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May 2, 2021 | Doug Sauder
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“Then Joshua built an altar to the Lord, the God of Israel, on Mount Ebal. He followed the commands that Moses the Lord’s servant had written in the Book of Instruction: ‘Make me an altar from stones that are uncut and have not been shaped with iron tools.’ Then on the altar they presented burnt offerings and peace offerings to the Lord. And as the Israelites watched, Joshua copied onto the stones of the altar the instructions Moses had given them. Then all the Israelites—foreigners and native-born alike—along with the elders, officers, and judges, were divided into two groups. One group stood in front of Mount Gerizim, the other in front of Mount Ebal. Each group faced the other, and between them stood the Levitical priests carrying the Ark of the Lord’s Covenant. This was all done according to the commands that Moses, the servant of the Lord, had previously given for blessing the people of Israel.”—Joshua 8:30–33 (NLT)
Have you ever said to yourself, “I will wait until the right time to __________.” For some people, that blank is filled in with get married, have kids, or go back to school. We put things off until we’re confident and secure; we wait for this mythical perfect moment that may or may not ever come.
Coming fresh off the heels of Israel’s conquest of Ai, there was still a fair amount of unrest for the people of Israel. And yet, instead of waiting until everything was done and taken care of, even before all the people were settled in, Joshua confirmed the covenant with the Lord before all the people. To Joshua, the right time to build an altar of worship and present sacrifices and peace offerings to the Lord was right now. Matthew Henry put it this way, “As soon as Joshua got to the mountains Ebal and Gerizim, without delay, and without caring for the unsettled state of Israel, or their enemies, he confirmed the covenant of the Lord with his people, as appointed.”
What an example this should be to us, dear friends and fellow brothers and sisters! The time to lift up and honor the Lord, the time to praise Him for what He’s already done and is currently doing, and offer up worship for what we in faith expect that He will do . . . that time is always RIGHT NOW! Henry continues, “We must not think to defer covenanting with God till we are settled in the world; nor must any business put us from minding and pursuing the one thing needful. The way to prosper is to begin with God.”
Are you going through a trial right now? Don’t wait until it’s over to praise the Lord and reaffirm the glorious covenant He made with us through Christ . . . praise Him now in the midst of it for the work He is doing—even the work you can’t yet perceive or understand in the midst of your trial—and for the ultimate and imminent victory He is weaving in your life. Are you facing “trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword?” Don’t wait until you perceive the conquering to be complete; make an altar in this very moment because even now as the battle wages on, even now as things seem in disarray and completely unsettled . . . even now “in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us” (Romans 8:35–37 NIV).
DIG: Why do people so often want to wait until circumstances are “perfect”? What is the reason for waiting for what we perceive to be the “right time”?
DISCOVER: How have you seen this principle at work in your life or the life of someone you know?
DO: Regardless of where you are in your life or what’s going on, right now lift up honor and praise to the Lord. Reaffirm in your heart that amazing, glorious covenant of grace you’ve received from Him through Jesus Christ.
Danny Saavedra has served on the staff of Calvary since 2012, managing the Calvary Devotional and digital discipleship resources. He has a Master of Arts in Pastoral Counseling and Master of Divinity in Pastoral Ministry from Liberty Theological Seminary. His wife Stephanie, son Jude, and daughter Zoe share a love of Star Wars, good food, having friends over for dinner, and studying the Word together as a family.