By Michael Smith
A Reading from Joshua 8:30-35
30 Then Joshua built on Mount Ebal an altar to the Lord, the God of Israel, 31 just as Moses the servant of the Lord had commanded the Israelites, as it is written in the book of the law of Moses, “an altar of unhewn stones, on which no iron tool has been used,” and they offered on it burnt offerings to the Lord and sacrificed offerings of well-being. 32 And there, in the presence of the Israelites, Joshua wrote on the stones a copy of the law of Moses that he had written. 33 All Israel, alien as well as native-born, with their elders and officers and their judges, stood on opposite sides of the ark in front of 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, as Moses the servant of the Lord had commanded earlier, that they should bless the people of Israel. 34 And afterward he read all the words of the law, blessings and curses, according to all that is written in the book of the law. 35 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 aliens who resided among them.
In the process of taking possession of the promised land of Israel, Joshua pauses to remember the law of God which is to be the guide for their new life in obedience to God. Joshua “read all the words of the law, blessings and curses, 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.” This is reiterated by Psalm 119, a portion of which was prayed today at Morning Prayer. Psalm 119 is basically a 176-verse psalm in praise of the law of God, the commandments of God, the decrees of God, the statutes of God, the word of God.
The Catechism of the 1979 Book of Common Prayer teaches that the Holy Scriptures are called “the Word of God because God inspired their human authors and because God still speaks to us through the Bible” (BCP 853). An ancient spiritual practice known as lectio divina is making a comeback in the lives of ordinary Christians these days. Lectio divina is a prayer practice more than simply a study of the Scriptures. It is about reading, pondering, praying, and resting in the presence of God through a sacred text. What is God saying to you through a prayerful reading of the Bible?
“Your word is a lantern to my feet and light upon my path” (Ps. 119:105).
Michael G. Smith served as bishop of North Dakota for 15 years and is currently the Assistant Bishop of Dallas. He works with the Navajoland Iona Collaborative and is a Benedictine Oblate and an enrolled member of the Citizen Potawatomi Nation.
To receive a TLC Daily Devotional in your inbox each morning, click here.
Daily Devotional Cycle of Prayer
Today we pray for:
The Diocese of Maseno East – The Anglican Church of Kenya
The Diocese of Virginia