This Stone of Witness
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.
When Joshua came to the end of his life, he called the elders of Israel together to give them a challenge to serve the LORD after he died. He understood that they would have to choose to continue to serve the LORD despite him being gone. He understood that many people serve the LORD because of a personality instead of the LORD, so he wanted to challenge them to switch their focus from him to God because he knew that they would continue to serve the LORD if they kept their focus on God.
However, there was one critical thing that Joshua did to help these people remember their promise to God. Joshua wrote the words he spoke in a book and then took a great stone and set it under an oak tree as a reminder to Israel of the promise they made. He said, this stone shall be a witness unto us. Now, what did he mean by these words?
First, this stone was God. Ephesians 2:20 says, And are built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief corner stone; Notice that Jesus is the chief corner stone. In other words, the way to keep your focus on serving God is to keep Christ as your foundation for everything you do. When you build everything on Christ, it won’t matter what man does or does not do because that is inconsequential to who you are serving. Nothing will move you from serving the LORD when you keep Him as your focus and foundation for everything you do for God.
Second, this stone was the altar. You will notice that Joshua did not set up a little pebble or rock as a reminder, but he picked up a great stone. You need to make the altar big in your life. Those who make little of the altar call will likely make little of the decisions they should have made in the preaching. There is something about going to the altar that helps to seal the decisions you make during the preaching. The stone that Joshua set up was a reminder every time someone saw it of the decision they made to serve the LORD. Likewise, the altar is a reminder every time you see it of the decisions you made for God at that altar. Using that altar during the invitation is vital to sealing the decisions that God spoke to you about during the preaching.
My friend, the altar is a place you ought to make regular in your life. Joshua told these men earlier in the same conversation to choose you this day whom ye will serve. He was saying that you need to make these decisions regularly if you are going to continue serving the LORD. If you only use the altar one time, you will quickly forget the decisions you make for God. There is something about going to the altar every time you have an opportunity to remind yourself of the decisions or to make decisions for the LORD.
Let me ask you, when was the last time you used the altar during your church invitation? The altar is a place where we commit to serve the LORD. The altar is a place for remembering the decisions we have previously made and recommitting to those decisions every time we use it. The altar is a place where we get refocused on Who we are serving. It does not matter how old or young you are; every person should use the altar. The altar is for all ages of people, and it is the older generation’s opportunity to teach the younger generation how to serve the LORD.