It was with clean and contrite hearts that Israel followed the Lord’s command to go against Ai in battle. This time, they were ready and their victory was sure because the Lord was on their side. After their victory, Joshua lead the nation to Shechem where the valley acted as a natural amphitheater in which He might read God’s word and remind the people of God’s Grace and His Law.
1. God’s grace
Josh. 8:30-31 “Then Joshua built an altar unto the LORD God of Israel in mount Ebal, As Moses the servant of the LORD commanded the children of Israel, as it is written in the book of the law of Moses, an altar of whole stones, over which no man hath lift up any iron: and they offered thereon burnt offerings unto the LORD, and sacrificed peace offerings.”
2. God’s Law
V32-35 “And he wrote there upon the stones a copy of the law of Moses, which he wrote in the presence of the children of Israel. And all Israel, and their elders, and officers, and their judges, stood on this side the ark and on that side before the priests the Levites, which bare the ark of the covenant of the LORD, as well the stranger, as he that was born among them; half of them over against mount Gerizim, and half of them over against mount Ebal; as Moses the servant of the LORD had commanded before, that they should bless the people of Israel. And afterward he read all the words of the law, the blessings and cursings, according to all that is written in the book of the law. There was not a word of all that Moses commanded, which Joshua read not before all the congregation of Israel, with the women, and the little ones, and the strangers that were conversant among them.”
LESSON - Notice in this passage that the Ark of the covenant was there representing God’s presence. By God’s Law their sins were revealed, but through the sacrifice upon the altar their sins were covered. Both had to be present in order for God to dwell in fellowship with His people. These were pictures of Jesus Christ whose sinless life would meet the requirements of God‘s Law and whose sacrifice would meet the requirements of our sin debt to provide God’s Grace. This should remind us that any victory we obtain in life is because of Jesus Christ!