Summary: Sometimes getting our spiritual lives back on track is as simple as listening to God and doing what we know is right to do.
Text: Joshua 8:30-35
Title: “Back To The Basics”
I. We Must Come Back To God (30-32)
• In order for Joshua to build an alter to God on Mt. Ebal, He had to lay down his own plans.
o After Israel had defeated Jericho and Ai, they now controlled the east-west route that divided Palestine in half.
o Militarily the next step would be to move south and conquer the fortified cities in the mountains.
o Instead Joshua and the Israelites head 25 miles northwest to Mt. Ebal.
• Joshua and the people were beginning to see the connection between obedience and blessing; following God and being successful, especially after their first defeat at Ai.
o Often God has us go out of our way or He removes us totally from our current situation in order for us to make things right with God and get our focus back on Him.
o Sometimes it is as simple as coming and praying at an invitation, but other times it means a total change in lifestyle.
Matthew 16:24-26 -- 24 Then Jesus said to His disciples, “If anyone wishes to come after Me, he must deny himself, and take up his cross and follow Me. 25 “For whoever wishes to save his life will lose it; but whoever loses his life for My sake will find it. 26 “For what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world and forfeits his soul?
• Sometimes following God and doing what is right is so very simple and often it is something we have done before.
• Joshua was doing exactly what he had been told to do.
o This was also something the people had just done with Moses just prior to entering the Promised Land.
o It doesn’t seem like a great thing for God to ask His people to take time to worship Him and give prominence to His word.
o Often you hear people say I want to do great things for the Lord, which is a good intention, but God wants us to first do the basic things and get that right.
II. We Must Keep God In The Center (33)
• We see half the tribes on Mt. Gerizim and the other half on Mt. Ebal with the Ark of the Covenant standing in the center.
o 6 tribes on Mt. Ebal were to declare the curses for disobedience and 6 tribes on Mt. Gerizim were to declare the blessings of obedience.
• What is the only thing separating from either being cursed or blessed? It is the presence of God in the center.
o What a beautiful illustration of our lives.
o In order to pass from cursing into blessing we must enter into God’s presence and trust His way.
Jeremiah 17:5, 7 -- 5 Thus says the LORD: “Cursed is the man who trusts in man And makes flesh his strength, Whose heart departs from the LORD.
7 “Blessed is the man who trusts in the LORD, And whose hope is the LORD.
• The problem for the children of Israel and for us today, is not that they didn’t want to avoid the curses for disobedience; it was the fact that they could not avoid them.
o Just like they had to, so too must we trust God’s solution the sacrifice of God, Jesus Christ.
o (Aside: notice on which mountain the alter was placed (vs.1) Mt. Ebal.)
Galatians 3:13 -- 13 Christ has redeemed us from the curse of the law, having become a curse for us (for it is written, “Cursed is everyone who hangs on a tree”).
III. We Must Put God’s Word Forward (34-35)
• It is the truth of God’s word that goes forward to convict hearts and change lives.
o This is where the people began and it was the word that was going to keep them on track during their conquest.
• Also notice who was there listening.
• Vs. 35b
o The word of God wasn’t just for the elders, or the priests, or the heads of the households; it was for everyone.
• Getting back to the basics, when we get off track sometimes we just need to go back to what we know is right; Following God no matter what, putting Him at the center of our lives, and letting the word of God lead us in all things.