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Scripture reading – Joshua 24
Our study of the Book of Joshua concludes with today’s Scripture reading. Beginning with the Book of Exodus, our devotions have followed Israel’s forty-year journey through the wilderness. Then, under Joshua’s leadership, we observed the record of Israel’s battles with the Canaanites who inhabited the land the LORD promised Abraham and his heirs (Genesis 12:1).
The Final Call (Joshua 24:1)
With the land conquered and divided among the tribes, Joshua gathered the children of Israel at Shechem (24:1) for a final challenge. Why Shechem? Shechem was where Abraham received the LORD’s promise that his lineage would inherit the land (Genesis 12:6-7).
The Final Challenge (Joshua 24:2-14)
In his final address and challenge to the people, Joshua rehearsed how the LORD had chosen Abraham (24:2-4), delivered Israel out of Egypt (24:5-7), and guided them through the wilderness (24:7-10). Next, he reminded the congregation that God had given them the land as He promised (24:11-13). Finally, he challenged them to revere and serve the LORD (24:14-28).
The Final Charge (Joshua 24:15)
Showing his passion for serving the LORD had not diminished in his old age, Joshua exhorted the nation: “If it seem evil unto you to serve the Lord, choose you this day whom ye will serve; whether the gods which your fathers served that were on the other side of the flood, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land ye dwell: but as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord” (24:15).
The Covenant Renewed (Joshua 24:16-25)
With one voice, Israel renewed its covenant with the LORD and said, “We will serve the LORD… The Lord our God will we serve, and his voice will we obey.” (24:21, 24).
The Covenant Memorialized (Joshua 24:26-27)
Joshua then memorialized the nation’s covenant with the LORD “and took a great stone, and set it up there under an oak [and said to the people]…Behold, this stone shall be a witness [a memorial; a testament] unto us; for it hath heard all the words of the Lord which he spake unto us: it shall be therefore a witness unto you, lest ye deny your God” (24:26-27).
The Conclusion (Joshua 24:28-33)
Three burials conclude our study of the Book of Joshua. First, having inscribed the people’s vow in stone, they then departed. Then, “after these things…Joshua the son of Nun, the servant of the Lord, died, being an hundred and ten years old. 30And they buried him in the border of his inheritance in Timnath-serah, which is in Mount Ephraim” (24:29-30). So Joshua, the last of his generation to depart Egypt, was dead.
A second burial fulfilled Joseph’s dying request (Genesis 50:25), and his bones were buried on the land purchased by his father Jacob (24:32). Lastly, Eleazar, the high priest, the son of Aaron, died and was buried (24:33).
Joshua’s challenge to Israel and his confession should stir our hearts to follow his example (24:15). As it was with Joshua, so it is with every believer. We must individually decide whether or not we will serve the LORD with our whole heart (24:14-24).
Choose this day whom you will serve!
Questions to ponder:
- Why did Joshua gather “all the tribes of Israel” and rehearse the nation’s history and the providences of God? (Joshua 24:1-13)
- After reflecting on all the LORD had done for Israel, how did Joshua challenge the people? (Joshua 24:14-15)
- What did Joshua challenge the people to do if they sincerely desired to worship and serve the LORD? (Joshua 24:22-23)
- How did Joshua memorialize Israel’s vow to the LORD? (Joshua 24:25-27)
Copyright © 2023 – Travis D. Smith
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