With Ai’s defeat Israel is once again feeling on top. Not it is time to perform an act that Moses called for from them. They are to recommit themselves to God’s ways.
In Deuteronomy 27 Moses commands the people to build an altar on Mt Ebal. There they will renew their commitment to the Covenant with the Lord. They are to read the blessings and curses and make a new copy of the Law. It is time for that to happen now.
Moses called for this to happen the day they crossed the Jordan. Apparently that God’s meant a “season” not an exact calendar date. This was the perfect season for Israel to do just that.
God had moved miraculously to bring the people across the Jordan. He did unheard of things with their battle with Jericho. He had forgiven their sin after exacting justice on Achan. He had given them victory where defeat once stood. And now they would renew their commitment with Him by going over His Law once again.
We are not told how long it took to complete this task. It was a big undertaking. First they had to construct an altar for the Lord. Then the WHOLE congregation had to be divided into two parts and stationed on the two mountains; one representing the blessings while the other represented the curses. Then Joshua had to copy down EVERY character in the Law. Finally Joshua was to read it in its entirety to the people.
The transcription Joshua was to do wasn’t something he could take home and work on in his leisure. He was to complete it in the presence of the people. This prevented him from altering ANY of God’s words. THIS was the ONLY way God would take them. They couldn’t pick and choose which commandments to follow. They couldn’t skip over the tough parts of His Law. They couldn’t hang onto the blessings and ignore the curses. If nothing else, their defeat at Ai the first time proved this out.
God wanted 100% of His people’s hearts and this is where they promised it to Him again. He asks for the same 100% from us. No, we don’t live under the Law any longer. And we are not bound by the blessings and curses listed in Deuteronomy 28. But we are still required to accept ALL of His stipulations; lock, stock and barrel.
His requirements include:
- Believing that He is God
- He made the universe by His hands
- He made man to be special unto Him
- Man fell short through sin
- EVERY man falls short
- He sent His Son, Jesus Christ to make a way for us to be reconciled with Him
- Jesus Christ IS the Son of God made flesh to dwell with us
- Jesus’ substitution work on the cross was complete
- God raised Jesus from the dead on the third day to be the “Firstborn” of many brothers
- God rewards those who diligently search Him
- He has prepared a place for those who love Him in Heaven
- There IS a reckoning and Jesus is the ONLY way to be reckoned to Him
God calls us to accept these truths. If we reject them He will reject us. As important as it was for Israel to follow His Laws it is even more important for us to accept all He says. After accepting these truths God also calls us to live by the commandments Jesus gave us.
- Love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, and strength
- Love your neighbor as yourself
These two commandments are NOT how we are saved but the evidence of the change in our hearts because of being saved; adopted by Him. Commit to Him as surely as Israel did that day on the mountain.
One thing I can tell you for certain is that you will not be perfect in all you do. Israel, with ALL the miracles and ALL the determination they could muster couldn’t manage it and neither can we. BUT we have a Father in Heaven who is faithful to forgive us and help us start again anew with Him. He LOVES you and wants the BEST for you.
Father God, thank You for loving me. I don’t know why You went to so much trouble for me but I am MORE than grateful! I want to live my life reflecting my gratitude. Not as some way to earn Your favor and my way into Heaven but because I LOVE You and want to please You. I want to give You my life completely! 100%!
Thank You Father that You offer me forgiveness when I fail in this. Thank You Holy Spirit for reminding me and turning my heart back when I lose my way. Thank You Jesus for providing THE way back to my Father. I’m SO looking forward to spending time in Your presence. I can’t wait to see what our bench looks like!