SCRIPTURE: Joshua 24:1-27
1. “He summoned the elders, leaders, judges and officials of Israel, and they presented themselves before God” – I see this as a pattern that we should follow as leaders in the church, that we too ought to present ourselves before God. Maybe before I leave we need to do this, and review all that the Lord has done among us, and renew our commitment to serving Him.
2. “You saw with your own eyes what I did… You did not do it with your own sword and bow” – As Joshua reviews their past journey together, He continually reminds them that it God deserves the credit, not him nor the people, not their armies or cunning. As I think about doing this with our leaders, I sense that we need to stress this also. The credit goes to God, and wherever we have failed, we admit it and claim His mercy. God is god, and the past 10 years here at Hope are to His glory!
3. “Choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve…” Its decision time, for the people and for Joshua, even though his work among them is almost done. We smetimes think back to past decisions, assuming that once made, they always stand. The Bible presents repeated occasions of covenant renewal. We must continually choose for ourselves whom we will serve.
4. “You are not able to serve the LORD” – Joshua is just being honest (and prophetic, as the book of Judges reveals). Maybe this is reverse psychology, but he is making it clear how hard it is to serve the Lord, and how weak we often are in following Him. It will take more than words, it wll take daily seriousness and determination. Do we see this for ourselves, how serious we need to take our own commitment, and the determination it will take to stay on course?
5. “Throw away the foreign gods that are among you and yield your hearts to the LORD” – Here is the evidence, why do they still have the foreign gods (idols) in their possession? Shouldn’t they have been gone by now? We should not be surprised when this is still the case, that most believers have mixed motives and loyalties. But we should never grow comfortable with this double-mindedness, we should determine to fight it!!!
6. “This stone will be a witness against us. It has heard all the words the LORD has said to us” – I like the idea of memory stones (or other symbols). Take any symbol and use it to remind us of our serious commitment to live each day for the Lord. A stone, a cross, an elastic around our wrist, whatever it takes. Put it on the mirror, on the dashboard, on the desk, anywhere, just to keep ourselves reminded. Or do we think we can manage fine on our own… So did Israel!
Lord, forgive me my pride and my lukewarmness in following through on my commitment. Help me to choose again today to serve You heart, soul, mind and strength. Amen.