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Read Joshua 24:1-3a and 14-25


Read Joshua 24:1-3a and 14-25

Joshua gathered all the tribes of Israel together at Shechem. He called the elders, the leaders, the judges, and the officers of Israel, and they came into the presence of God. 2Joshua said to all the people, “This is what the LORD, the God of Israel, has to say: ‘Long ago your ancestors lived on the other side of the River Euphrates and worshipped other gods. One of those ancestors was Terah, the father of Abraham and Nahor. 3Then I took Abraham, your ancestor, from the land beyond the Euphrates and led him through the whole land of Canaan. I gave him many descendants. I gave him Isaac,

14 “Now then,” Joshua continued, “honour the LORD and serve him sincerely and faithfully. Get rid of the gods which your ancestors used to worship in Mesopotamia and in Egypt, and serve only the LORD. 15If you are not willing to serve him, decide today whom you will serve, the gods your ancestors worshipped in Mesopotamia or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land you are now living. As for my family and me, we will serve the LORD.”

16 The people replied, “We would never leave the LORD to serve other gods! 17The LORD our God brought our fathers and us out of slavery in Egypt, and we saw the miracles that he performed. He kept us safe wherever we went among all the nations through which we passed. 18As we advanced into this land, the LORD drove out all the Amorites who lived here. So we also will serve the LORD; he is our God.”

19 Joshua said to the people, “But you may not be able to serve the LORD. He is a holy God and will not forgive your sins. He will tolerate no rivals, 20and if you leave him to serve foreign gods, he will turn against you and punish you. He will destroy you, even though he was good to you before.”
21 The people said to Joshua, “No! We will serve the LORD.”

22 Joshua said to them, “You are your own witnesses to the fact that you have chosen to serve the LORD.” “Yes,” they said, “we are witnesses.”
23 “Then get rid of those foreign gods that you have,” he demanded, “and pledge your loyalty to the LORD, the God of Israel.”
24 The people then said to Joshua, “We will serve the LORD our God. We will obey his commands.”
25 So Joshua made a covenant for the people that day, and there at Shechem he gave them laws and rules to follow.


One thing that strikes me in this passage is how clear and committed the people were to their new life on the other side of the river.  But they didn't stick to their side of the bargain.  Joshua warned them of destruction, but generation after generation God was patient, calling them back until he allowed their actions to lead to their inevitable consequences.


Lord I often surrender myself to you and then quickly take back what I have surrendered.  Thank you for receiving me every time I turn back to you.  

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