"Snippets" from David
Joshua said if Israel went back to their
earliest ancestors, they would find idol worshippers. In his speech in Joshua
24, Joshua said in verses 2 and 14 that Israel’s earliest ancestors served the
gods that existed beyond the River (the Euphrates River).
Joshua knew the God Who led them from Egypt. He knew the God (the same one) Who delivered them from the Egyptian army by leading them across the sea, Who provided food and water for them in the dessert of the wilderness, Who provided them leadership, and Who made it possible for them to own Canaan. He was only one of two men who left Egypt and lived in Canaan. His personal experiences with God and God’s acts spanned a much greater period than did the nation’s experiences.
In essence, these were his remarks to the nation as his life neared its end: “(1) make a definite choice between God and idolatry right now. (2) My family and I have made our choice: we will serve the God Who brought us here.
“However, each of you must do the same thing we did. You, also, must make your own choice.
“Here are your options.
(1) You can worship the gods of your ancestors, the gods they worshipped beyond the River.
(2) You can worship the gods of this territory we just defeated. Or,
(3) you can worship the God Who brought us here.
“You will decide which God or gods you serve. Make a choice in the realistic understanding that whom you worship is whom you serve. There definitely are prices and consequences attached to your choice.”
In the context and flow of Joshua’s statement, his remarks stressed this: serve the God Who brought you here, or serve the gods of your choosing. However, if you decide to serve “the gods of your choosing,” it really does not matter who you choose. Those gods will not and cannot do for you what the God Who brought you here can do for you.
What could the God Who brought them to Canaan do for them that the other gods could not do?
1. He could use them to serve a purpose bigger than they were, bigger than their lives were, and bigger than a future without Him could ever be. His purposes were endless and would survive thousands of years.
2. He could make them a people of character. The other gods could not do that. In fact, they would become less humane, not more, if they served other gods. Those gods would merely cause them to be like everyone else.
3. He would transform them into a people who cared about others, who were committed to being fair, and who would treat people with respect. All that the other gods would teach them is how to exploit people by being unjust and greedy. Injustice and greed often characterized those gods’ influence.
4. He would led them to their highest potential as humans by changing them inwardly, not just in outward habits and traditions.
Reflect for a moment. How many gods can you name “from beyond the River?” How many gods can you name from Canaan prior to it being Israel’s territory (Baal, perhaps?)? Do you know the God who brought Israel from Egypt and made it possible for them to live in Canaan?
Were it not for the archeologists, few (if any) of us would know about the gods beyond the River or the gods of the Amorites. Most of us Christians know of Jehovah, the God Who created, the God Who led Israel from Egypt, and the God Who gave us Christ.
Joshua knew if one did not serve the living God, it did not matter what deity he/she served. What is the God you serve making you?
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