Joshua 24

Joshua 24 has the leader who followed Moses wrapping up his leadership by gathering all the people together for one last address.  It is a history lesson – a reminder of God’s faithfulness to His people.  “Long ago, your fathers lived beyond the Euphrates, Terah, the father of Abraham and of Nahor; and they served other gods. Then I took your father Abraham….and made his offspring many”.  God is reminding his people that He took one man and has created this nation of many and faithfully served them.  God has done this, and Joshua is calling on his people to remember.  We need to be sure we stop and do the same about our journey with a faithful God.

“I gave you a land on which you had not labored and cities that you had not built, and you dwell in them”.  God has provided.  He has done all that He promised Abraham in the covenant they agreed upon.  And Joshua is now reminding his people that they have to do their part to keep the blessing flowing.  “Now therefore fear the Lord and serve him in sincerity and in faithfulness. Put away the gods that your fathers served beyond the River and in Egypt, and serve the Lord”.  The temptation facing the people of Joshua’s time is exactly the same as for us.  There is a tendency to allow other things to take the place of God in our life.

Joshua challenges them to “choose this day whom you will serve, whether the gods your fathers served in the region beyond the River, or the gods of the Amorites in whose land you dwell. But as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord”.  These are famous words that call us to be intentional about how we live.  It is a choice we face day by day, hour by hour.  Who will we serve?  Who will be the Lord of our life?  Will we let something other than God take that place in our heart?  Of course the people replied “Far be it from us that we should forsake the Lord to serve other gods” but Joshua knew better.

So he warns them.  “If you forsake the Lord and serve foreign gods, then he will turn and do you harm and consume you, after having done you good”.  God has faithfully been blessing these people for generations, and yet temptation still pulls them away.  Joshua says “put away the foreign gods that are among you, and incline your heart to the Lord, the God of Israel”.  We have to separate ourselves from those things that pull us from God.  And that means we make intentional choices to put off the old.  Joshua leaves them with these words – he dies at the ripe old age of 110.  And his life is summarized with these words: “Israel served the Lord all the days of Joshua, and all the days of the elders who outlived Joshua and had known all the work that the Lord did for Israel”.  That is the sign of a great leader.  He kept the people on course and walking with God.  Well done Joshua!  Are there false gods you have allowed to get in the way of walking with God?  If so, time to get rid of them and get back on course!

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