I would like to name the theme of today’s chapter in Joshua as, “Obedience to the Word of God is the secret to success”
In the previous chapter, we read that Achan was greedy for the accursed things among the spoils of their enemy, and he took and kept them in his tent (Joshua 7: 20 – 21).
Achan’s greed and disobedience to God caused the Israelites to be defeated in the first round of attack against Ai, and 36 men were killed (Joshua 7: 4 – 5)
Had Achan heeded the Word of God and waited, he could have all the spoils he wanted, but he ignored the command of God and went on ahead to fulfill his desires, thus losing everything, including his own life (Joshua 7: 24 – 26)
And the Lord commanded us to observe all these statutes, to fear the Lord our God, for our good always, that He might preserve us alive, as it is this day.
Then it will be righteousness for us, if we are careful to observe all these commandments before the Lord our God, as He has commanded us.
Deuteronomy 6: 24 – 25
Achan’s disobedience not only caused his own and his whole family’s lives, but also the lives of 36 Israelites. Whereas the obedience of Joshua allowed Israel to slaughter 12,000 of the enemy and possessed their livestock and spoil! (Joshua 8: 25 – 27)
So we need to understand that all that God plans, and all that God wants us to do are for our benefits always. There is nothing to lose but everything to gain if we keep His Word.
Joshua built an alter, according to Moses’ command, to offer sacrifices to the Lord after they have crossed over the Jordan,
Therefore it shall be, when you have crossed over the Jordan, that on Mount Ebal you shall set up these stones, which I command you today, and you shall whitewash them with lime.
And there you shall build an altar to the Lord your God, an altar of stones; you shall not use an iron tool on them.
Deuteronomy 27: 4 – 5
This command reminds us to always remember to give thanks to God, never give credits to ourselves when we managed to achieve certain things; for without God, we can do nothing.
The command to build the alter using stones that are not being fashioned by iron tools reminds us again to obey God, and most importantly to do all things according to His commands.
Joshua also did according to Moses’ command to read out the blessings and cursing on Mount Gerizim and Mount Ebal respectively.
These shall stand on Mount Gerizim to bless the people, when you have crossed over the Jordan: Simeon, Levi, Judah, Issachar, Joseph, and Benjamin; and these shall stand on Mount Ebal to curse: Reuben, Gad, Asher, Zebulun, Dan, and Naphtali.
Deuteronomy 27: 12 – 13
The purpose of this command was to assure the Israelites about the blessings of God when they heed His Word, and to warn the people of the curses they would have to face if they were to ignore His commands.
This was not a mere ceremony, but was a serious and real reminder for the security and well being of the people.
The Church is an assembly of people called out from the world, a people redeemed by the Blood of Christ. But being the people of God living in the world that is under the sway of the devil, we need to be cautious and to beware of the ploys of the enemy.
The temptations from the devil and our own human pride can pull us away from the bosom of God; therefore it is very important for us to know and to keep the Word of God in our hearts.
The Word of God does not consist of only faithful promises and sweet assurances from God, but it also spells out the warnings of the serious consequences of not heeding the Word of God.
Therefore in the Church of God, there must be a balance of sermons or encouragements that assures the congregation of the steadfast love of God, and also to rebuke and give warnings with the Word of God.
It is truly a great blessing that the Holy Bible has been preserved and given to us. So let us be diligent to read and to study the Holy Bible, and more importantly is to do the commands of God contained in the Holy Bible.
Tonight will be the starting of our Year End Spiritual Meeting, let us all go into the House of God to feast on His Word for the coming 3 days.
May God bless us with wisdom to understand His Word, and to give us the strength in the Holy Spirit to do all that He has commanded!