Tuesday, June 26, 2018

Word for the day by Christian Education Forum

Joshua 24:22-25

Then Joshua said, "You are witnesses against yourselves that you have chosen to serve the Lord..."Now then," said Joshua, "throw away the foreign gods that are among you and yield your hearts to the Lord, the God of Israel." (Joshua 24:22-23)
In this passage from Joshua, he asks people to make a commitment to serve God, "And the people said to Joshua, "We will serve the LORD our God and obey him." On that day Joshua made a covenant for the people, and there at Shechem he drew up for them decrees and laws." (V.23-24). Shechem was an important place for Israelites; it is also a reminder of their history. This is the place where the bones of Joseph, which had been carried up from Egypt, were buried. This is a reminder to them that God's faithfulness in delivering them from Egypt was by God's choice and not because they deserved it. Therefore, Joshua is choosing this place symbolically to encourage people to make a commitment to the Lord. God has been with them as a nation, God has been their guide, and now it is time to make a real decision to follow God.
There are two important insights we can gain from this covenant.
Covenant is a challenge to self-criticism: Joshua challenges the people to be witnesses against themselves, to be self-critical, and to confess their sins. Just as they would accuse the violator of any agreement to which they were witnesses, so they must examine themselves to see whether in fact they fear, love, and trust Yahweh above everything else. So must they, so must we. Often times when we enter into relationship with our Lord and savior Jesus Christ we tend to find faults and shortcomings in others rather than being self- critical. When we make a commitment to God we are called to self- evaluate and confess our sins before God.
Covenant a challenge to serve the Lord: In this covenant Joshua is asking people to choose to serve Yahweh. The word "serve" has multiple meanings. "Serve" can mean "worship" or it can mean "show loyalty toward," or, as v. 24 notes, it can also mean "obey." Service to Yahweh excludes service of other gods. Joshua is asking people to make a commitment to love God, if you love something then you can serve that very easily. That is if you love God, you will want to live for God and follow God's ways. Today a question to us is who our God is. Martin Luther once said, "Anything one fears, loves, and trusts above everything else -whether that is riches, self- prestige, or whatever- is one's God." Do we all serve many gods? If the answer is yes, then it is time to embrace this covenant once again. May God bless us all.
Dear Lord, as a covenant community, help us to examine our lives and rededicate ourselves to serve you with devotion and love. Amen
Discipleship involves a radical turn to the will of God.
Christian Education Forum, Diocese of NAE of the Mar Thoma Church