It was on this day that Israel, under the leadership of Joshua, the son of Nun, crossed over the Jordan River and erected the twelve-stone monument at Gilgal. This is recorded in the 4th chapter of Joshua:
Now the people came up from the Jordan on the tenth day of the first month, and they camped in Gilgal on the east border of Jericho. And those twelve stones which they took out of the Jordan, Joshua set up in Gilgal. Then he spoke to the children of Israel, saying: “When your children ask their fathers in time to come, saying, ‘What are these stones?’ then you shall let your children know, saying, ‘Israel crossed over this Jordan on dry land’; for the Lord your God dried up the waters of the Jordan before you until you had crossed over, as the Lord your God did to the Red Sea, which He dried up before us until we had crossed over, that all the peoples of the earth may know the hand of the Lord, that it is mighty, that you may fear the Lord your God forever.” (Joshua 4:19-24)
These twelve stones taken from the river bed were to serve as a testimony of what God had done for Israel, from the time they left Egypt until the day they crossed over into Canaan. Later, people would look at these stones and reflect on all that God had done. One would assume that this monument would provoke later generations to serve Him out of awe and gratitude. In other words, these stones spoke to those who would listen.
Centuries later, in the same area where these stones were set up by Joshua, John the Baptist came preaching repentance and baptizing those who responded to his message. His preaching also provoked the religious people of his day to pay him a visit. They didn’t come looking to be baptized but inquiring about his mission: “Are you a Elijah?” “Are you that prophet that should come?” “Are you the Messiah?” And to all of these queries, John said:
“Brood of vipers! Who warned you to flee from the wrath to come? Therefore bear fruits worthy of repentance, and do not think to say to yourselves, ‘We have Abraham as our father.’ For I say to you that God is able to raise up children to Abraham from these stones. And even now the ax is laid to the root of the trees. Therefore every tree which does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire.” (Matthew 3:7-10)
He was telling these religious people that, being born into the right family doesn’t guarantee entrance into God’s family of faith. If He wanted to, God could raise up children to Abraham from stones. The question then is, what stones was John referring to? Was he referring to stones that were scattered upon the ground or was he was referring to the stones that Joshua and the children of Israel had set up as a memorial for future generations? If the latter is the case, what was John’s point in calling attention to these stones? The memorial stones were intended to speak to those who would listen, bearing witness to God’s goodness and, consequently, our need for repentance.
That now brings us to another event that occurred on the 10th of Aviv. When Israel was preparing to leave Egypt, the 10th of Aviv was the day they were to bring a spotless lamb into their homes and inspect it and make sure that it was spotless. On the 14th day it was to be slaughtered and its blood placed upon the doorposts of their home. That blood would be the sign between them and God, prompting Him to pass over their homes and protect them from the destroyer.
We should not be surprised that, 1500 years later and on the same day, the Rabbi from Nazareth, Yeshua, came riding into Jerusalem on the foal of a donkey and as He did, the people cried:
Hosanna to the Son of David! Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord! Hosanna in the highest! (Matthew 21:9)
And so, on this day, Yeshua as was hailed and Savior and King by many of His disciples. That declaration, however, provoked the religious elites to anger. They chided Yeshua and demanded that He rebuke those who were proclaiming Him as king. His response was, “I tell you that if these should keep silent, the stones would immediately cry out” (Luke 19:40). God has used stones in the past and has alerted us to the fact that, if we do not declare that Messiah is King, He will use stones again. Let us purpose within our hearts that no stone will speak in our stead. Let us declare Him as King in our lives, our homes and nation. Be blessed.