Saturday, March 12, 2011

Joshua and the Flow of Biblical History - Ch. 7

Chapter 7 - Mount Ebal and Mount Gerizim

I. Introduction

A. Last week covered battles of Jericho and Ai
B. This week Israelites are on the move again, north to Shechem
C. Lesson this week revisits a theme we discussed a couple of weeks ago, the Unconditional Promise and Conditional Promise

II. Short Geography Lesson

A. Mt. Ebal and Mt. Gerizim about 20 miles northwest of Ai
B. Town of Shechem lies between the two mountains
C. Mt. Ebal is north of Mt. Gerizim
D. Only about 500 yards separate the two mountains at their bases
E. Mt. Ebal is 3,007 ft. high, Mt. Gerizim is 2,895 ft. high
F. Later in Jesus' time this is the land of the Samaritans
G. Today it is in the "Left Bank" and home to the Palestinians

III. The Altar on Mount Ebal

A. Read Deuteronomy 27:4-7,11-26
B. Read Joshua 8:33-35
C. God commanded Mt. Gerizim to be marked mountain of blessing and Mt. Ebal mountain of warning (place of the curse)
D. Altar built on Mt. Ebal - symbolized that people would sin and need to come to God's altar for forgiveness
E. Altar was built from uncut stones (world's first "green" construction project)
F. Rough, uncut stones were to remind Israelites that nothing they could do would justify them before God
G. Paul, in Romans, teaches that the Jews tradegies occurred because they kept trying to come to God through the works of the law (represented by Mt. Gerizim) rather than through the altar on Mt. Ebal
H. Read Romans 9:31-10:4

IV. Keeping God's Commands

A. Altar was on mount of cursing because salvation can not come by man's keeping the law.
B. Unconditional promise is represented by the altar on Mt. Ebal
C. By going (accepting) to the altar (Jesus) we receive benefit of God's grace. We can do nothing to earn it, must only be willing to acknowledge we are sinner's, repent at the altar, and accept God's limitless gift of grace.
D. Conditional promise is based on adherence to God's laws. To truly receive God's blessing we must not only accept his unconditional gift of grace but also commit to following His laws. In keeping His laws we are blessed.
E. Read Matthew 7:24-27


(1) Joshua and the Flow of Biblical History, Frances Schaeffer, InterVarsity Press 1975

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