Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Between the Mountains

Thursday, July 24, 2014
 Then Joshua built an altar to the Lord, the God of Israel, on Mount Ebal.  He followed the commands that Moses the Lord’s servant had written in the Book of Instruction:  “Make me an altar from stones that are uncut and have not been shaped with iron tools.”  Then on the altar they presented burnt offerings and peace offerings to the Lord.  And as the Israelites watched, Joshua copied onto the stones of the altar the instructions Moses had given them.  Then all the Israelites—foreigners and native-born alike—along with the elders, officers, and judges, were divided into two groups.  One group stood in front of Mount Gerizim, the other in front of Mount Ebal.  Each group faced the other, and between them stood the Levitical priests carrying the Ark of the Lord’s Covenant.  This was all done according to the commands that Moses, the servant of the Lord, had previously given for blessing the people of Israel.  Joshua then read to  them all the blessings and curses Moses had written in the Book of Instruction.  Every word of every command that Moses had ever given was read to the entire assembly of Israel, including the women and children and the foreigners who lived among them.       Joshua 8:30-35 (NLT)
I’ve attended some long worship services, but nothing like this one.  Joshua read the entire Book of the Law (Genesis thru Deuteronomy) in one sitting…well, more accurately, one standing.  Reading aloud at normal speed it would take about 7 or 8 hours to read through the first five books of the Bible.  That had to be one “pooped preacher” by the end of the day!
And what of the people?  There were no padded pews, no soft rocks upon which to nod-off at appropriate intervals.
But this was not an ordinary gathering. 
Previously Israel’s warriors had gotten creamed because God’s instructions had been ignored.  The little village of Ai had demolished the Israelite army due to one soldier’s greed.  This worship gathering was after that soldier was dealt-with, and then Ai defeated. 
God’s people were now gathered to re-focus everything on serving God…in God’s way.  Joshua read all the history and “begats” of Genesis, all the drama of Exodus, all the law of Leviticus, all the repetition of Numbers and he read every command of Deuteronomy. 
If you skip ahead to the next chapter you find that the travelling nation of Israel was about to face a coalition of armies from the whole region.  It was to be their stiffest test of faith yet.  They needed to hear from heaven!
Our lesson:
When you’re going up against the enemy, get your God-focus right!
For You, Today
The truth is you ARE going to face the enemy this (and every) day!
So answer the question before the sleep is cleared from your eyes; have I got my God-focus today? 

The Word of God – don’t leave home without it!

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