Where yesterday Joshua directed the leaders who would come after him regarding the essence of their ‘job’, today we read Joshua’s final challenge to the people of Israel…
“Now fear the LORD and serve him with all faithfulness. Throw away the gods your ancestors worshiped beyond the Euphrates River and in Egypt, and serve the LORD. But if serving the LORD seems undesirable to you, then choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve, whether the gods your ancestors served beyond the Euphrates, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land you are living. But as for me and my household, we will serve the LORD” (14-15).
A little later Joshua reiterates, “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” (23-24).
A summation of the message can be simply stated, “serve the Lord and only Him.”
An interesting element of Joshua’s charge caught my attention, one I don't recall pondering before. That element was removal of foreign gods. Joshua has been leading Israel in their conquest for 20-25 years. And before that Israel lived for 40 years in the dessert after leaving Egypt and yet they still have kept foreign gods!?! This surprised me…
How tenaciously we hold onto to the past, the sins and the gods that entangled us before we began following the Lord. Was Joshua (and Moses before him) patient with the people or permissive???
Joshua had called the people to consecrate themselves to the Lord prior to entering the Land. See Joshua 3:5. Yet Joshua needed to address foreign gods that still needed to be removed…
The pull away from the Lord is great… life, society around us, worship of other gods, the sinful nature within all, seek to derail our following of the Lord wholeheartedly.
I must be vigilant, we must be vigilant, in keeping our way pure and wholly dedicated to the Lord.
Here is God’s Word to me today… throw away any foreign gods or behaviors unbecoming a Christ follower.
Help me, Lord. Bring a Joshua into my life to speak to me and show me where I cling to false gods… In Jesus’ name I pray. Amen.