Now Therefore

OPENING PRAYER

Lord, I pray to You: “Great is the Lord, and most worthy of praise; his greatness no one can fathom” (Psa. 145:3).

 

Read: JOSHUA 24:1–15

Then Joshua assembled all the tribes of Israel at Shechem. He summoned the elders, leaders, judges and officials of Israel, and they presented themselves before God.

2 Joshua said to all the people, “This is what the Lord, the God of Israel, says: ‘Long ago your ancestors, including Terah the father of Abraham and Nahor, lived beyond the Euphrates River and worshiped other gods. 3 But I took your father Abraham from the land beyond the Euphrates and led him throughout Canaan and gave him many descendants. I gave him Isaac, 4 and to Isaac I gave Jacob and Esau. I assigned the hill country of Seir to Esau, but Jacob and his family went down to Egypt.

5 “‘Then I sent Moses and Aaron, and I afflicted the Egyptians by what I did there, and I brought you out. 6 When I brought your people out of Egypt, you came to the sea, and the Egyptians pursued them with chariots and horsemen as far as the Red Sea. 7 But they cried to the Lord for help, and he put darkness between you and the Egyptians; he brought the sea over them and covered them. You saw with your own eyes what I did to the Egyptians. Then you lived in the wilderness for a long time.

8 “‘I brought you to the land of the Amorites who lived east of the Jordan. They fought against you, but I gave them into your hands. I destroyed them from before you, and you took possession of their land. 9 When Balak son of Zippor, the king of Moab, prepared to fight against Israel, he sent for Balaam son of Beor to put a curse on you. 10 But I would not listen to Balaam, so he blessed you again and again, and I delivered you out of his hand.

11 “‘Then you crossed the Jordan and came to Jericho. The citizens of Jericho fought against you, as did also the Amorites, Perizzites, Canaanites, Hittites, Girgashites, Hivites and Jebusites, but I gave them into your hands. 12 I sent the hornet ahead of you, which drove them out before you—also the two Amorite kings. You did not do it with your own sword and bow. 13 So I gave you a land on which you did not toil and cities you did not build; and you live in them and eat from vineyards and olive groves that you did not plant.’

14 “Now fear the Lord and serve him with all faithfulness. Throw away the gods your ancestors worshiped beyond the Euphrates River and in Egypt, and serve the Lord. 15 But if serving the Lord seems undesirable to you, then choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve, whether the gods your ancestors served beyond the Euphrates, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land you are living. But as for me and my household, we will serve the Lord.”

 

Reflect: “CHOOSE FOR YOURSELVES THIS DAY WHOM YOU WILL SERVE.” WHOM DO YOUR ACTIONS AND ATTITUDES SHOW THAT YOU ARE SERVING?

Having gathered all of Israel to the important city of Shechem (1), Joshua spoke prophetically, reiterating the people’s history (2–13). His purpose was not primarily to strengthen the people’s shared identity or to develop an active sense of gratitude in their hearts for what God had done on their behalf (13). Joshua’s purpose in gathering his people was for them to make a choice. Black and white: serve the Lord or serve the puny imitations of gods. There is a wonderful clarity about the offer Joshua sets out. “Now therefore” (14, ESV)—in two simple
words Joshua swiftly moves from the indisputable interventions God made to the implication for his people: “God did that; therefore, will you follow him?” If Joshua needed to ask this of his people, the implication is that not all of them feared the Lord (14), i.e., their hearts were not fully devoted to God.

Hard to read. Even harder to live out. Without any sense of condemnation or judgment, ask yourself in what areas of your life God may want you to respond to Joshua’s challenge. Think for a moment of all that God through Jesus has done for you—a called, chosen and dearly loved adopted child with a hope and a future. Now therefore…

 

APPLY

What one thing might you start doing? What one thing might you stop doing?

 

CLOSING PRAYER

God, show me if I am serving other things before You. Help me to repent and to recommit to You.

 

Syndicated via Scripture Union. Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
 

Terry Schneider