Joshua 24 (2)
Read Joshua 24.14, 15.
1. What is the connection between fearing the Lord and serving Him? Isn’t it enough to hold fast to the Lord and love Him? Do we also need to fear Him?
2. Joshua implies that everyone is going to serve something beyond themselves, either the Lord or some pagan deity. Do you agree?
Think about it.
Having already charged the people to hold fast to the Lord and love Him (23.8-11), Joshua explains more fully what that entails. The people of Israel will be holding fast to the Lord and loving Him when they fear and serve Him in every aspect of their lives (vv. 14, 15). We do not truly love the Lord if we do not fear Him. We do not love the Lord unless we serve Him according to all His Word. Merely saying that we love the Lord means very little; only by fearing and serving Him do we prove our love and carry out the obligations of our covenant and Kingdom calling.
The people had a choice to make. Rather, the people were in the midst of making a choice, and as Joshua saw it, their choice was not what it should be. If they did not make a conscious and sincere choice to serve the Lord, they would end up serving some lesser deity, which is no god at all. Everyone is religious in that everyone has some sense of ultimate good which they will pursue. If that ultimate good is not the God of Scripture, then it will be some idea of the good concocted out of the mind of man. That way leads to disillusionment, decay, and death (cf. Rom. 1.18-32).
Joshua may be nearing his death, but he is determined to serve the Lord for as long as he lives (v. 15). We do not “retire” from service to the Lord or pursuing His Kingdom and promises. Our calling may change, and our capacities may diminish, but our focus must always remain on the Lord and His Kingdom and glory (1 Thess. 2.12). By his own example, Joshua exhorts the people to get on with the work of laying hold on the promises of God. Whom will you encourage to this end by your example today?
Meditate and discuss.
1. What does it mean to serve the Lord? How can we tell when our time and strength are being used to serve other “deities”?
2. Why does it “seem evil” to some people to devote themselves wholeheartedly and entirely to serving the Lord?
3. What “gods” do people serve today who do not serve the Lord? Are Christians ever tempted to serve those “gods”? Following Joshua’s example, how can we help one another keep our focus true?
“If, therefore, the one who breaks agreements with men is outside any truce and alien to safety, what must be said of those who by denying make null and void the agreements they made with God, and who run back to Satan, whom they renounced when they were baptized?” Origen of Alexandria (185-254 AD)
Guard my heart and mind, Lord, so that I do not seek out other “gods” but always remain faithful to You. Thus I will…
Pray Psalm 115.
Pray for those who are trapped in the snares of false gods, and for yourself, that in your part of the “earth” – your Personal Mission Field – you may bring glory to God today.
Psalm 115 (Plainfield: Nothing but the Blood of Jesus)
Not to us, O God, not us, but unto Your Name give glory!
For Your love and faithfulness, ever to Your Name be glory!
Why should the nations cry, "Where is their God on high?"
You rule us, Lord, on high: Ever to Your Name be glory!
Idols made by men's own hand – ever to Your Name be glory –
See nor hear nor understand – ever to Your Name be glory!
They neither feel nor walk, nor can they speak or talk;
All those who serve them fall, but unto Your Name be glory!
All who trust in Jesus yield – ever to His Name be glory! –
Find in Him their help and shield – ever to Your Name be glory!
O Israel, trust the Lord! He helps us evermore!
Fear Him obey His Word: Ever to Your Name be glory!
Blessings from our gracious Lord – ever to Your Name be glory –
Will attend us evermore – ever to Your Name be glory!
Bless all who fear You, Lord, all who obey Your Word,
All who Your Name adore: Ever to Your Name be glory!
Grant us, Savior, great increase: Ever to Your Name be glory!
Bless us with eternal peace: Ever to Your Name be glory!
Heaven and earth are Yours; let every soul adore
And bless You evermore: Ever to Your Name be glory!
T. M. Moore
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Except as indicated, Scripture taken from the New King James Version. © Copyright 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved. All psalms for singing adapted from The Ailbe Psalter. All quotations from Church Fathers from Ancient Christian Commentary Series, General Editor Thomas C. Oden (Downers Grove: InterVarsity Press, 2006).