“…they offered on it burnt offerings to the LORD and sacrificed peace offerings. 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.” – Joshua 8:31b-32
Scripture reading: Joshua 8:30-35
The altar Joshua built on Mount Ebal wasn’t the first altar to Yahweh in this part of Canaan. Both Abram (Genesis 12:6-8) and Jacob (Genesis 33:18-20) built altars to Him at Shechem, which is right between Mt. Ebal and Mt. Gerizim.
That history was probably one of the reasons the LORD chose this place for this worship service. Geography was another reason: Mt. Ebal and Mt. Gerizim were also close to the very centre of the land of Canaan. He said, “I want you to go to that place, in the heart of this land, where Abram and Jacob confessed their faith and set up an altar to Yahweh. In public worship, I want you to testify before all the gods and all the people of Canaan that Yahweh has done all that He promised, that He has given you this land as an inheritance and that the worship of His Name has been established in the land.”
In the shadow of the stones on which Joshua had written the law of God, Israel showed their thankfulness to Yahweh by offering burnt offerings and rejoiced in their fellowship with Him by offering peace offerings.
This is what our worship today is all about: before the world and in the company of His people, we will offer ourselves to Him in thankfulness and commit ourselves to live in obedience to Him, because He is our God and we are His people, and in Christ, He has redeemed us and given us an eternal inheritance.
Suggestions for prayer
Ask the Holy Spirit to help you worship the Lord in thankfulness, to consciously and intentionally present yourself to Him as a living sacrifice and to sincerely submit your life to His Word.
Rev. Dick Wynia is currently the minister of the Vineyard Canadian Reformed Church in Beamsville, ON.