Stones are useful. We see three stones being selected as David’s weapon when he goes against Goliath (1 Samuel 17:40). At Easter, we remember how the stone that covered Jesus’ temporary tomb was rolled away when He came back to life (Matthew 28:2)!
Stones are also used to remember things. After they crossed the river on dry ground, Joshua directed the Israelites to take 12 stones from the middle of the river and set them up on the bank as a memorial for their children about what God did for them (Joshua 4:7). In our Easter Basket Sunday (it was hiding in the dryer – thanks, Mom and Dad!) we got a smooth stone that says, “Pray More; Worry Less.” I placed it on the kitchen counter to help me remember to do just what it says. It’s basically my new slogan.*
Yesterday morning the devotional reading from YouVersion’s Living the Surrendered Life plan (Kris picked out this plan for us to read together) was about how “Worry is…our inability to trust [God] to do what He says He will do…”
God asked Abraham to sacrifice his son Isaac. This would have worried me if I didn’t know the rest of the story, but Abraham said, “My son, God will provide himself a lamb for a burnt offering” (Genesis 22:2 & 8). Abraham was trusting God.
Of course, God does provide a ram on the mountain (pretty much the same as a lamb) and, as a result, “Abraham called that place The LORD Will Provide” (Genesis 22:13 & 14a).
I think Naomi**, in the book of Ruth, knew that the One True God was also called Jehovah Jireh. Naomi’s name means beautiful, agreeable. Naomi certainly remains beautiful and agreeable in the events of the whole book of Ruth, but I’m going to focus on just the turning point where she hears something important and acts on what she hears. Naomi’s husband and sons have all died, and it’s just her and her two daughters-in-law living in a foreign country. She and her family had previously left their homeland of Bethlehem when there was a famine.
Then [Naomi] arose with her daughters-in-law that she might return from the country of Moab, for she had heard in the country of Moab that the Lord had visited His people by giving them bread. (Ruth 1:6 NKJV)
Naomi acts only on what she hears and what she hears goes along with what we (and probably she) know about the character of God– “that the Lord had visited His people by giving them bread.” In other translations (NIV) it says that the Lord “provided.” The “Then” makes no room for worry – only resolve that she will return to Bethlehem and trust Jehovah Jireh – that “The Lord will provide” and “see to it.” Naomi had to trust God not only in terms of food, but in regard to her relationships, home, and grief – spiritual, emotional, and physical needs.
How quick are we to trust God?
How consistent are we in trusting God?
Let’s be more like Naomi and Abraham and trust God right away to provide. Let’s do what my little stone says too, “Pray more; worry less.”
Our prayers against worry can be like the stone David threw at Goliath. Victory!
“The heartfelt and persistent prayer of a righteous man (believer) can accomplish much [when put into action and made effective by God—it is dynamic and can have tremendous power].” (James 5:16b AMP)
It turns out that Naomi gets to be the great, great, great, etc. earthly grandmother of Jesus Christ who frees us from fear and takes care of our sins (the ultimate lamb provision that the Lord provided!) when He comes back to life and the stone is rolled away.
“For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.” (2 Timothy 1:7 KJV)
Looking back over our lives, we can be like the Israelites looking at the memorial stones from the middle of the river. We can remember as we look ahead – The Lord is our Provider!
Special thanks to Kelly for some of the Scripture reference ideas about how God provides. The verse images were created with YouVersion’s images. Thanks for reading!
**If you aren’t familiar with Naomi’s story, check out the very short book of Ruth, or digitally rent the very long 1960 movie called “The Story of Ruth.” It’s one of my favorite movies (and love stories)!
Featured Image – totally staged – but the stone really is on my counter.