Joshua 8:30-35

Then Joshua built on Mount Ebal an altar to the LORD, the God of Israel, as Moses the servant of the LORD had commanded the Israelites. He built it according to what is written in the Book of the Law of Moses—an altar of uncut stones, on which no iron tool had been used. On it they offered to the LORD burnt offerings and sacrificed fellowship offerings. There, in the presence of the Israelites, Joshua copied on stones the law of Moses, which he had written. All Israel, aliens and citizens alike, with their elders, officials and judges, were standing on both sides of the ark of the covenant of the LORD, facing those who carried it—the priests, who were Levites. Half of the people stood in front of Mount Gerizim and half of them in front of Mount Ebal, as Moses the servant of the LORD had formerly commanded when he gave instructions to bless the people of Israel.

Afterward, Joshua read all the words of the law—the blessings and the curses—just as it is written in the Book of the Law. There was not a word of all that Moses had commanded that Joshua did not read to the whole assembly of Israel, including the women and children, and the aliens who lived among them.

Maybe this passage, people will talk more about the word of God here. Yet, there is one aspect that this passage illuminates in front of me. Look there, it says that there was not a word of all that Moses had commanded that Joshua did not read to the whole assembly of Israel. The word of God is meant to be known and understood and interpreted in its entirety. It is meant to be read, all of the words in the bible. What does it mean? The first thing is that Joshua did not shun away from difficult stuff from the word of God, and he even read out the curses. He did not skip it or rationalise the difficult parts. This draws us to one thing. Do we marginalise the passages that we dun like or disagree? Do we treat the word in its whole entirety? I know of people who faithfully read the bible but there are just some aspects of the bible and God that they refuse to take note, choosing to focus on the more pleasing part. Take for example, it is often comforting to know that The LORD our God is a loving God and He is merciful and gracious. This is something that the bible is very clear about and we like it a lot. But how about when it comes to the fact that God is a holy God? Do we treat His holiness the same way we treat His love and grace? Then how about the fact that He is a father and will discipline? We choose to think that He will shower so much love that He will not rebuke us? Some cannot accept how a loving God can let people suffer or punish people who sin. Sometimes, it's just the matter of looking into the bible and read it in its entirety and in context. In this passage, when the word was being read, it was read to all, meaning that all of the laws were expected to be obeyed by all the people. This does show how complete and absolute God expects us to know His word.

But naturally, if we really want to know God, we will need to know what He had said and what He had written (though He did not write anything in the bible that we know today but instead He inspired the authors). Take for example again, if I want to know more about Lee Kuan Yew, I will naturally go and read his memoirs so that I will know his thought processes. If I want to know more about JK Rowling, naturally I can find out much about how she writes and her style from reading Harry Potter. If you claim that you want to know God and grow in your relationship with God, you have to know His words. It's just like how you can claim that you know your girlfriend but never know what she has written in her love letter to you. An essential part in knowing God is in knowing His word. Jesus demonstrated that in the gospels, particularly through the 40 days in the desert. Paul demonstrated that in his epistles, showing that he can make sense of Jesus and God through his knowledge of the Torah. The author of Hebrew demonstrated it also.

So we need to know God's word, and in all its entirety. It has to become an important and integral part of our Christian life. Let's pray that God will continue to help us make sense of the difficult passages in the bible so that we can better appreciate them.


  1. Who cares about a fake ‘Ark of the Covenant.’ Stephan Huller has an academic article coming up which proves that this:

    is the original Episcopal throne of Alexandria, mentioned in the Acts of Peter the Patriarch, Origen, Clement and other sources and dated to the first century.

    I read the book. I loved it but I want to know what everyone else thinks? I think its very important but I am not an expert.

    His blog with additional information is

    Maybe you can tell me if this for real.


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