Summary: how should we worship God?
God’s Chosen People the Israelites were freed from slavery from Egypt. God promised them a land filled with milk and honey but they wandered in the desert for 40 years because of their sinfulness. Only 2 people, Joshua and Caleb, remained alive from the original 2 million Israelites from Egypt after wandering in the desert. The next generation of Israelites, about 3 million now, came out of the desert with Joshua and Caleb.
God then led the Israelites under the leadership of Joshua to cross the Jordan River to claim the Promised Land, Canaan. The first city to claim was Jericho. God was with the Israelites by crushing down the walls around Jericho and instructed them by destroying the whole city and not take anything for their own. Sadly, one person, out of the 3 million Israelites, disobeyed God and stole from Jericho.
Joshua and the rest of the Israelites were oblivious to the sin committed that they went and attacked the next city of Ai. But at Ai, 3000 Israelite soldiers were killed! Joshua and all Israel thought and felt that they were doomed and even complained to God!
God disciplined Joshua and the Israelites for the sin committed and for their complaining! Joshua and the Israelites consecrated themselves, cleansed their hearts, and were victorious again!
Our Creator God is Holy and cannot have sin; but God loves people, therefore, God will discipline people away from sin. There will always be consequence for sin! God looks for cleansed heart!
How are things here in our “Promised Land” we call America? God has given us Jesus Christ to cleanse our hearts; Is Jesus Christ really in our hearts and are we aligning ourselves to His will?
Take a moment to quietly pray about this as we prepare learning more from the book of Joshua. Open your Bibles to Joshua 8, read along with me v30-35….
In general, what did Joshua and the Israelites do after the victory at Ai??
Joshua and the Israelites worshipped God after the victory at Ai!
How did they worship God?
v30-31a: They built an altar according to God’s Word through Moses (Deutoronomy 27). What did this altar look like? We note that they built an altar, a structure, out of uncut stones!
v31b: In worship, they made offerings to God and for each other.
They gave willingly with joy to God and gave to one another out of love and for fellowship!
v32: They worshiped God by affirming God’s Word and writing them down!
And what can we say about v33??
- Everyone focused on God for worship!
- God calls all people, no matter the ethnicity, to come to Him in worship!
v34-35: they worshipped God by listening to God’s Word as is!
There was no “manipulating” of God’s Word as they worshiped! There were no additions, extrapolations, funny stories, or other gimmicks to promote God’s Word!
What biblical Principles can we glean from this story of the Israelites with their first actions in their Promised Land?
1. God sees and knows everything! Even with 7 billion people in the world, God knows who sins and must discipline! God disciplines by bringing someone back to the truth and the right path which is love! Why is the world a mess? Why is our country a mess? Everyone, including you and me, sins! God of course knows this and God disciplines by calling everyone to believe and follow Jesus Christ as the Only Savior and God!