith in and our duty toward the aggressive, the missionary side of Christ's gospel. It means to conquer the world. It will do it. This is its lofty ambition and its Divine destiny. In this respect it stands unique among the religions of the world. We are not to satisfy ourselves by singing, "Hold the fort!" we must shout, "Storm the fort!" Our anti-mission Church is an anti-Christian Church.
4. These stones declare our faith in our distinctive organic order as a body of Christians, as being in harmony with Christ's gospel.
(R. S. MacArthur.)
Parallel VersesKJV: And it came to pass, when all the people were clean passed over Jordan, that the LORD spake unto Joshua, saying,