Words of Faith 9-11-2020
Dr. Jeffrey D. Hoy © 2020
Faith Fellowship Church - Melbourne, FL
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 Then Joshua built on Mount Ebal an altar to the Lord, the God of Israel,  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.  There, in the presence of the Israelites, Joshua copied on stones the law of Moses, which he had written.  All Israel, aliens and citizens alike, with their elders, officials and judges, were standing on both sides of the ark of the covenant of the Lord, facing those who carried it--the priests, who were Levites. 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.
 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.  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 aliens who lived among them.
Israel had just won a brilliant victory against the city of Ai. What Joshua did next did not make any sense from a military standpoint. Instead of securing the central part of the land with more victories, Joshua paused.
Joshua stopped everything to build a place of worship and held a Bible reading marathon! Why? Well, mainly because the Lord had commanded it through Moses in Deuteronomy 27:1-8. Joshua had become acutely aware of the importance of following through on the directives of the Lord.
The place Joshua set up for worship was at the geographic center of the Promised Land. Just about all of the land could be viewed from the two mountains mentioned on either side of the valley. It was the perfect place to gather so many people. Here Joshua did three things.
First, Joshua set up an altar for sacrifices to the one true God. This was no longer a land of pagan worship. The offerings honored the Lord with the fruit of the land.
Secondly, Joshua set up large stones upon which the Law was inscribed. We do not know if this was just the Ten Commandments or perhaps the entire book of Deuteronomy. There are inscriptions on stone that are longer than the entire book of Deuteronomy, so this is very possible.
Finally, Joshua read aloud the Law to the people, including the blessings and curses in Deuteronomy. It would be significant at this time for them to hear the warnings as well as the promises of God as they moved into the land.
There is a powerful pattern here for us to observe and learn from.
People of faith need to realize that victory can be a dangerous time! A time of victory is when we are most likely to forget about the Lord. In the euphoria of triumph, we can lose sight of the One who has blessed us. The first defeat after Jericho had shown this clearly!
Joshua did not move on to the next battle in arrogant triumph. He paused and took the time to honor God. He paused and took the time to honor God's Law. He paused to remind the people of where the victory came from.
The times we might call a "spiritual high" can be the most dangerous of all in our walk with God. Coming off of a wonderful retreat or revival or other great time of victory can very well be a time when we forget the Lord and how He has won the victory. We can become overly confident, and this where an attack may come against us.
The reality is that in the busyness of our modern world, we often fail to pause and honor God. At times, victories are won by the Lord, and we hardly stop to take a breath. This is why patterns of regular worship and Sabbath are so important.
Holy habits are not legalisms to burden us. Patterns of worship build into us a regular pause to give thanks and reflect upon God's hand in our lives. If we work seven days a week, it is difficult to honor the Lord as our provider, and we give no witness to the Lord as the One who wins our battles.
How are you doing at giving pause? You don't have to inscribe the whole Bible on stones or read the entire book aloud. But these three things are powerful in concept. 1) Stop and give an offering to the Lord. 2) Stop and inscribe some Word upon your heart. 3) Stop and celebrate with God's people the truths of the Lord.
Lord, forgive me for running so fast that I do not acknowledge You. You are my redeemer and my friend. You are my champion and provider. No victory in my life has come outside of You. Show me this week the way You want me to honor You. Show me when to pause. Show me what to offer to You. Show me the power of Your Word. In Jesus' name.
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© Jeffrey D. Hoy 2005, 2020
Dr. Jeffrey D. Hoy - Faith Fellowship Church (EFCA)
2820 Business Center Blvd.
Melbourne, Florida 32940 (321)-259-7200
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The Words of Faith devotion is published five days a week by E-mail excluding Federal holidays. Please feel free to forward this devotion to a friend who might be blessed by this devotion. Unless otherwise noted, all Scripture is quoted from the New International Version (R) of The Holy Bible. Copyright (c) 1973, 1978, 1984 by International Bible Society. Used by permission of Zondervan Publishing House. All rights reserved. Words of Faith (c) 1997, 2010 Jeffrey D. Hoy. All rights reserved. Permission is granted to forward this copyrighted material or use portions of it with appropriate notation of the source for non-profit purposes.