How often do we try to spruce up God’s appeal?
There have been movements over the past few decades and still today that have attempted to do just that (check those out here and here). They claim false truths about God in order to sell a message about God that isn’t true. When our attempts to dress God up overrides who God is, then we have a problem.
That’s why I love the account of the altar we’re studying today. We’re in the book of Joshua today looking at chapter 8. From our last blog post, as you’ll remember, we saw Moses and Joshua battling together against the Amalekites and receiving victory from God. Today, we meet Joshua as the new leader of the Israelites following Moses’ death.
After crossing the Jordan River and entering Canaan, Joshua fulfills the command from God that Moses laid out before he died. This command was to build an altar on Mount Ebal. God was specific in his command of how to build the altar; He commanded that the altar be made of uncut stones. In other words, whole stones. There was to be no wielding of iron tools on the rocks to form them into any particular shape or image. The stones were to be left untouched, unblemished.
Why was this significant and what application does this have for us today? Three words: God is enough.
The reason God commanded that an altar of stones be made of only whole, natural stones was for the benefit of the Israelites to maintain pure worship of God. You see, if a man had taken tools to the stones to shape them in a certain manner, the Israelites ran the risk of shifting their admiration and praise toward the altar-maker. Likewise, if the stones were adorned, the Israelites ran the risk of shifting their admiration and praise toward the beauty of the rocks themselves.
This is why the altar in this passage is so beautiful because it’s a reminder that God alone is enough. He doesn’t need to be adorned with anything to become more appealing; He doesn’t need us to cast our vision onto Him of what “God” should look like. He alone is enough.
He alone satisfies.
He alone loves unconditionally.
He alone forgives.
He alone saves.
He alone is holy.
He alone is God.
And because He fulfills all these traits and is all these traits, He alone deserves our praise.
Are you guilty of trying to enhance who God is? Friend, let those self-imposed enhancements fall. God doesn’t need anything else to be better because He already is better and already was better. Let this altar that Joshua built be a reminder that God alone is enough.
“For you are great and do marvelous deeds; you alone are God.” -Psalm 86:10