At that time Joshua built an altar to the Lord, the God of Israel, on Mount Ebal, just as Moses the servant of the Lord had commanded the people of Israel, as it is written in the Book of the Law of Moses, “an altar of uncut stones, upon which no man has wielded an iron tool.” And they offered on it burnt offerings to the Lord and sacrificed peace offerings. And there, in the presence of the people of Israel, he wrote on the stones a copy of the law of Moses, which he had written. And all Israel, sojourner as well as native born, with their elders and officers and their judges, stood on opposite sides of the ark before the Levitical priests who carried the ark of the covenant of the Lord, half of them in front of Mount Gerizim and half of them in front of Mount Ebal, just as Moses the servant of the Lord had commanded at the first, to bless the people of Israel. And afterward he read all the words of the law, the blessing and the curse, according to all that is written in the Book of the Law. There was not a word of all that Moses commanded that Joshua did not read before all the assembly of Israel, and the women, and the little ones, and the sojourners who lived among them. Joshua 8:30-35.
After winning a great battle, which was something of a grudge match after the last battle, it would be easy to get caught up in your satisfaction and glory. But Joshua keeps them on message. He builds an altar, inscribes it with God’s laws, and reminds all the people, right down to the children of God’s blessings and curses for disobedience.
Many Christians exult in victory after an election goes their way, or a supreme Court pick succeeds, but forget the thing we are called to do FIRST: preach the gospel and make disciples. Instead we get revenge and make enemies. We rub their noses in it. I do understand this, but it is a temptation. Let us not forget to convert our enemies.
The Lord said to Joshua, “Get up! Why have you fallen on your face? Israel has sinned; they have transgressed my covenant that I commanded them; they have taken some of the devoted things; they have stolen and lied and put them among their own belongings. Therefore the people of Israel cannot stand before their enemies. They turn their backs before their enemies, because they have become devoted for destruction. I will be with you no more, unless you destroy the devoted things from among you. Get up! Consecrate the people and say, ‘Consecrate yourselves for tomorrow; for thus says the Lord, God of Israel, “There are devoted things in your midst, O Israel. You cannot stand before your enemies until you take away the devoted things from among you.” Joshua 7:10-13.
When you take the things that are devoted to destruction, you become devoted to destruction. We, in our individual rights orientation, find this to be harsh and unfair. In God’s divine perspective, His people belong to Him. He has given them this land to cleanse from the idolatry of the Canaanites. By indulging in idolatry while doing so needs to be judged harshly.
There is so much God is letting us get away with right now. But the day of reckoning is coming. The earth is devoted to destruction. When we love it more than we love Him, we are practicing idolatry, and we become devoted to destruction.
Now Jericho was shut up inside and outside because of the people of Israel. None went out, and none came in. And the Lord said to Joshua, “See, I have given Jericho into your hand, with its king and mighty men of valor. You shall march around the city, all the men of war going around the city once. Thus shall you do for six days. Seven priests shall bear seven trumpets of rams’ horns before the ark. On the seventh day you shall march around the city seven times, and the priests shall blow the trumpets. And when they make a long blast with the ram’s horn, when you hear the sound of the trumpet, then all the people shall shout with a great shout, and the wall of the city will fall down flat, and the people shall go up, everyone straight before him.” So Joshua the son of Nun called the priests and said to them, “Take up the ark of the covenant and let seven priests bear seven trumpets of rams’ horns before the ark of the Lord.” And he said to the people, “Go forward. March around the city and let the armed men pass on before the ark of the Lord.” Joshua 6:1-7.
This really happened. I will just leave a link today to an article in Answers in Genesis.
At that time the Lord said to Joshua, “Make flint knives and circumcise the sons of Israel a second time.” So Joshua made flint knives and circumcised the sons of Israel at Gibeath-haaraloth. And this is the reason why Joshua circumcised them: all the males of the people who came out of Egypt, all the men of war, had died in the wilderness on the way after they had come out of Egypt.
Though all the people who came out had been circumcised, yet all the people who were born on the way in the wilderness after they had come out of Egypt had not been circumcised. For the people of Israel walked forty years in the wilderness, until all the nation, the men of war who came out of Egypt, perished, because they did not obey the voice of the Lord; the Lord swore to them that he would not let them see the land that the Lord had sworn to their fathers to give to us, a land flowing with milk and honey. So it was their children, whom he raised up in their place, that Joshua circumcised. For they were uncircumcised, because they had not been circumcised on the way.
The covenant of circumcision was given to Abraham. All males were to be circumcised on their eighth day or they would be cut off from God’s promises to Abraham’s descendents. For reasons that we don’t know, that generation that left Egypt excused themselves from their parental duty to insure that their sons are not cut off. Even Moses had blown this off while he was living in Midian as a figitive. God even threatened to kill him for not circumcising his own son.
Today we are part of God’s covenant through faith in Jesus Christ. And our children are not born knowing this! It is out duty as parents to share this knowledge of God’s covenant with our children.
For many parents, that obligation is fulfilled by bringing their children to church every Sunday. They believe the pastor or Sunday school teacher will do it for them. They entrust their child’s eternal destination to someone who may or may not know the way themselves.
The people came up out of the Jordan on the tenth day of the first month, and they encamped at Gilgal on the east border of Jericho. And those twelve stones, which they took out of the Jordan, Joshua set up at Gilgal. And he said to the people of Israel, “When your children ask their fathers in times to come, ‘What do these stones mean?’ then you shall let your children know, ‘Israel passed over this Jordan on dry ground.’ For the Lord your God dried up the waters of the Jordan for you until you passed over, as the Lord your God did to the Red Sea, which he dried up for us until we passed over, so that all the peoples of the earth may know that the hand of the Lord is mighty, that you may fear the Lord your God forever.” Joshua 4:19-24.
God did not give us a faith to hold privately and secretly. It has always been confessional. We are to declare His glory and goodness. We tell what the Lord has done for us. It is not impersonal and scientific, as if the truth of God could be contained in a doctoral dissertation. He is within each of us who believe, and we tell people.
We talk all day long about so many things: politics, football, American Idol, the things and people that annoy us. Is God really doing nothing in your life? Or maybe you’re not giving him anything to work with. Rediscover His commands and start to obey them. He will act. Then you can tell about it.