Joshua 8:30-35: Remembering the Law
Read: Joshua 8:30-35
After the battle of Ai, Joshua and the people of Israel set a time for remembering the law. Joshua built an altar from a large, uncut stone as the law instructed them to do (Exodus 20:24-25) and made sacrifices to the God. He also and wrote a copy of the law on it. After writing the law on the stone, he read the law aloud – every command, every blessing, and every curse. Joshua and the people were meticulous to follow the law in the procedure they did, they copied the law onto the stone, and they also read the whole thing allowed. The book Joshua goes the extra length, emphasizing the fact that Joshua read all of it in detail and that all heard it: men, women, children, and even foreigners living among them.
The people of God had seen what even a little bit of sin could do to them, and the time of remembering was a necessary thing to remember that God wanted their complete obedience to the law. Another time the entire law was read allowed in the presence of the people is found in Nehemiah 9. Here, the people of God remember the law and confess their sins to God. The law is read aloud. They recount God acting mightily among their ancestors during the days of Moses and Joshua and yet Israel still was stubborn and would not obey God. But they also recall God’s mercy and patience with Israel and they plead for it yet again (Nehemiah 9:32).
The New Testament explains that the law was given to make those who had it aware of their sin (Romans 3:20, Romans 7:7). It gives knowledge to what is sin and becomes a “tutor” or “schoolmaster” in the sense that it leads one to Christ and realizes that one must be justified by faith (Galatians 3:24). Paul continues to argue that there is no difference between Greeks or Jews, slave or free, male or female – the condition is all the same. When Joshua read the law, it was in the presence of everyone for the highest of the high to the lowest of the low. And there were even foreigners living among them. For Christians, remember the law makes one all the more aware of sin and how desperately one needs God’s grace, just as it did during the days of Joshua and the days of Nehemiah. Often times the law is overlooked in the scriptures, but reading through the law and hearing it is a good practice. If one’s heart is open to correction, it should have the same effect on Christians today as it has had on the people of God through all ages!
Lord, use your law to lead me back to you!