Thank You, Lord, that Your Word brings truth and life. May I receive it today.
Read Joshua 8:30–35
The Covenant Renewed at Mount Ebal
30 Then Joshua built on Mount Ebal an altar to the Lord, the God of Israel, 31 as Moses the servant of the Lord had commanded the Israelites. He built it according to what is written in the Book of the Law of Moses—an altar of uncut stones, on which no iron tool had been used. On it they offered to the Lord burnt offerings and sacrificed fellowship offerings. 32 There, in the presence of the Israelites, Joshua wrote on stones a copy of the law of Moses. 33 All the Israelites, with their elders, officials and judges, were standing on both sides of the ark of the covenant of the Lord, facing the Levitical priests who carried it. Both the foreigners living among them and the native-born were there. Half of the people stood in front of Mount Gerizim and half of them in front of Mount Ebal, as Moses the servant of the Lord had formerly commanded when he gave instructions to bless the people of Israel.
34 Afterward, Joshua read all the words of the law—the blessings and the curses—just as it is written in the Book of the Law. 35 There was not a word of all that Moses had commanded that Joshua did not read to the whole assembly of Israel, including the women and children, and the foreigners who lived among them.
New International Version (NIV)Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
ReflectDo you identify with God’s Word or the world’s message?
At the theological college where I teach, the annual graduation is a grand event. Academic successes are celebrated. Future ministries are announced. People gather to witness the milestones that have been achieved.
The gathering in the valley near Mount Ebal was such a milestone event for the people of Israel. Having secured the territory surrounding Jericho and Ai, Joshua moves north to the center of Canaan. The location is significant. It is where the Lord appeared to Abraham and gave His promise of a land (Genesis 12:6, 7).
Note the actions of Joshua. He builds (30), writes (32), and reads (34). Joshua fulfills what Moses had commanded prior to Israel entering the land (Deuteronomy 27:1–8). The people are reminded of their identity. They are God’s holy and distinctive people, who live according to His Word.
And who participates in this ceremony? Not just Israel but ‘foreigners’ (33, 35). How amazing! God’s plan to bless the nations (Genesis 12:3) is under way.
Reflect that as part of the local church, ‘You are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation…’ (1 Peter 2:9, NIV). How can you help your local church accomplish this calling?
Lord, I pray for my church’s life and witness, that we may declare Your praises to the world around us.