The Scriptorium

We Will Serve the Lord!

The people of Israel respond to Joshua's charge.

Joshua 24 (3)

Read Joshua 24.16-21.

1.  What reason do the people give for resolving to serve the Lord? Do you hear any echoes of the Law in their response?   

2.   Why do you think Joshua challenged them about their decision?

Think about it.
The people declare themselves to be on the same side as Joshua, and for the same reasons. They seem almost incredulous that anyone would think they would do other than serve the Lord. But Joshua challenged their commitment, suggesting that the people were practicing sins God in His holiness would not forgive. The people reiterate their determination to serve the Lord.

In essence, Joshua wrested three confessions from the people about serving the Lord, verses 16, 18, and 21. Was he just trying to make sure they understood what they were saying? Is there something about repeating one’s commitment publicly that reinforces it? We can imagine the volume of their commitment getting a little louder each time, as by asserting and reasserting it, with increasing intensity, it might have more impact on their own hearts.

God will not forgive the sin of turning away from Him to pursue other gods, which are no gods at all. How can He? All who forsake the Lord deny His goodness and love, renounce His many benefits, and flout His holiness. There is a sin that leads to death, and this is it.

Meditate and discuss.
1.  What does it mean to say that God is holy? What is holiness?

2.  For what is God jealous? What does it mean that God is jealous for this? How did Joshua intend the jealousy of God to affect the people of Israel?

3.  Joshua is leading the people into yet another act of covenant renewal. Why? Is this something believers today should do? Why or why not?

“Here Joshua seems to act altogether absurdly in crushing the prompt and alert zeal of the people, by suggesting ground of alarm. For to what end does he insist that they cannot serve the Lord, unless it be to make them, from a sense of their utter powerlessness, to give themselves up to despair, and thus necessarily become estranged from the fear of God. It was necessary, however, to employ this harsh mode of obtestation, in order to rouse a sluggish people, rendered more lethargic by security.” John Calvin, Commentary on Joshua (1509-1564 AD)

Lord, every day I will confess my love for You and my determination to serve You only. Help me to…

Pray Psalm 141.

As you pray this psalm, think of the day ahead and the temptations you are likely to face. Use this psalm to reinforce your commitment to the Lord, to serve and obey Him in all things.

Psalm 141 (Truro: Shout, for the Blessed Jesus Reigns)
O Lord, we call to You in prayer! To us come quickly; hear our cry!
Receive our prayer as incense sweet, our lifted hands as a sacrifice!

Lord, set a guard upon my mouth; let not my heart to evil bend,
Nor let me work iniquity in company with wicked men.

Lord, let a righteous man rebuke – a kindness this shall surely be.
Like healing oil upon my head, Your sweet rebuke shall be to me.

When to the judgment wicked men by God are cast, our words shall tell:
Like broken sod or fresh plowed ground, so shall their bones be cast to hell!

We lift our eyes to You, O Lord, and refuge seek; Lord, save our soul!
From every trap and snare redeem; deliver us and make us whole.

T. M. Moore

Where does the book of Joshua fit in the ongoing story of God’s covenant? Our workbook, God’s Covenant, can help you discover the place in God’s work of redemption not only of Joshua but of all the books of the Bible. God’s Covenant is a valuable resource to guide you in all your studies in God’s Word. To order your copy, click hereAnd when you order, we’ll send you a free copy of Bricks and Rungs: Poems on Calling.

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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).

T.M. Moore

T. M. Moore is principal of The Fellowship of Ailbe, a spiritual fellowship in the Celtic Christian tradition. He and his wife, Susie, make their home in Essex Junction, VT.
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