For the Lord our God, he it is that brought us up and our fathers out of the land of Egypt, from the house of bondage, and which did those great signs in our sight, and preserved us in all the way wherein we went, and among all the people through whom we passed. — Joshua 24:17
Much of this chapter concerns the time Joshua gathered together the leaders of Israel and reminded them of the great things the Lord had done for them. This makes me think of a time when our children were young, and we found ourselves regularly making the 15-mile drive home from church late at night. To pass the time, I got in the habit of telling the kids stories from my younger years. They loved those stories so much that they would beg to hear more. It was not that I had done anything so heroic, but to the kids, the accounts were interesting. These were real experiences that had happened to a real person who was important to them, and I must confess, I enjoyed reminiscing. I recalled events that had been almost forgotten. Some of the most interesting happenings had not been fun at all at the time — but seen from the vantage point of years later, they had been character builders.
My stories included things that, in the more recent past, the Lord had done in my life and of those who were dear to me. For instance, one time, my wife began choking on a chicken bone at the dinner table. Of course we prayed! The Lord intervened and cleared her throat. Once this was done, we all prayed a prayer of thanksgiving, and then continued with dinner. Another time, our baby boy was very sick and I wondered if the Lord was going to take him to Heaven. I prayed and put him in the Lord’s hands, and just a few minutes later, my son perked up and soon was feeling fine. Another time, we had prayed for my son’s hearing problem; then one day, we discovered that he could hear just fine. The Lord had healed him. I could go on and on, for there were many such accounts.
If you have been a Christian for any length of time, the Lord has done many things for you. It is good for you to meditate on these things. This will help you to recognize the reality of God. No, the days of miracles are not past, and yes, we want to serve the Lord with all our hearts for all that He has done for us. Not because we have to, but because we love and appreciate Him! If we need faith to face an obstacle, what better way to gender faith than by remembering what the Lord has done for us in the past.
God had given Israel a land that they did not conquer, crops that they did not plant, and cities that they did not build. Such unmerited benefits called for a commitment of service on the part of Israel.
The most famous words of this chapter are found in verse 15, Joshua’s crisis-call for this commitment: “Choose you this day whom ye will serve.” When Joshua was able to get the people to reflect on all that God had done for them, choosing God was easy.
Then, in verse 23 we read: “Now therefore put away, said he, the strange gods which are among you, and incline your heart unto the Lord God of Israel.” After a choice to serve God has been made, it may be necessary to take definite action, as the Lord directs.
In response to Joshua’s challenge, the people emphatically chose to serve God. What a testimony to the value of Joshua’s godly influence is seen in the statement, “And Israel served the Lord all the days of Joshua” (Joshua 24:31).
In recording Joshua’s death, a double reference is given to identify him. First, he is given the normal designation (“the son of Nun”) to distinguish his identity in relation to his father. Then, a second reference established his relationship with his Lord (“the servant of God”). What an epitaph!
(Hannah’s Bible Outlines - Used by permission per WORDsearch)
III. The epilogue
B. The final addresses of Joshua
2. The second address (24:1-28)
a. A rehearsal of God’s faithfulness (24:1-15)
(1) The review (24:1-13)
(2) The challenge (24:14-15)
b. The covenant at Shechem (24:16-28)
(1) The promise of the people (24:16-18)
(2) The instructions of Joshua (24:19-24)
(3) The covenant ratified (24:25-28)
3. The final notices (24:29-33)
a. Joshua’s death and burial (24:29-31)
b. Joseph’s reburial (24:32)
c. Eleazar’s death and burial (24:33)
What kind of a spiritual legacy are you leaving your children, your grandchildren, or others who look up to you? When you are gone, will your godly influence cause them to say, as the people said in response to Joshua in verse 21, “We will serve the Lord”?