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Tuesday, July 18th, 2023

The final chapter of the book of Joshua retells a closing speech of Joshua to the Israelites urging them to have faith in God and forsake all other gods. From this chapter we get the well known verse, “As for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.” But look closely at the back and forth between Joshua and the Israelites. Three times Joshua calls them to both put their full faith in God and forsake all other gods, and three times Israel calls back that they will have faith in God. Notice what they don’t say though: they never pledge to forsake all other gods. It is a telling insight into the heart of the nation then and what follows in the history of Israel is years of issues and setbacks because the nation fails to uphold their end of the covenant, but instead turned to false idols. They held back from God, choosing to conceal that which they did not want to give up. What can we, as Christians, learn from this? Think of this: How many of us have faith in Jesus, but secretly hold back parts of ourselves from him? It is a hard thing to open ourselves up to scrutiny, because the world does not love us like Jesus does. But in holding the darkest corners of our lives from the Lord, we deny the promise of Scripture, that by faith our sins are washed clean by the blood of Jesus and we are made new creations by the Creator of all things. The lesson of Joshua 24 is that the Lord wants all of us, not just the parts we want to show Him. In addition, it shows the danger of what happens when we refuse to forsake all other idols of this world. Today, heed Joshua’s call to have faith in the Lord and forsake all other idols, opening your whole self to Jesus.

“Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here! All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation: that God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting people’s sins against them. And he has committed to us the message of reconciliation. We are therefore Christ’s ambassadors, as though God were making his appeal through us. We implore you on Christ’s behalf: Be reconciled to God. God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.” - 2 Corinthians 5:17-21

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