Exodus 28:15–30, Ezekiel 36:24–30, Luke 3:7–9, Luke 19:37–40
“I’ve done too much.”
“God would never forgive me.”
“I would be [struck by lightening/catch on fire/combust/die] if I walked through the doors.”
“If you (or God) knew what I had done…”
Have you heard any of these statements from people?
It is so completely human to not understand God’s amazing grace. It is even more human to not accept it.
The stones representing the tribes of Israel were only a mere representation. Yet, as the story of Exodus continues into Lamentations into Judges, the people of Israel often seem to have brains and/or hearts of stone. How sad! We all, at times, have hearts of stone. Look how we treat one another. Our hearts could easily be stone (metaphorically, of course).
The metaphor of a heart of stone has a couple of facets. The first, facet is that stone does not “live”. The implication being that we aren’t living as God intended. We are dead. The second facet is a heart that does not feel. One of the biggest struggles that humanity faces is compassion and grace. As the comments at the beginning show, we often have neither compassion nor grace for ourselves, and then we treat others the same. The third facet and God’s greatest concern is that a heart of stone has no active part in God or God’s will.
Ezekiel’s words were intended to show that God was willing (and planning) to change things up. The Holy Spirit was coming.
John’s words to the descendents of Israel alluded to Ezekiel’s words but even touches on the place of the stone tablets upon which the 10 commandments were written. For the descendents, there would also be an attack on their pride. THEY were the chosen of God. John pokes a huge hole in their pride. God doesn’t need them (he still wants them). The stones the walk on could be as worthy as them. They would have felt that in their bones.
During Jesus’ triumphal entry into Jerusalem, stones come up again. Instead of merely being prideful due to heritage, Jesus talks about stones giving praises to God. Were the hearts of the leaders so dead that they could no longer give praise and glory to God? That’s the implication. Yet people wonder if God has a place for them? If God can make stones into “true” descendants of Abraham and into people who praise and glorify God, then why not?
1) What lies have you heard people tell you (but mostly themselves) as to why God would not accept them?
2) What can you do to change the narrative about God and the overwhelming grace of God?
3) What do you do to keep your heart from being so concerned about “God’s work” that your heart becomes hard toward God?