Reading For Thursday Joshua 24:14-31
Joshua rehearses all that God has done for his people and sets up his call to follow and obey. All that Joshua was saying lead to a challenge to serve in sincerity and faithfulness. This meant they must put away other gods and worship God alone. God is always exclusive, and he does not share his glory with anyone. The people of Israel had to choose whom they would serve. Joshua left no question as to where he and his family stood on this issue. They would serve God. The assembly responded in a determined way. God brought them to the land, performed many signs and wonders, and had preserved these people in a myriad of circumstances over the years. He had driven out the inhabitants of the land before Israel, so the Israelites formally committed themselves anew to serving him.
Joshua took it up a notch and raised the bar of commitment to a higher level reminding the people that God was holy and jealous God who would not tolerate their inconsistency. If they turned from serving God to serving other gods, God would turn against them. Disobedience turns covenant blessings into covenant curses. The people repeat their intention to serve God as they declared that they were witnesses against themselves. Any later calamities which overtook Israel for covenant unfaithfulness could not be blamed on God.
Joshua called the people to demonstrate that their hearts were inclined to God by putting away their false gods. Joshua wrote down these words in the Book of the Law of God. The fact that Joshua was permitted to add words of any kind to a sacred book indicates that the people regarded him as a prophet of God what Joshua wrote was immediately regarded as Scripture. To mark the spot of this covenant renewal, Joshua set a large stone under a tree. The sanctity of the location went back to the time of Abraham (Gen 12:6). The stone was a silent witness to the words of the Lord which Joshua had just spoken. Joshua died at the age of 110 (the same as that of Joseph whose final burial is mentioned in the following verses) and was called the servant of God. Scripture records that Israel served God all the days of Joshua and all the days of the elders who outlived Joshua. It was a tremendous testimony of Joshua's faithfulness to God and his people.
Thing To Consider:
- Is it possible to serve the Lord and be wrong?
- What idols do we serve today?
- What idols do you need to put away to demonstrate your desire to follow God exclusively?
- How can we encourage others to serve the Lord?
- Who has encouraged you by their life of faithfulness? Have you thanked them?