God, I come to You in all humility. Open my heart to what You would speak to me today.
Read JOSHUA 23:12–16
12 “But if you turn away and ally yourselves with the survivors of these nations that remain among you and if you intermarry with them and associate with them, 13 then you may be sure that the Lord your God will no longer drive out these nations before you. Instead, they will become snares and traps for you, whips on your backs and thorns in your eyes, until you perish from this good land, which the Lord your God has given you.
14 “Now I am about to go the way of all the earth. You know with all your heart and soul that not one of all the good promises the Lord your God gave you has failed. Every promise has been fulfilled; not one has failed. 15 But just as all the good things the Lord your God has promised you have come to you, so he will bring on you all the evil things he has threatened, until the Lord your God has destroyed you from this good land he has given you. 16 If you violate the covenant of the Lord your God, which he commanded you, and go and serve other gods and bow down to them, the Lord’s anger will burn against you, and you will quickly perish from the good land he has given you.”
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.
ReflectCall out to God, asking him for a soft, responsive heart (see Prov. 28:14).
Do you tune out the tough, challenging parts of the Bible, or the sermon on Sunday? It’s natural for us to gravitate towards positive, encouraging content and perhaps shy away from things that cause us discomfort. Reading these verses that capture some of Joshua’s last words from thousands of years ago, we can’t help but be struck by how he pulls no punches. There are no qualifiers—“perhaps,” “maybe”—or softeners and modifiers—“it might be good if,” “have you ever considered…?” Instead, Joshua delivers the blunt, unvarnished truth: “the Lord’s anger will burn against you” (16); “you will quickly perish” (16); “the Lord your God will no longer drive out these nations” (13). To really ram home the message, Joshua reminds his people that “not one of all the good promises the Lord your God gave you has failed” (14). How does your heart respond to such words? Pause for a moment and ask God to help you become more open to everything that he wants to say to you.
I haven’t heard too many sermons with this kind of punching power. Why might many of us shy away from speaking truth to others so clearly? Consider Ephesians 4:15 and how we are encouraged to speak to other Christians.
How can you speak God’s truth in love today?
Father, help me to “grow up” to become more like Jesus in every way, particularly in truth and love.
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