Growing with God: A daily devotional with Tonia Slimm.
Moses and the elders of Israel commanded the people: “Keep all these commands that I give you today. When you have crossed the Jordan into the land the Lord your God is giving you, set up some large stones and coat them with plaster. Write on them all the words of this law when you have crossed over to enter the land the Lord your God is giving you, a land flowing with milk and honey, just as the Lord, the God of your ancestors, promised you.
Moses commanded the leaders of Israel and charged the people: Keep every commandment that I command you today. On the day you cross the Jordan into the land that God, your God, is giving you, erect large stones and coat them with plaster. As soon as you cross over the river, write on the stones all the words of this Revelation so that you’ll enter the land that God, your God, is giving you, that land flowing with milk and honey that God, the God-of-Your-Fathers, promised you.
“Then Moses and the elders of Israel commanded the people, saying, “Keep (remember, obey) all the commandments which I am commanding you today. So it shall be on the day when you cross the Jordan to [enter] the land which the Lord your God gives you, that you shall set up for yourself large stones and coat them with plaster (lime, whitewash). You shall write on the stones all the words of this law when you cross over, so that you may go into the land which the Lord your God gives you, a land [of plenty] flowing with milk and honey, just as the Lord, the God of your fathers has promised you.” -AMPLIFIED
This section of the book of Deuteronomy gets into implementing the covenant made between God and the people of Israel. We find Moses once again advising the Israelites that they had best keep all of God’s commands. The Law of God was to be established and remembered in the land that God was giving to them.
Moses then moves on to the need for the people to set up an altar, visual monument, as a point of reference of the laws of the Lord their God. This monument would be a constant reminder to them of the covenant that has now officially been made between the Jehovah and the present generation of Israel.
Moses tells the people exactly what they needed to do. “When you cross the Jordan into the land the Eternal your God is giving you, set up some giant stones and whitewash them with lime. Write each word of this law on them when you cross the Jordan to enter the land He is giving you….” Deuteronomy 27:2-3a (VOICE)
The word “altar” is used in this passage. It usually refers to a place where one would present a sacrifice, in Hebrew it literally means “slaughter place”. In this instance though, it was not to be a place of sacrifice, but a place of memory; a memorial. This would be a place that the people could return to time-and-time again to remember this covenant that they had entered into with the Lord their God.
The people were to take large stones and set them up into a memorial. These stones were to be covered in plaster and on the plaster the words of the Law were to be written. Once they had done preformed that duty to the Lord, then Moses goes on in the following verses on what they were required to do, “So when you’ve crossed the Jordan, erect these stones on Mount Ebal. Then coat them with plaster. Build an Altar of stones for God, your God, there on the mountain. Don’t use an iron tool on the stones; build the Altar to God, your God, with uncut stones and offer your Whole-Burnt-Offerings on it to God, your God. When you sacrifice your Peace-Offerings you will also eat them there, rejoicing in the Presence of God, your God.” -Deuteronomy 27:4-7 (MSG)
This was to be a very solemn and reflective time; for the people needed to etch into their minds the importance of what they were doing. This monument and this altar were to be a place that they could come back to and remember the contract that they were making with God. They needed to commemorate this encounter with God so that it was firmly imprinted and ingrained into their minds and hearts.
Moses and the Levites speak to the people, “Keep silent, and listen, Israel! Today you’ve become the Eternal’s very own people, and He’s become your God; so listen to the voice of the Eternal your God and obey the commands and regulations I’m giving you today.” -Deuteronomy 27:9-10 (VOICE)
Throughout Scripture we find references of people setting up places of memorial; places were they could return to and remember how God had touched their lives and changed them. We too need to set up figurative spiritual memorials; places where we can return to and remember who we were before and who we are now because of the grace of God in our lives.
Lord, help me to remember those times special times that you have touched and changed my life. Too often I forget things that I should remember; moments of when you have healed me, molded me and transformed me. Help me to hold those times sacred in my heart and have a spiritual memorial in which I can return to to remember. Lest I forget; remind me, dear Lord.