Loving Lord, today may Your eternal light and Your enduring Word lead me into Your presence, I pray.
Read Joshua 24:16-33
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.
“You’re blessed when you get your inside world–your mind and heart–put right. Then you can see God in the outside world” (Matt 5:8, The Message).
We may wonder why Joshua is so persistent in warning about idolatry. The people seem intent on doing the right thing: three times they affirm their commitment to follow the Lord (18,21, and 24). Joshua persists, however, because he knows that, for all their protestations, the people were privately clinging to idols (14,23). That shouldn’t surprise us, though. How often do we continue with our Christian routines while refusing to let go of stubborn sin patterns? The source of the problem, Joshua points out, isn’t the hardware; it’s the “heart-ware.” Until we completely yield our hearts to God (23), our public and private lives will be at odds, and produce a dysfunctional spiritual life.
The book of Joshua leaves us with the feeling that a sequel is coming. When the people say, “We will serve the Lord,” you just know what comes next. The book of Judges shows God’s people breaking that promise, again and again. Perhaps that’s why Joshua says, “You are not able to serve the Lord” (19). He doesn’t want them to fail, especially after investing his life in their spiritual well-being. He’s simply being truthful; human beings can’t obey, can’t follow, and can’t please God, in their own strength.
As Joshua hands on the baton of spiritual leadership, we sense his longing for a solution to this dilemma. God was using Joshua, whose name means “The Lord saves,” to set the stage for a bigger sequel, the coming of the true Savior, Jesus Christ. He would die to restore the relationship between God and his people once and for all. And the cross only set the stage for the final sequel, the day when Jesus will return to be with his followers forever. Come, Lord Jesus!
Are there any ways that your public life is out of sync with your private life? How could you bring your whole life more in step with the Spirit?
Lord, I daily need Your help and grace. Infuse me with Your enabling, so I will be an authentic disciple.