Wednesday, August 8, 2018

EmmDev 2018-08-08 [Faith among grasshopper hearts] As for me and my house

As for me and my house

We're at the end of the book of Joshua and reading Joshua's last sermon. They have settled in the land and defeated their enemies. The warriors from tribes that lived East of the Jordan have returned to their home towns and Joshua has advanced in years. He gathers the people together for one last "team talk".

In this beautiful passage Joshua does three things:

  1. He recounts the important moments of their history
  2. He names some of the role-players
  3. He calls the people to re-commitment

1. As he recounts their history he talks about Abraham coming to faith from worshipping other gods. He talks about God's covenant with Abraham and their bondage in Egypt. He remembers the Exodus as well as the wilderness years but draws attention to the bounty they now experience through God's grace and kindness.

Can you remember when you were saved? When you turned to God amidst all the other gods? Can you remember when God saved you from enemies and fed you in the wilderness? What about the bountiful (and mostly undeserved) life that you enjoy now? Have you given thanks? Have you honoured your Saviour, Deliverer, Provider and Blesser? Take a moment to do it now....

2. Joshua names a number of people. Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Moses, Aaron and even Baalam. We could do an in-depth study on each of these:
Abraham was a pioneer, but sometimes tried to do God's work his (Abraham's) way.
Isaac was quiet and in the background.
Jacob was a fixer - a manipulator - a schemer.
Moses doubted himself and sometimes led timidly.
Aaron made the golden calf because he was afraid of the people.
Baalam set out to curse God's people, but a talking donkey changed his mind.
The point is, no matter who we are, God can use us.

3. Joshua calls the people to re-commit. Joshua knew that the people's commitment would wane. He calls them to remain true to the Lord and creates a moment of rededication and re-commitment.
In essence he is is asking them for four things:

  1. Fear the Lord. The Hebrew Word for "fear" spans the semantic spectrum of awe and wonder on one side (that we tremble at His greatness and holiness) to being afraid to let go of Him on on the other side because we have realised that we are nothing without Him.
  2. Cast aside all foreign gods. Today our foreign gods are not baals and asherah poles, but wrong priorities, materialism, societal acceptance and such like. We easily get drawn in by these foreign gods.
  3. Choose this day. This is not the first time Joshua has asked the people to remember or choose for God. Following God is not a once-off, been-there-done-that-got-the-Tshirt affair, but an ongoing journey where we must regularly, if not daily, turn our wayward hearts back toward the Father's house.
  4. Do it with your family. Joshua talks about "me and my house." This gives us the challenge of keeping our family in the faith. We should do whatever we can to keep our families together and close to God.

Read this beautiful passage below and take time to re-commit yourself in these four dimensions...

Then Joshua assembled all the tribes of Israel at Shechem. He summoned the elders, leaders, judges and officials of Israel, and they presented themselves before God.
2 Joshua said to all the people, "This is what the LORD, the God of Israel, says: 'Long ago your forefathers, including Terah the father of Abraham and Nahor, lived beyond the River and worshiped other gods. 3 But I took your father Abraham from the land beyond the River and led him throughout Canaan and gave him many descendants. I gave him Isaac, 4 and to Isaac I gave Jacob and Esau. I assigned the hill country of Seir to Esau, but Jacob and his sons went down to Egypt.
5 " 'Then I sent Moses and Aaron, and I afflicted the Egyptians by what I did there, and I brought you out. 6 When I brought your fathers out of Egypt, you came to the sea, and the Egyptians pursued them with chariots and horsemen as far as the Red Sea. 7 But they cried to the LORD for help, and he put darkness between you and the Egyptians; he brought the sea over them and covered them. You saw with your own eyes what I did to the Egyptians. Then you lived in the desert for a long time.
8 "'I brought you to the land of the Amorites who lived east of the Jordan. They fought against you, but I gave them into your hands. I destroyed them from before you, and you took possession of their land. 9 When Balak son of Zippor, the king of Moab, prepared to fight against Israel, he sent for Balaam son of Beor to put a curse on you. 10 But I would not listen to Balaam, so he blessed you again and again, and I delivered you out of his hand.
11 " 'Then you crossed the Jordan and came to Jericho. The citizens of Jericho fought against you, as did also the Amorites, Perizzites, Canaanites, Hittites, Girgashites, Hivites and Jebusites, but I gave them into your hands. 12 I sent the hornet ahead of you, which drove them out before you--also the two Amorite kings. You did not do it with your own sword and bow. 13 So I gave you a land on which you did not toil and cities you did not build; and you live in them and eat from vineyards and olive groves that you did not plant.'
14 "Now fear the LORD and serve him with all faithfulness. Throw away the gods your forefathers worshiped beyond the River and in Egypt, and serve the LORD. 15 But if serving the LORD seems undesirable to you, then choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve, whether the gods your forefathers served beyond the River, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land you are living. But as for me and my household, we will serve the LORD."      (Joshua24:1-15)

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