“… all that is written”

Over the last few days we have been reading about the conquests of the Israelites after they crossed the Jordan. The account of the conquest of Jericho is well known and the way the walls fell down. Then there was a setback in achieving what had appeared to be an easy task in conquering the nearby smaller town of Ai. A surprising reason came to light; there had been disobedience with a stealing of the spoils in the conquest of Jericho. The Israelites learnt a hard lesson. A second attempt to conquer Ai succeeded.

It is most illuminating to note what Joshua then did; “he built an altar to the LORD, the God of Israel, on Mount Ebal” (8:30), and they made “offerings to the LORD and sacrificed peace offerings” (verse 31) and Joshua “wrote on the stones a copy of the law of Moses” (verse 32) which would have been the ten commandments. But not content with that, “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” (verses 34,35).

It is obvious to us why he read “all that is written” – it was so that the failure they had recently experienced would not be repeated! Also, that they would be inspired with a “vision” in their minds of the wonder of the God they served and the long term future of their nation.

This is the reason why we read God’s words every day. It is more essential than ever for God’s word to be in our minds to “inspire” us to face each day with a ‘vision of things unseen’. Look at the words we read in Isaiah today! “God is my salvation; I will trust, and will not be afraid … with joy you will draw water from the wells of salvation. And you will say in that day, ‘Give thanks to the LORD, call upon his name, make known his deeds among the peoples … Sing praises to the LORD, for he has done gloriously …’” (12:2-5). He has done – but will do even more gloriously. Isaiah later writes, “… no eye has seen a God beside you, who acts for those who wait for him. You meet him (& her) who joyfully works righteousness, those who remember you in your ways” (64:4,5).