A Greater Joshua
Lord, speak to me through Your Word today.
Read: JOSHUA 24:16–33V
16 Then the people answered, “Far be it from us to forsake the Lord to serve other gods! 17 It was the Lord our God himself who brought us and our parents up out of Egypt, from that land of slavery, and performed those great signs before our eyes. He protected us on our entire journey and among all the nations through which we traveled. 18 And the Lord drove out before us all the nations, including the Amorites, who lived in the land. We too will serve the Lord, because he is our God.”
19 Joshua said to the people, “You are not able to serve the Lord. He is a holy God; he is a jealous God. He will not forgive your rebellion and your sins. 20 If you forsake the Lord and serve foreign gods, he will turn and bring disaster on you and make an end of you, after he has been good to you.”
21 But the people said to Joshua, “No! We will serve the Lord.”
22 Then Joshua said, “You are witnesses against yourselves that you have chosen to serve the Lord.”
“Yes, we are witnesses,” they replied.
23 “Now then,” said Joshua, “throw away the foreign gods that are among you and yield your hearts to the Lord, the God of Israel.”
24 And the people said to Joshua, “We will serve the Lord our God and obey him.”
25 On that day Joshua made a covenant for the people, and there at Shechem he reaffirmed for them decrees and laws. 26 And Joshua recorded these things in the Book of the Law of God. Then he took a large stone and set it up there under the oak near the holy place of the Lord.
27 “See!” he said to all the people. “This stone will be a witness against us. It has heard all the words the Lord has said to us. It will be a witness against you if you are untrue to your God.”
28 Then Joshua dismissed the people, each to their own inheritance.
Buried in the Promised Land
29 After these things, Joshua son of Nun, the servant of the Lord, died at the age of a hundred and ten. 30 And they buried him in the land of his inheritance, at Timnath Serah in the hill country of Ephraim, north of Mount Gaash.
31 Israel served the Lord throughout the lifetime of Joshua and of the elders who outlived him and who had experienced everything the Lord had done for Israel.
32 And Joseph’s bones, which the Israelites had brought up from Egypt, were buried at Shechem in the tract of land that Jacob bought for a hundred pieces of silver from the sons of Hamor, the father of Shechem. This became the inheritance of Joseph’s descendants.
33 And Eleazar son of Aaron died and was buried at Gibeah, which had been allotted to his son Phinehas in the hill country of Ephraim.
Reflect: HAVE YOU CHOSEN TO FOLLOW GOD WHOLEHEARTEDLY? ARE YOU FOLLOWING THAT COMMITMENT TODAY?
What a brilliant answer (16–18,21,24) to Joshua’s challenge (14,15)! The only problem is that we know how this story ends. Generations of Israelites swore to obey God and then went off and did their own thing. We have hundreds of pages of the Bible that detail the idolatry, greed and desperation of God’s people as they fell away from the one true God. And we know this not only because we read about it, but because we know from our own experience that our hearts are not any different than theirs. Despite our knowledge, technology, theology and civilization, our hearts are just as sinful and broken as theirs. If only we could make ourselves obey through hard work, concentration and discipline… But the solution is not in our gift. We need someone to save us from our sin and our sinful selves. Only God’s law can truly reveal our depravity and need of a Savior (Rom. 7:7–25). And only one Savior can save us (Acts 4:12).
Joshua had led his people faithfully and he finished his race well (29–31). But as great as he was, he pointed forward to a greater Joshua to come, one who would not only lead a people out of a wilderness, but also redeem a people for God from all generations and cultures.
Take a few moments to rededicate your life to God today. How can you walk out your commitment in your daily walk?
Jesus, thank You that You have saved me by grace, and that this is not my own doing.
Syndicated via Scripture Union. Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.