(Transcribed from Actual tape)
THE BLESSING AND THE CURSE
I told the earlier service that if I could take Jim Duncan and Willa
with me, uh ... I'd become an evangelist and all I'd have to do is give an
I know we look forward to her concert tonight in our evening service.
It is always a privilege to hear America's greatest Gospel Singer and
that's Willa Dorsey and she feels right at home among us.
As we begin, let's have a word of prayer together. "Father, we thank
you for the power of Thy Word as it is sung, as it is proclaimed, as we
read it, and as we hide it in our hearts. Lord, may we not just be
hearers but truly may we put our steps in behind your truth. Lord, you
speak and let me get out of the way so that now Thy Word and Thy message
aloin.e migbt njat- Gnly be heard but may it be received and understood and
incorporated into our lives for we make this prayer in the strong holy
name of our living Lord and Savior, this same Jesus. Amen."
The final event recorded in Joshua, Chapter 8, the 29th Verse tells us
of the capture of Ai and of the execution of the king of that city and
explains how the king of Ai was buried at the gate of that destroyed
city under a heap of stones. And then in the 30th Verse of that same
Chapter 8, suddenly and dramatically we have all of the children of
Israel now encamped at Shechem, and the instructions are clear, "Build
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an altar." Now, there's one problem with this transitional part between
Verse 29 and Verse 30. Shechem is 30 miles plus from Ai. This means
that Joshua had to take those two million plus inhabitants of Israel,
break camp at Gilgal and make that long trip to Shechem. And that,
indeed, at first reading is a strange, strange, unusual thing. Picture
it for a moment. Just see it in your eye. Here is Joshua leading all
the people there to the Northwest. On the right hand would be the
Jordan River. And on the left hand, after they'd walked for several
days, they could see Mt. Ebal and Mt. Gerizim, the two mountains that
surrounded the valley of Shechem. And then they would walk another 7
miles to the city of Samaria and then they would go from there to the
city, the village of Shechem.
Now, we need to remember that Shechem already is a very important place
in the story of the Hebrews. It was Abraham when he left Ur of the
Caldees; he came first to Shechem. And you remember that Joseph was
buried here at Shechem and it was at Shechem that Joseph paused when
taking a message to his brothers before he went on the Dothan and they
slo ... sold him into slavery and he ended up in Egypt. It was at Shechem
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