The readings in the second half of the book of Joshua are intense name lists of the people, the towns, and the land given to the Israelites from the Lord. The land was conquered by the Lord and now set aside for resettlement by these chosen children.
Children sometimes squabble, and these children of God are no exception. There was a misunderstanding about an altar, the one set of tribes built it and the other set thought it was for purposes not honoring God. How often do we get our noses bent out of place for things we think go against us? How often instead should we want to fight against things that go against God? We struggle everyday to put our own hearts right, how will we take up God’s fight too? Well, we DON’T actually take up God’s fight, we take up GOD’S CAUSE.
Not only did the people want to serve God, the fear was that the whole community would be punished from the disobedience of a few, that’s how historically things came to pass (seems that way today too), and the communities self-policed their people. The Lord instructed thru Joshua that they won’t continue to prevail if they disobey Him and His commands. It’s like a spot that cracks paint and jeopardizes the whole structure because rain and pests can enter and take down the whole house or community. It is that way with us too. We can let our guard down and slip and the small issue becomes big. This is true with everything from temptations to anxious thoughts. This is true when we let our guards down.
One of the most famous Bible quotes is in these chapters: “CHOOSE TODAY WHOM YOU WILL SERVE!” Joshua challenged the Israelites, God challenges us, whom will we serve? Will we stop paying attention to distractions and disruptive forces in our lives or worship God? Will we choose today to move forward and not let the little burdens get big? If we serve God, we try to drop our distractions and our burdens. We then stop fighting God’s plan and walk with God to live abundantly.
If we live just for ourselves, we will struggle to even scrape by. If we live for God’s Cause, for which He has already won, we will live an abundant life. Choose today whom you will serve. Please choose to serve Him. Take His Cause.
the Lord gave Israel all the land he had sworn to give their ancestors, and they took possession of it and settled there. The Lord gave them rest on every side, just as he had sworn to their ancestors. Not one of their enemies withstood them; the Lord gave all their enemies into their hands. Not one of all the Lord’s good promises to Israel failed; every one was fulfilled.
“Far be it from us to rebel against the Lord and turn away from him today by building an altar for burnt offerings, grain offerings and sacrifices, other than the altar of the Lord our God that stands before his tabernacle.”
“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. 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.”
“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.” Then the people answered, “Far be it from us to forsake the Lord to serve other gods! 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. 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.” 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. 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.” But the people said to Joshua, “No! We will serve the Lord.”
Then Joshua said, “You are witnesses against yourselves that you have chosen to serve the Lord.”
“Yes, we are witnesses,” they replied.
“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.” On that day Joshua made a covenant for the people, and there at Shechem he reaffirmed for them decrees and laws. 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. “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.” Then Joshua dismissed the people, each to their own inheritance.