Jesus, I need You… I need You…
Read Joshua 24:16–33
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[a] 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[b] 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.
a. Joshua 24:30 Also known as Timnath Heres (see Judges 2:9)
b. Joshua 24:32 Hebrew hundred kesitahs; a kesitah was a unit of money of unknown weight and value.
New International Version (NIV)Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
ReflectWhat are your greatest joys in following Jesus? And challenges?
What an enthusiastic response to Joshua’s speech: yes, we too will serve the Lord (18)! Yet Joshua will not allow a quick answer (19). Perhaps he recalled the generation of Moses’ day who had said similar words but soon afterward worshipped the golden calf (Exodus 19:8; 32:1–4). Israel needed reminding that the Lord was a jealous God who would brook no rivals (19, 23).
Three times the Israelites state their willingness to serve the Lord (18, 21, 24) before Joshua sets up a stone of witness (26, 27). More than words were needed. Idols had to be put away and hearts yielded to the Lord (23).
This ceremony of commitment is a fitting end to the book of Joshua. But there is more! The book concludes with Israel’s leaders being buried in the land (29–33). God’s promise to Abraham centuries before (Genesis 12:7) is finally realized. A new chapter for God’s people is about to begin.
Yet there is a hint of dark days to come. Verse 31 indicates that the generation who lived in Joshua’s time ‘served the Lord throughout’ (31). But what of those to come? And what of us today?
Imagine hearing a recording of your own funeral service. What might others say about you? Is it a true reflection of who you really are? If you wrote your own epitaph, what would you want it to say?
Dear God, help me not to value my salvation lightly. May I not be afraid for my discipleship to cost me something. Give me more grace.
Book and Author Intros
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