Word for the day by Christian Education Forum
Theological Education For the Confirmation of Faith
COVENANT REQUIRES COMMITMENT
The passage for our mediation is the farewell speech of Joshua. Mccarthy calls Joshua 24 “the report of covenant making.” It is a covenant-making passage that helps the people to continue to be called the people of God. In Joshua 24:14 - 15, Joshua stands before the assembled people at Shechem and makes his oft-cited challenge to those gathered to "choose this day whom you will serve" before going on to insist that he and his family will serve (עבד) Yahweh. Within the narrative structure of the book of Joshua, Joshua acts like an attorney, and his appeal is a striking one. First, the people are to enter into the proper relationship with Yahweh. Second, they are to rid themselves of all other claimants to lordship over them in other words discard polytheism. Joshua demands that his audience put away the gods of their ancestors and serve Yahweh alone.
Through the words sincerity and faithfulness in v14, Joshua thus demands an attitude and actions which are beyond the normal, expected attitudes and actions of men. He demands the same type of response to God that God has already shown to men, that of total loyalty and dedication. In other words, the model for sincerity and faithfulness is the acts of God, which exhibited sincerity and faithfulness. God is the model for faithful relationships. The words of Joseph are a great reminder to be faithful, when Potiphar tempted him Joseph responded as “How can I sin this great wickedness and sin against God?” that response was filled with faithfulness to God. Joseph knew what God has done for him likewise here Joshua also knew what God has done for him. Joshua knew that when the Lord of the whole earth divided the waters of Jordan before them, threw down the walls of Jericho, filled the Canaanites with fear and despair, killed them with hailstones at Gibeon, and brought to naught all their plans and endeavors to resist the advance of Israel, so that Joshua smote great and mighty nations, and no one could stand before him. whilst the Israelites were thus proved to be the executors of the penal judgments of God, they acted in perfect accordance with this vocation by how they carried out the judgment entrusted to them. God used the slaves in Egypt and made them the people of God through their experience and showing that their God is a faithful one. Yet the people of God took the wrong path that made God call himself a Jealous God for God wants them to be His people. Joshua is the one person entitled to do the mission of God by evoking the commitment in them through stating his powerful witness, “But as for me and my house, we will serve the LORD.”
We are called to God’s service and Joshua challenges us to be committed to God, no matter what happens. Fear the LORD in reverence, be faithful and sincere these features are essential for a fruitful life. Bearing these features exhibit our commitment to God. Hence, our commitment can become a great witness to the faith community to evoke their commitment toward God. May God the Holy Spirit guide us to lead a covenantal life with God which is filled with our commitment.
Gracious Lord our Heavenly Father, Help us to be committed to your ministry and make us a valuable bridge to connect the faith community in your love. In Jesus’ precious we pray. Amen.
Dan Thomas George
Mar Thoma Theological Seminary,