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.

Wednesday, April 13, 2016


Is it only me, or does it seem like living for Jesus is like fighting a battle?  We’re constantly waging a war with Satan, in order to find our destiny in Jesus Christ.  Each of us has a destiny that’s worth fighting for.  It’s sad to see people start out and then quit when things get difficult.  As the fight continues some people lose their resolve to continue on. 

Today I want to look at people who quit just before they entered the Promised Land:   People who were content to receive as their inheritance, that portion of land that was just short of the promise that was meant for them.  They stepped out of the will of God because they didn’t see all that God had for them.  We need to be careful to press in, and not give up, so that we can enjoy all of the promise of God.  Today, I want to post a message on quitting too soon.

Numbers 32:1-8 (NKJV)
32:1 Now the children of Reuben and the children of Gad had a very great multitude of livestock; and when they saw the land of Jazer and the land of Gilead, that indeed the region was a place for livestock, 2 the children of Gad and the children of Reuben came and spoke to Moses, to Eleazar the priest, and to the leaders of the congregation, saying, 3 "Ataroth, Dibon, Jazer, Nimrah, Heshbon, Elealeh, Shebam, Nebo, and Beon, 4 the country which the Lord defeated before the congregation of Israel, is a land for livestock, and your servants have livestock." 5 Therefore they said, "If we have found favor in your sight, let this land be given to your servants as a possession. Do not take us over the Jordan." 6 And Moses said to the children of Gad and to the children of Reuben: "Shall your brethren go to war while you sit here? 7 Now why will you discourage the heart of the children of Israel from going over into the land which the Lord has given them? 8 Thus your fathers did when I sent them away from Kadesh Barnea to see the land.

Unwilling to Continue

Here we see the days just before the Israelites crossed over the Jordan and into the Promised Land.  They are poised on the very edge of the promise of God.  They’re set up to step inside their inheritance.  This is the land that God promised to Abraham so many years before. 

This is the land of Destiny for Israel.  This is what God had in mind for them when He delivered them from the bondage of Egypt.  This is the place He planned for them.  They had spent forty years wandering in the desert to finally enter into this land – The Land Flowing with Milk and Honey.

Moses had sent spies into the Promised Land and they came back with a report that was filled with unbelief, saying there are giants in the land and we are like grasshoppers in their sight and in our own.  The people cried all night, forgetting that God had promised it.  So God refused to allow them to enter in until that entire generation had passed away.

These in our text are not the generation who believed the bad report.  They weren’t the ones who had no faith, but there was something in their makeup that said to them, “This is good enough.”  They settled for the land that they were sitting on not even knowing whether or not there was better land in the land of promise.  They settled, they weren’t willing to fight for all that God had for them.  There was some flaw in their character that kept them from pressing in to see all of it.

Look at the life of Elijah for a moment.  Look at who he is:

1 Kings 17:1 (NKJV)
17:1 And Elijah the Tishbite, of the inhabitants of Gilead, said to Ahab, "As the Lord God of Israel lives, before whom I stand, there shall not be dew nor rain these years, except at my word."

So Elijah is a descendant of the men of Gilead.  He grew up in the customs and society of that people.  His ancestors were the ones who said, “We will settle for this land.” 

Look at one moment in Elijah’s life.  He’s defeated the prophets of Baal.  He’s turned the people to God once more.  He’s just prayed and God brought rain after three and a half years of drought, and Jezebel, King Ahab’s wife has threatened to kill him.  Look at his reaction:

1 Kings 19:1-4 (NKJV)
19:1 And Ahab told Jezebel all that Elijah had done, also how he had executed all the prophets with the sword. 2 Then Jezebel sent a messenger to Elijah, saying, "So let the gods do to me, and more also, if I do not make your life as the life of one of them by tomorrow about this time." 3 And when he saw that, he arose and ran for his life, and went to Beersheba, which belongs to Judah, and left his servant there. 4 But he himself went a day's journey into the wilderness, and came and sat down under a broom tree. And he prayed that he might die, and said, "It is enough! Now, Lord, take my life, for I am no better than my fathers!"

He’s just won a great victory for God but one threat from Jezebel and he wants to die, saying, “I’m no better than my fathers.”  He gave up…just like those who stopped at the Jordan River.  He wasn’t willing to fight any longer.  He wanted to die saying that he’s no better than his fathers.  He’s saying, “I will be like them.”  They wanted to quit rather than continue the struggle.    They fell short of the Promised Land, being unwilling to fight the battle that would give them the inheritance God had planned for them. 

We are also in danger of quitting too soon.  Life can be a real struggle for us, too, because there’s a real devil who opposes what God wants to do in us.  He wants to keep us from the victory of our inheritance and he will bring the battle to us.

Standing Strong in the Battle

There will be a battle for the promise of God to come to fruition in your life.  Look at Paul’s testimony for a moment:

2 Corinthians 12:7-10 (NKJV)
12:7 And lest I should be exalted above measure by the abundance of the revelations, a thorn in the flesh was given to me, a messenger of Satan to buffet me, lest I be exalted above measure. 8 Concerning this thing I pleaded with the Lord three times that it might depart from me. 9 And He said to me, "My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness." Therefore most gladly I will rather boast in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me. 10 Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in needs, in persecutions, in distresses, for Christ's sake. For when I am weak, then I am strong.

Paul is talking about revelation that comes from God.  God is revealing things to Paul that have, up until then, been kept secret.  They’ve never been revealed before, and what does he face?  A messenger from Satan.  Some commentators believe that this is the stress of the opposition that he faced in Corinth.  Satan had brought the battle to him and he cried out for deliverance three times.  God spoke to him and said, “My grace is sufficient for you.”

So, Paul sees victory in his suffering and struggle.  Jesus will be in him when he suffers.  That’s why he says, “When I’m weak then I’m strong.”  When he’s at his place of greatest weakness then the power of Jesus is strongest in him.  It’s not in his own power that he fights the battle; it’s in the power that Jesus gives him.  He can find victory in Jesus.

How can we continue on when Satan attacks us with persecution and distress?  Not in our own power but in Jesus’ power.  That word that’s translated as buffet means to rap with the fist.  This is a special attack that is set aside just for you.  It’s a personal attack from Satan.

What’s interesting is that Paul doesn’t quit because of these attacks, even when he’s an old man in prison.  He endured to the end.  He fought the good fight.  He has the victory and if we persevere we will also have the victory.  I want you to think about this, though.  Every victory must have a battle associated with it.  There can be no victory if there’s no adversary.  There’s no victory if there’s no struggle.  We have victory when we overcome!

The Gileadites didn’t have victory.  They didn’t have what Paul had; they didn’t see the full promise of God for their lives, because they quit too soon.  They settled for too little.  I’ve known so many people who wanted to see God’s promise.  They came, they believed God…but then the battle begins – You know if you’re just coming to church once in a while, if you’re not involved in what God’s doing in the church’s activities, or you’re not giving and supporting the church – If you’re not trusting God for His help – If you’re not doing those things, there’s no battle with the devil, because you’re no threat to him.  As far a he’s concerned your life has no power.  In that case, you’re a Gileadite, because you’re settling for what you already have rather than fighting for everything that God wants for you.

People like this look at others in the church and see them with the victory, in spite of the battles that they go through, and you think to yourself I wish I had that in my life.  Well, they’ve fought for that victory.  They’ve contended for what God wants to do in their lives.  They grabbed hold of the promise of God, like the Israelites who crossed over the Jordan.  The Gileadites settled, “This land is good enough, why press on.  If you settle you’ll never know the victory that comes fro a hard fought battle.  If you’re not willing to contend for the destiny that He has for you, you’ll never set foot in that land of Promise.  You’ll always be on the outside and wondering, “Why don’t I fit in?”  People settle for what’s easy to achieve and never know what God can do with their lives, because they never give him the opportunity.  They quit too soon.

Finding Destiny

The Gileadites finally agreed to join in the battle for the Promised Land. 

Numbers 32:20-22 (NKJV)
32:20 Then Moses said to them: "If you do this thing, if you arm yourselves before the Lord for the war, 21 and all your armed men cross over the Jordan before the Lord until He has driven out His enemies from before Him, 22 and the land is subdued before the Lord, then afterward you may return and be blameless before the Lord and before Israel; and this land shall be your possession before the Lord.

So, the men of Gilead went to war alongside the Israelites and the land that they had chosen was given to them.  When Moses died God took him up on the mountain to show him the Promised Land.

Deuteronomy 34:1 (NKJV)
34:1 Then Moses went up from the plains of Moab to Mount Nebo, to the top of Pisgah, which is across from Jericho. And the Lord showed him all the land of Gilead as far as Dan,

Because they stepped into the battle God gave them their inheritance, and Gilead is named as a part of the Promised Land.  The ended up with their destiny, and if you will rise up and fight the battle then you will also know your destiny.

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