Have you ever had the feeling you are being watched? It’s a weird thing right? You can actually feel when someone is observing you. I sometimes try this out on my kids, just for fun. I stare at them while they are busy doing something – you know the sort of stuff kids do, reading a book, playing a game, crocheting a hat, practising a guitar, throwing their possessions about the place… you know the sort of stuff. My gaze is sometimes ignored to begin with but if I hold it there long enough they eventually feel it. They become aware of my watching and will respond – sometimes by meeting my gaze and smiling, sometimes with a whiney “what??”. It’s fascinating to me that they can sense it.
But did you know that you are in fact being watched? Did you know that you are surrounded by a permanent audience who are spectating on every move you make and listening in on every word you speak? And I’m not talking about big brother. Some of these observers are the people around you – your family, friends, neighbours, colleagues, but not all of them.
My journey through Joshua reaches its conclusion today as Joshua and Joseph’s bones finally get buried in the promised land. Honestly, I was stuck for ages to know what to draw on this page, or for that matter to know what to take away from it in terms of application, but I kept being very amused by “this stone”. Before Joshua dismissed the people, each to their own inheritance, he reminds them of what God has said and done. Then he takes a large stone and places it under an oak tree;
“See!” he said to all the people. “This stone will be a witness against us. It has heard all the words the Lord has said to us. It will be a witness against you if you are untrue to your God”. Joshua 24:27
Now my understanding of geology, albeit very limited, is that rocks don’t actually have ears or eyes or brains, and so in terms of holding you accountable this is probably more symbolic than literal. The power of the symbol is more about the stone being a prompt to remind the people, so that when they see it they recall God’s word, just like pile of stones back in chapter 4 and the copy of the altar that the eastern tribes erected in chapter 22. Now I’m always up for a good visual prompt, my house is full of them – jewelry, scarves, paintings, postcards, giant fake diamond (no really), I think it is why bible journaling works so well for me. If I can see it, I can remember what God said. But I love how Joshua takes it a step further here and almost personifies this rock. It actually made me think of the trolls in the Disney movie, Frozen – they may look like ordinary boulders on first glance but…. It also reminded me of what Jesus said when he rode into Jerusalem on a donkey about how if the people didn’t praise Him then the very stones would cry out! Oh and that the bit in Isaiah 55 where it describes the mountains and hills bursting into song and the trees applauding! What a glorious concept.
Romans 8:19 says “For the creation waits with eager longing for the revealing of the sons of God.”
I love the thought of rocks and trees and oceans and hills watching, listening, waiting as God’s epic story is written through history. It’s like they are holding their breath – subject like us to the curse of the fall, trapped in decay and death and futility. The bible says the world is groaning with longing for the day when Jesus comes back and they will be free. Then they’ll join in with our worship, the hills singing, the trees clapping and rocks crying!
I had such a lovely walk back from the school drop off this morning – I love the cool October air, the bright blue sky decorated with fluffy clouds and the glorious trees showing off their brilliant autumnal foliage – creation is always speaking, telling us about its clever creator. What an amusing thought today though, as I wander past in wonder, to think that it is watching me back.
Thanks so much for taking the time to read. I hope you have a great week and that all the rocks and trees you pass get to see you show off God’s goodness! Love Rach x