Joshua Chapter 8 (ESV)
18 Then the Lord said to Joshua, “Stretch out the javelin that is in your hand toward Ai, for I will give it into your hand.” And Joshua stretched out the javelin that was in his hand toward the city. 19 And the men in the ambush rose quickly out of their place, and as soon as he had stretched out his hand, they ran and entered the city and captured it. And they hurried to set the city on fire.
Joshua Renews the Covenant
30 At that time Joshua built an altar to the Lord, the God of Israel, on Mount Ebal, 31 just as Moses the servant of the Lord had commanded the people of Israel, as it is written in the Book of the Law of Moses, “an altar of uncut stones, upon which no man has wielded an iron tool.” And they offered on it burnt offerings to the Lord and sacrificed peace offerings. 32 And there, in the presence of the people of Israel, he wrote on the stones a copy of the law of Moses, which he had written. 33 And all Israel, sojourner as well as native born, with their elders and officers and their judges, stood on opposite sides of the ark before the Levitical priests who carried the ark of the covenant of the Lord, half of them in front of Mount Gerizim and half of them in front of Mount Ebal, just as Moses the servant of the Lord had commanded at the first, to bless the people of Israel. 34 And 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. 35 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.
After the great victory at Ai, Joshua fulfilled a command given by Moses (Deut 27). Joshua set the people on two opposing mountainsides, and after sacrificing to the Lord, had them shout aloud the curses (disastrous consequences) of disobeying God’s law.
This ceremony established Jehovah as “the God of Israel” (v. 30) in the sight of the Canaanites as well as the Israelites. The people offered burnt and peace offerings on Mt. Sinai when God first gave the Law to Israel. Their offering again here recalled that previous incident and showed that this ceremony constituted a covenant renewal.
It is important for God’s people to declare their allegiance to His revealed will publicly among the unbelievers with whom we live. This helps them understand why we live as we do, and it brings glory to God when His people then proceed to live upright lives and demonstrate His supernatural power. A wedding ring similarly declares one’s commitment to their spouse publicly, and each one memorializes God’s leading and provision. Baptism and the Lord’s Supper are likewise memorials for Christians.
Prayer: Dear God in Heaven, I pledge my allegiance to You. I give You my life, my work and my heart. In turn, give me the grace of obeying Your every direction to the fullest possible extent. Amen.