God’s Word of Promise
Joshua 24:1-18: At Shechem, Joshua addresses the people of Israel for the last time. He summarizes the history of God’s saving acts and exhorts the people to choose to serve the LORD.
Joshua Speaks to the People at Shechem
1Joshua 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. 2 Joshua 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 Euphrates River and worshiped other gods. One of those ancestors was Terah, the father of Abraham and Nahor. 3 Then I took Abraham, your ancestor, from the land across the Euphrates and led him through the whole land of Canaan. I gave him many descendants. I gave him Isaac, 4 and to Isaac I gave Jacob and Esau. I gave Esau the hill country of Edom as his possession, but your ancestor Jacob and his children went down to Egypt. 5 Later I sent Moses and Aaron, and I brought great trouble on Egypt. But I led you out; 6 I brought your ancestors out of Egypt, and the Egyptians pursued them with chariots and cavalry. But when your ancestors got to the Red Sea 7they cried out to me for help, and I put darkness between them and the Egyptians. I made the sea come rolling over the Egyptians and drown them. You know what I did to Egypt.
“‘You lived in the desert a long time. 8 Then I brought you to the land of the Amorites, who lived on the east side of the Jordan. They fought you, but I gave you victory over them. You took their land, and I destroyed them as you advanced. 9 Then the king of Moab, Balak son of Zippor, fought against you. He sent word to Balaam son of Beor and asked him to put a curse on you. 10But I would not listen to Balaam, so he blessed you, and in this way I rescued you from Balak. 11 You crossed the Jordan and came to Jericho. The men of Jericho fought you, as did the Amorites, the Perizzites, the Canaanites, the Hittites, the Girgashites, the Hivites, and the Jebusites. But I gave you victory over them all. 12 As you advanced, I threw them into panic in order to drive out the two Amorite kings. Your swords and bows had nothing to do with it. 13 I gave you a land that you had never worked and cities that you had not built. Now you are living there and eating grapes from vines that you did not plant, and olives from trees that you did not plant.’
14“Now then,” Joshua continued, “honor 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 worshiped 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.”
16The 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.”
Today’s Key Verse: Joshua 24:14a
“Now then,” Joshua continued, “honor the LORD and serve him sincerely and faithfully.”
What does Joshua ask the people to do? What choice does he put before them? What are the consequences for the people if they choose not to serve God? Reread verse 15. Are there things today that prevent people from serving God?
Almighty God, you alone are God and I promise to honor and serve you sincerely and faithfully. Amen.
Joshua 24:19-33: Joshua concludes his farewell speech.