For everything that was written in the past was written to teach us, so that through the endurance taught in the Scriptures and the encouragement they provide we might have hope. Romans
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When Israel had finished killing all the inhabitants of Ai in the open wilderness where they pursued them, and all of them to the very last had fallen by the edge of the sword, all Israel returned to Ai and struck it down with the edge of the sword.
And all who fell that day, both men and women, were 12,000, all the people of Ai.
But Joshua did not draw back his hand with which he stretched out the javelin until he had devoted all the inhabitants of Ai to destruction.
Only the livestock and the spoil of that city Israel took as their plunder, according to the word of the LORD that he commanded Joshua.
So Joshua burned Ai and made it forever a heap of ruins, as it is to this day.
And he hanged the king of Ai on a tree until evening. And at sunset Joshua commanded, and they took his body down from the tree and threw it at the entrance of the gate of the city and raised over it a great heap of stones, which stands there to this day.
At that time Joshua built an altar to the LORD, the God of Israel, on Mount Ebal,
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
This time Israel was careful to do exactly as they were told. It’s sad that we are so self-oriented it takes the extreme measure to bring us to obedience to the Word. We are privileged to have the grace of God through Christ’s sacrifice. A sacrifice was required, the ultimate sacrifice has been given. For this we have the promise of living in the ‘promised land’ of abundant life given through Christ. We still have personal life issues to battle and they often require a sacrifice but God gives the victory – he hands the city over to us. At that point we must always give thanks and take the time to remember His Words, His goodness, His mercy, His love.
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