A Good Ending
Loving Lord, I know You have been my good God and father all my life and I praise You!
Read Joshua 24:16-33
 Then the people answered, “Far be it from us to forsake the LORD to serve other gods!  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.  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.”  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.  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.”  But the people said to Joshua, “No! We will serve the LORD.”  Then Joshua said, “You are witnesses against yourselves that you have chosen to serve the LORD.” “Yes, we are witnesses,” they replied.  “Now then,” said Joshua, “throw away the foreign gods that are among you and yield your hearts to the LORD, the God of Israel.”  And the people said to Joshua, “We will serve the LORD our God and obey him.”  On that day Joshua made a covenant for the people, and there at Shechem he reaffirmed for them decrees and laws.  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.  “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.”  Then Joshua dismissed the people, each to their own inheritance.  After these things, Joshua son of Nun, the servant of the LORD, died at the age of a hundred and ten.  And they buried him in the land of his inheritance, at Timnath Serah in the hill country of Ephraim, north of Mount Gaash.  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.  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.  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. Scripture taken from the Holy Bible, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION. Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 International Bible Society. All rights reserved throughout the world. Used by permission of International Bible Society.
ReflectWhat did the people remember and affirm?
Joshua’s story was well-received and ended well, as the people agreed to serve the living God (18). However, because there was a chance that their decision might simply have been an emotional response to fine words, Joshua makes sure the people understand the consequences. Following God is about committing totally to his will (23) and his ways (25). To serve God wholeheartedly means to leave behind the old life in its entirety (23) because there is no space for compromise with God. There is no such thing as “cheap grace.” The formula is simple: obedience is a consequence of faith and is evidenced through service. Joshua had reached the age of 110 and had lived through turbulent times when his faith must have been tested to the utmost. Despite the pressures, Joshua had retained a clear, spiritual vision. He had kept his eyes on God; through his example and empowered by his leadership, all Israel had also followed the one, true God (31a). What a good ending to a long life of faith! God grant such a blessing to us, too.
Take a moment to ask God what changes you might need to make in order to follow him more fully.
Lord, I know that You require our whole-hearted commitment, and that’s not easy, but I do want to follow You.
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