1 Peter 2:4-5, “Come to the Lord Jesus, the “stone” that lives. The people of the world did not want this stone, but he was the stone God chose, and he was precious. You also are like living stones, so let yourselves be used to build a spiritual temple—to be holy priests who offer spiritual sacrifices to God. He will accept those sacrifices through Jesus Christ.”
The above picture is many moons ago with my family visiting Point Pelee in Canada.
There is a place in Canada we visited when we were kids. When my own kids were young, we also took them. It's called Point Pelee, a park in Leamington, Ontario. What's unique about this park is that once you're at the Nature Center there is a trail to walk. At the end of the trail, you come to an opening with a beach, with Lake Erie on the sides as the beach comes to a point. Over the years the point has been disappearing, from the wear and tear of the waves, but it is still there. What I've enjoyed is that on one side there is a wall of huge rocks. Rocks of all shapes and sizes that you can carefully walk over. The rocks are there to keep the crashing waves from covering the sandy area. On the other side of this pointed area is a quiet shoreline that you can walk along. Of course, as with all lakes there are many small stones that you can pick up, even collect. My kids always liked trying to pick up the perfect skipping stones.
Looking at the many big and small rocks it's easy to be drawn to the different shapes and looks as they have been weathered over time. Paul tells us that we are like living stones. At first, the thought of being a stone doesn't sound very appealing. They just lay there piled onto each other and many of the big rocks were rather dull looking. But when we begin to look deeper into the Bible, we can begin to see being called a living rock is actually a good thing.
Let's begin by looking at how rocks were used in the Bible. One of the many ways stones were used for was for altars. They weren’t special stones, just plain stones found along the paths walked by the people. But they were used in a significant way, more than just for cooking your food.
The altar of sacrifice: In Genesis 22:1-19 we read the story where God asks Abraham to sacrifice his long-awaited son on an altar. Although heartbroken, Abraham obeyed God making the journey with his son to the mountaintop. It was only at the last second God provided a ram instead to take Isaac 's place.
This event foreshadowed God sacrificing His only Son to take our place on the cross. Jesus was our ‘ram’, the Lamb of God and because of His sacrifice we no longer have to offer sacrifices like they did in the Old Testament.
How can we apply this to our lives? We can be a living sacrifice, our hearts, the alter. Daily, we can lay aside our own desires, to follow Jesus. Daily, we can give all our energy and resources to Jesus, to use for His purpose. We need to fully trust God's leading like Abraham, even if it seems impossible because the Lord will always provide.
The altar of remembrance: At all important happenings an altar was built so all who passed by would remember what God had done for them. Joshua 4 has a good story for this. It is the story of the Israelites crossing the Jordan River, which seemed impossible until they trusted God would provide and take care of them and He did.
Think about how many times you have prayed, and God showed up and answered your prayer. After that, how many times have you just moved on to the next prayer? We want to remember, but we so quickly forget how God provided for us.
We may not build our altars out of rocks anymore, but we can keep memorials in our hearts, remembering to thank Jesus for being present, and answering our prayers. What can we “build” to remember God's faithfulness. What can we do to help our children and their children remember God is active in our life and in their lives?
The altar of faith: There was a time that Israel was going through a terrible plague. King David decided to build an altar to the Lord praying on behalf of the land and people. God answered David's prayer and the plague stopped- 2 Samuel 24. Think about how much faith David had in God. If God didn't answer what would that do for the people who put their faith in him as king? David built the altar knowing and fully believing God would meet their need. As a result of faith, God showed up and a miracle took place.
Is your faith that strong? I know there are many times in my life that I need God to show up and act on my behalf. I believe this is true for all of us. As David once did, we should also lay down stones of active faith and watch God show up and act on our behalf.
As living stones, we have been selected and crafted for a purpose. Like my family picking the perfect stones for skipping across the water or to collect because of its unique design, color, or shape, we are chosen to become part of a beautiful structure where God has placed each stone deliberately with Jesus, our Cornerstone and made alive by the Holy Spirit.
Lastly, stones have been described as dead, dull, without life. Our promise, when we invite Jesus into our lives, is that we are born again through the living Word of God. We are like living stones. We are unique, weathered, lasting, precious, and permanent because of Jesus. Our altars showcase God's presence in our lives showing His work in our lives for generations to come.
I pray today and always; we build on Jesus our Cornerstone.
We are still studying our Learning to Walk with God Bible study. Hopefully you have been able to join me as we have been walking with many people from the Bible and have learned how they had to also learn to trust God and let God lead in their lives. When we walk with God in the lead things can be less complicated and when trials come up we are able to get through them because we know God is still taking care of us and will help us through. Join me today as we continue to walk with David learning repentance and restoration.
Study 7, Walking in repentance and restoration- https://www.docdroid.net/G02AGy6/week-7-docx
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