April 2019

VIEW FROM THE PULPIT               April 2019

THE STONES many people throughout the world hearing the expression “the Stones” would automatically think of the rock and roll band The Rolling Stones that for five decades have produced their brand of music.  One of their most popular songs is entitled “Satisfaction” and begins with the line “I can’t get no satisfaction”.  Although the grammar of that line is not good the sentiment it reveals is a common experience for many people in life.  King Solomon also felt frustration as he pursued various experiments in his life.  He sought satisfaction in pleasures and wealth, obtaining treasures peculiar to kings, 700 wives and 300 concubines, wine in abundance, the arts and many other things concluding each experiment with the comment “all is vanity (emptiness) and vexation (frustration) of spirit Ecclesiastes chapter 2.  At this Easter season I want to draw your attention to another significant mention of the stones.  Doctor Luke wrote in Luke 19: 36 And as he went, they spread their clothes in the way.37 And when he was come nigh, even now at the descent of the mount of Olives, the whole multitude of the disciples began to rejoice and praise God with a loud voice for all the mighty works that they had seen;38 Saying, Blessed be the King that cometh in the name of the Lord: peace in heaven, and glory in the highest.39 And some of the Pharisees from among the multitude said unto him, Master, rebuke thy disciples.40 And he answered and said unto them, I tell you that, if these should hold their peace, the stones would immediately cry out.

Only Luke tells us of the words that Jesus spoke concerning the stones.  This took place at Bethphage (house of unripe figs) and was in accordance with Zechariahs prophesy in Zechariah ch 9 Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion; shout, O daughter of Jerusalem: behold, thy King cometh unto thee: he is just, and having salvation; lowly, and riding upon an ass, and upon a colt the foal of an ass.  The cry Hosanna at Bethphage was premature, he had not come to reign but to die on a cross, a rejected king.  The timing of this appearance at Bethphage was critical.  Daniel had prophesied the very day that the Lord would come to Jerusalem to die.  In chapter 9 of his prophesy he revealed that 70 weeks were determined by God upon the Nation of Israel.  Divided into three sections 7, 62 and 1.  These are not weeks of days, but of years.  Daniel ch 9 v 24 Seventy weeks are determined upon thy people and upon thy holy city, to finish the transgression, and to make an end of sins, and to make reconciliation for iniquity, and to bring in everlasting righteousness, and to seal up the vision and prophecy, and to anoint the most Holy.25 Know therefore and understand, that from the going forth of the commandment to restore and to build Jerusalem unto the Messiah the Prince shall be seven weeks, and threescore and two weeks: the street shall be built again, and the wall, even in troublous times.26 And after threescore and two weeks shall Messiah be cut off.  Sir Robert Anderson in his book “The Coming Prince” calculates the time period from the going forth of the commandment to rebuild the wall of Jerusalem in Nehemiah’s day to the triumphal entry of Messiah into Jerusalem as 483 lunar month years.  This was not plan B but a plan that was determined before creation was formed, Calvary was not a mistake it was the determined will of God.  The cry Hosanna by the people was repulsed by the Pharisees and Christ’s answer that the stones would cry out if the disciples held their peace.  What stones did the Lord refer to?  Was it the plenteous stones that lay on the ground or some other stones. 

Reading the book of Joshua recently I noticed that the book commences with the mention of stones and closes with the mention of a great stone.  At the beginning of the book the children of Israel had come to the end of their 40 years journeying in the wilderness and were pitched on the east of the river Jordan near to Jericho (which is 5 miles from the Jordan).  Just as God separated the waters of the Red Sea to allow over 2 million people to escape the bondage and slavery in Egypt so too a vast company crossed the Jordan when again the waters were heaped up to allow them to pass through on dry ground.  Before doing so Joshua instructed that a man from each of the 12 tribes should pick up a large stone from the midst of the river bed and carry it on his shoulder to the promised land.  These 12 stones were erected as a pillar for a memorial to Gods great deliverance of the nation from Egypt to the promised land.  A memorial so that when their children asked them what the stones meant they could tell them the great story of their deliverance.  This pillar was raised at the place where they first encamped which was Gilgal (which means the rolling away of the reproach of Egypt) and marked the beginning of the conquest of the promised land.  Jericho was the first city to succumb to Joshua’s army.  The thick walls of Jericho are a picture of mans defiance to God but God caused those walls to fall flat and for Joshua to take the city.  How lovely to read that a harlot named Rahab was saved and her life transformed into a woman that could be used of God (read Matthew ch 1).  Joshua closes his book in chapter 24 by taking the 12 tribes to Shechem (Nablus) which sat between two mountains Gerizim and Ebal.  Joshua challenged the nation to continue to serve the Lord after his own death.  He exorted “Choose you this day whom ye will serve” they said that they would serve the Lord.  So Joshua wrote the words in a book and he erected a great stone under an oak tree in Shechem for a witness to their commitment.

Was it the stones at Gilgal and Shechem that would cry out?  I don’t know!  One thing I do know is that a life that serves the risen Lord is a life of true satisfaction.

God bless,               

Stan Burditt