Why Standing Stones?

Why Standing Stones?

In ancient Israel, people stood stones on their end to commemorate a powerful move of God in their lives. It was a memorial to something God spoke or revealed or did. Often these standing stones became reference points in their lives. Today, we can find reference points in the written Word of God. Any scripture or sermon can speak something powerful into our lives, or reveal something of the nature of God. In this blog I offer, what can become a reference point for Christians, taken from God's ancient word and applied to today's world.

Tuesday, January 13, 2015


This is the Queen’s Head formation in Northern Taiwan.  The interesting thing about it is that it as created by erosion.  That word erosion means to diminish or destroy by degrees; especially, to gradually eat into or wear away. 

Water from centuries of tides rolling in has worn away at the rock and created this formation.  The problem is that the government is afraid that in a short time the neck will erode to the point that it can no longer hold up the head.  It will fall over and be gone forever.

Erosion is a real force that takes place in nature, but if we aren’t diligent to guard against it, it can also take place in the church.  In fact, I believe that it takes place in the heart of every Christian and must be constantly checked. (By checked I mean stopping its progress.) Erosion can and will take you right out of the will of God and rob your church of its vitality and forward progress.

In this post I want to look at erosion that took place in David’s life and how it could have been avoided. 

2 Samuel 11:1-5 (NKJV)
11:1 It happened in the spring of the year, at the time when kings go out to battle, that David sent Joab and his servants with him, and all Israel; and they destroyed the people of Ammon and besieged Rabbah. But David remained at Jerusalem. 2 Then it happened one evening that David arose from his bed and walked on the roof of the king's house. And from the roof he saw a woman bathing, and the woman was very beautiful to behold. 3 So David sent and inquired about the woman. And someone said, "Is this not Bathsheba, the daughter of Eliam, the wife of Uriah the Hittite?" 4 Then David sent messengers, and took her; and she came to him, and he lay with her, for she was cleansed from her impurity; and she returned to her house. 5 And the woman conceived; so she sent and told David, and said, "I am with child."

The Erosive Attitude

So, this scripture is a snapshot of erosion taking place in David’s life.  This is after he has defeated Goliath fearlessly.  The Bible says he ran to the battle.  This is after he defeated the Jebusites through cunning and an ability to think outside the box.  This is after he’s led the troops out numerous times to defeat the enemies of God in power and authority.

All of those things, fearlessness, thinking outside the box, and acting in power and authority are signs of zeal.  That word zeal means eager interest in the pursuit of something.  In other words, you’re thinking about what you’re doing.  You’re trying to do your very best because of your excitement about what you’re doing.

That’s where David was in the beginning.  David’s zeal was for the kingdom of Israel; for the things of God.  You cans ee it in his actions.  But something has gone wrong here.  David has become complacent:  he’s backed off.  He’s no longer involved and that’s where the erosion begins.  This is critical for us to see;  Spiritual erosion always takes place when we back off:  When we stop being committed to the will of God:  When we stop acting out the calling of God that’s on our lives.  Take a moment to think about what you’re doing.  Are you acting out the call of God on your life or have you become like David?

David is thinking, “I’m king.  I don’t have to do these things anymore.  I can let someone else handle it.”  So, he let Joab do it.  The words, “I’m tired, I need to rest.”  “I just don’t feel like it.” are signs of the beginning of spiritual erosion.

So David begins to go down a path that leads to sin and problems.  His first mistake, we can call it sin, is with Bathsheba.  He’s not focused on God’s calling any longer.  He’s drifted into focusing on himself. 

This is so interesting; David has begun to focus on his own desires.  He’s no longer thinking of the welfare of Israel, so he stays away from the war.  He’s focused on his own issues.  His focus has become selfish, and that’s an opening the devil can exploit.

The devil begins to wear away at your zeal, your faith and finally, your ability to resist sin.  It’s dangerous to start walking away from the things of God.  That’s erosion beginning to take place in your life.

Think about the Queen’s Head formation illustration for a moment.  At one time there was a cliff, a strong, sturdy outcropping of sandstone.  It was attached to main island, but the relentless action of the ocean began to undercut the stone until now there is only a sliver of stone left supporting the boulder and in time that sliver will be worn away and the Queen’s Had will collapse.

The same thing can happen in your salvation.  People will say, “I’m a mature Christian, it won’t happen to me,” but David was a powerful example of a man after God's own heart and it happened to him, and the time when that erosion began was when David backed away from God’s calling.  God had called him to be king, but he stopped doing what kings did. 

Where are you?  Are you still pursuing excellence in your service to God or are you beginning to back away?  “I don’t need Bible Study.”  “I don’t need to be at church.”  “Outreach is a waste of time.”  Are you still zealously pursuing God’s calling on your life, or is erosion starting to take place? 

People never suddenly wake up and say, "Today I’m going to commit adultery.  I’m going up on the roof to see who’s taking a bath."  Instead, they begin to back away from commitments:  Being willing to commit to anything, and dropping the ball on previously made commitments.  Erosion takes over until their relationship with Jesus is supported by a thin thread and in danger of collapse. 

Salvation is a process.  It takes place in our lives over time.  In other words, our relationship Jesus builds over time and that’s how change takes place in our lives.  It doesn’t happen all at once.  Attitudes and other mindsets have to be broken and that usually takes place of time.  I want you to know something, though.  Backsliding is also a process.  It also takes time to happen.  There is a time when it starts, and that time is when you begin to get complacent, or like David when you begin to back away from God’s calling on your life. 

That’s when you begin to think, “I’m in ministry, but the standards of ministry aren’t necessary.  They’re just rules that are imposed.”  “I’m in ministry but I don’t have a responsibility to be an example for others.” and you begin to drift farther and farther away.  The dangerous part is that you don’t even realize that you’re drifting away.

It’s like Samson.  Samson violated the standards of his vow: The vow of a Nazirite. Look what eventually happened:

Judges 16:20 (NKJV)
16:20 And she said, "The Philistines are upon you, Samson!" So he awoke from his sleep, and said, "I will go out as before, at other times, and shake myself free!" But he did not know that the Lord had departed from him.

He’s operating under the assumption that he’s right with God, but God has departed from him.  That’s a dangerous place to be.  The Philistines grabbed him and put his eyes out.  He was blinded.  The devil will blind you to reality if it will work in his favor.

Your Actions Don’t Affect Just You

So, let’s get back to David.  David has stepped away from his calling.  He’s sinned with Bathsheba and she has become pregnant.  So, now David has a problem. He’s the king; he’s committed adultery with the wife of Uriah the Hittite, one of his mighty men.

How does he deal with this?  First, he brings Uriah home so that he can sleep with his own wife, and it will look like he’s the one who made her pregnant.  But, unlike David at this point, Uriah is an honorable man and he won’t go home and sleep with his wife, while the troops and the Ark of the Covenant are sleeping in tents on the battlefield.  So, when that fails, David tries to get him drunk, but Uriah still won’t go home to his wife.  Look what happens next:

2 Samuel 11:14-17 (NKJV)
11:14 In the morning it happened that David wrote a letter to Joab and sent it by the hand of Uriah. 15 And he wrote in the letter, saying, "Set Uriah in the forefront of the hottest battle, and retreat from him, that he may be struck down and die." 16 So it was, while Joab besieged the city, that he assigned Uriah to a place where he knew there were valiant men. 17 Then the men of the city came out and fought with Joab. And some of the people of the servants of David fell; and Uriah the Hittite died also.

David has drifted far away from God’s will.  He’s committed adultery, and now he’s killed an innocent man, in order to cover it up.  He’s backslidden; he’s away from God.

It’s not just his sin, as horrible as it is.  It’s not just Uriah’s death.  Now he has included Joab in this.  He’s brought someone else along with him, in his drift away from God. 

2 Samuel 11:18-21 (NKJV)
11:18 Then Joab sent and told David all the things concerning the war, 19 and charged the messenger, saying, "When you have finished telling the matters of the war to the king, 20 if it happens that the king's wrath rises, and he says to you: 'Why did you approach so near to the city when you fought? Did you not know that they would shoot from the wall? 21 Who struck Abimelech the son of Jerubbesheth? Was it not a woman who cast a piece of a millstone on him from the wall, so that he died in Thebez? Why did you go near the wall?'--then you shall say, 'Your servant Uriah the Hittite is dead also.' "

Here’s what’s interesting about this:  Joab receives an order to put Uriah where he will be killed.  He can’t just do that.  If he does then everyone will know.  Think about it, he can’t just put only Uriah in harm’s way, because then people will know that he did it on purpose.  Joab has to protect the king’s order. 

He has to make it look like the fortunes of war, so he sends the troops up to the wall knowing that they’ll get killed.  That’s why he says, “If David gets angry then say, ‘Oh by the way, Uriah the Hittite was killed.’”  David wanted Uriah dead, and he would know that that was what Joab had to do to keep the secret.  David has dragged Joab into this.  He has killed Uriah, but other men also had to die to protect the king’s secret.

When we, as Christians, do something against the will of God it affects a number of other people, as well.  This thing went from David didn’t want to go to war, to Joab murdering Uriah the Hittite and a number of other men to protect David’s adultery. 

Whom does the erosion of David’s calling affect?

Bathsheba – She couldn’t turn the king down in his indecent proposal.
Uriah – An innocent man murdered because he was unwilling to allow his own standards to be eroded.
And Joab – He also couldn’t turn down the order of the king, so he ruined his reputation as general and murdered valiant men.

None of us reading this are kings.  None of us have that kind of power, but we do have influence.  There are people who look to us for leadership.  For men, it is our wives, children and new converts in the church.  For women, it’s the younger women, newer converts.  We have a responsibility to wield our influence in a positive direction.

Titus 2:6-8 (NKJV)
2:6 Likewise exhort the young men to be sober-minded, 7 in all things showing yourself to be a pattern of good works; in doctrine showing integrity, reverence, incorruptibility, 8 sound speech that cannot be condemned, that one who is an opponent may be ashamed, having nothing evil to say of you.

Titus 2:3-5 (NKJV)
2:3 the older women likewise, that they be reverent in behavior, not slanderers, not given to much wine, teachers of good things-- 4 that they admonish the young women to love their husbands, to love their children, 5 to be discreet, chaste, homemakers, good, obedient to their own husbands, that the word of God may not be blasphemed.

David has ignored his responsibility.  We must be careful not to allow ourselves to be eroded., so that we don’t influence people away from God.  Are your actions helping to move people into God’s will, or are you showing them that it’s okay to avoid the things that will bring them closer to God?

Erosion Can be Stopped

If you drive in the mountains of Taiwan often, you’ll see places where the highway department has taken steps to stop landslides and erosion.  They’ve erected barriers made of concrete.  They’ve put up nets to hold the soil into the mountain.  They have put things in place to protect motorists from the effects of erosion.

First, we need to stop the erosion that's taking place. If you look at the beginning of the next chapter, God has sent Nathan to rebuke David.  So, Nathan tells him the story of a man with many sheep who kills his neighbor’s pet sheep.  He’s comparing David, with his wives and power to the man with many sheep.  David is taking the Uriah’s only wife and love and misusing her. 

When Nathan finishes with the story, David is enraged and Nathan points to him and says, “That man is you!”  Look at what God says to David through Nathan:

2 Samuel 12:9 (NKJV)
12:9 Why have you despised the commandment of the Lord, to do evil in His sight? You have killed Uriah the Hittite with the sword; you have taken his wife to be your wife, and have killed him with the sword of the people of Ammon.

Why have you despised the commandment of the Lord?  He’s asking David, "Why have you cared so little for your calling, and look at the effect?"  If David had done what he was called to do, this never would have happened.  God traces it all the way back to that one decision to begin tom drift out of God’s will.  Some people reading this have made decisions to drift.  Some of you have made the same decision as David, not to do what you’ve been called to do.  Erosion has already begun in your lives, so now you need to stop it.,  You need to do what David did.

2 Samuel 12:13 (NKJV)
12:13 So David said to Nathan, "I have sinned against the Lord." And Nathan said to David, "The Lord also has put away your sin; you shall not die.

David repented and God put away the sin.  Repentance stops erosion.  After all of this David began to do the right thing.

2 Samuel 12:26-30 (NKJV)
12:26 Now Joab fought against Rabbah of the people of Ammon, and took the royal city. 27 And Joab sent messengers to David, and said, "I have fought against Rabbah, and I have taken the city's water supply. 28 Now therefore, gather the rest of the people together and encamp against the city and take it, lest I take the city and it be called after my name." 29 So David gathered all the people together and went to Rabbah, fought against it, and took it. 30 Then he took their king's crown from his head. Its weight was a talent of gold, with precious stones. And it was set on David's head. Also he brought out the spoil of the city in great abundance.

David no longer stayed away from the battle.  He took his place as king and began to lead Israel, once more.  David got blessed because he turned back to the will of God. 

We can all have issues, but it doesn’t have result in permanent failure.  Things can go back to the way they were.  It’s a decision that we make each and every day.

There’s one last thing I want to point out.  Bathsheba and Joab had to do what the king ordered or die.  That’s how it works with kings.  If David would kill an innocent man to cover up his own sin he would kill them just as easily.  They could have made a stand and said, “it’s not happening,” but there’s a risk to making a stand.  If there’s an influence on you that you know isn’t right, then you need to make a stand.  God will hold us accountable for our decisions, regardless of the influence on us.  God held David accountable you can read about it in 2 Samuel 12:15-23.

God can move all of us forward, if we’re willing to apply God’s calling to our lives and remain in the calling.