TIME FOR RENEWAL

Scripture Reading:  Joshua 24:16-28

“Then the people answered, ‘Far be it from us that we should forsake the Lord to serve other gods.  For it is the Lord our God who brought us and our fathers up from the land of Egypt, out of the house of slavery, and who did those great signs in our sight and preserved us in all the way that we went, and among all the peoples through whom we passed.'” (Joshua 24:16,17)

Joshua challenged the people about their faithfulness to God — “You therefore fear the Lord and serve Him in sincerity and in faithfulness.  Put away the gods that your fathers served beyond the River and in Egypt, and serve the Lord'” (v. 14).  Then he told the people that they had to make a choice — “And if it is evil in your sight to serve the Lord, choose this day whom you will serve…” (v. 15).  Now that the people of God possessed the land that God had promised them, it was time for a renewal of their commitment to the Lord.

Of course, the people responded that they would only serve the Lord — “”Far be it from us that we should forsake the Lord to serve other gods” (v. 16).  Joshua, however, challenged them again, “You are not able to serve the Lord, for He is a holy God.  He is a jealous God; He will not forgive your transgressions or your sins.  If you forsake the Lord and serve foreign gods, then He will turn and do you harm and consume you, after having done you good” (vs. 19,20).  Joshua knew how weak the people were and how fickle their faith could be.  So he spoke those strong words to them.

Making a commitment to the Lord is serious business. What Joshua said of God is true — He is a holy and jealous God.  He demands a full commitment from His people.  I’ve seen some people who made a verbal commitment to Jesus but whose lives showed no sign of transformation.  Words are not enough.  We must act on what we say we believe.  God wants us to love and to serve Him with whole hearted devotion.  This means putting away the false gods we serve — money, possessions, prestige, position, power, etc.  We must make the choice to renew our commitment to the Lord and take that commitment seriously.

Lord God, I acknowledge that You are a holy and jealous God.  I know that at times I am weak in faith and waver in my commitments to you.  I desire to serve You more fully and to walk in your ways more faithfully.  I know that this is impossible without the aid of Your Spirit who dwells within me.

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