Summary: Jesus told the Pharisees that, "If these should hold their peace, the stones would immediately cry out." I wonder, what sort of story would a stone tell us, if it suddenly discovered a voice of its own?
A. This passage has often been misinterpreted that, should the people hold their peace, then the Lord would cause the very stones to begin to praise Him.
1. In Matt. 3:9 and Luke 3:8, we find John the Baptist preaching in the wilderness; he declares “...That God is able of these stones to raise up children unto Abraham.”
B. In the text that we’ve read, however, Jesus says “the stones would immediately cry out.”
1. This is the Aramaic term meaning “to call out loud, to speak with a loud voice”
a. This scripture, then, is not speaking of stones that begin to worship God, should we refuse, but is speaking of stones that begin to call out to us with a loud voice.
C. So, if we kept silent and refused to worship, I wonder: What stories could the stones tell?
II. The Witness Stone
A. Josh 24:26-27 And Joshua wrote these words in the book of the law of God, and took a great stone, and set it up there under an oak, that was by the sanctuary of the LORD. 27 And Joshua said unto all the people, Behold, this stone shall be a witness unto us; for it hath heard all the words of the LORD which he spake unto us: it shall be therefore a witness unto you, lest ye deny your God.
1. This stone was established as a witness against the children of Israel.
a. Joshua has led the people for many years; he is now in the twilight moments of his life.
b. Through the countless miles and through the years of his leading Israel, Joshua has seen them become distracted, and then drawn away, by the false gods of the nations around them.
(1) He has seen Israel suffer distress, disease, and defeat.
(2) He has been witness to Israel’s deliverance, their demands, and their denial of the One True God.
(3) Yet he has seen their blatant refusal to learn from their mistakes.
c. Hence, Joshua has a full understanding of what will quite probably happen upon his leave of life.
(1) Therefore, he takes this stone—the Stone of Witness—which has stood within earshot of his exhortation
2. If the stones were indeed to “cry out”, what story could the Witness tell?
a. Perhaps it would instruct us in Joshua’s instructions to the people, and their overly zealous response to his charge:
(1) “Nay, but we will serve the Lord!”
(2) “The Lord our God will we serve, and His Voice will we obey.”
b. Then the stone would move on to the next chapter of its story, only one generation removed, and tell us:
(1) “...and there arose another generation after them, which knew not the LORD, nor yet the works which he had done for Israel. 11 And the children of Israel did evil in the sight of the LORD, and served Baalim: 12 And they forsook the LORD God of their fathers, which brought them out of the land of Egypt, and followed other gods, of the gods of the people that were round about them, and bowed themselves unto them, and provoked the LORD to anger. 13 And they forsook the LORD, and served Baal and Ashtaroth. (Judg 2:10-13)
3. The story of this stone would be one of tragedy; a story of a nation that once knew the blessings of GOD, yet had turned their back on Him, and had suffered the consequences.
III. Jacob’s Stone of Bethel
A. Gen 28:18-22 And Jacob rose up early in the morning, and took the stone that he had put for his pillows, and set it up for a pillar, and poured oil upon the top of it. 19 And he called the name of that place Bethel: but the name of that city was called Luz at the first. 20 And Jacob vowed a vow, saying, If God will be with me, and will keep me in this way that I go, and will give me bread to eat, and raiment to put on, 21 So that I come again to my father’s house in peace; then shall the LORD be my God: 22 And this stone, which I have set for a pillar, shall be God’s house: and of all that thou shalt give me I will surely give the tenth unto thee..
1. What a story Jacob’s stone could tell; it was only meant to serve as Jacob’s pillow at the end of a weary trip, but instead became an anointed stone—the pillar of Beth-el, meaning “House of God”.
a. Jacob had traveled long through the day; the sun was sinking on the horizon and Jacob knew he could travel no more.
b. His trip intended to take him from Beer-sheba to Haran.