Bible Society of South Africa
Benescke Janse van Rensburg

New Hope (Part 1) – Day 14

New hope ... when we put God first

Bible text(s)

15If you are not willing to serve him, decide today whom you will serve, the gods your ancestors worshipped in Mesopotamia or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land you are now living. As for my family and me, we will serve the LORD.”

Joshua 24:15GNBOpen in Bible reader

Come with me back in time to the year 1372 B.C. The Israelites now reside for the past 50 years in the promised land of Canaan. Today, they have gathered in the town of Shechem to listen to their 110-year-old leader, Joshua, who will be speaking to them about God.

Imagine Joshua leaning forward on his cane before he starts his speech, in which he reminds the Israelites of God’s faithfulness: “This is what the Lord, the God of Israel, says: ‘Long ago your ancestors, including Terah, the father of Abraham and Nahor, lived beyond the Euphrates River, and they worshipped other gods. But I took your ancestor, Abraham, from the land beyond the Euphrates and led him into the land of Canaan. I gave him many descendants through his son Isaac. … Then I sent Moses and Aaron, and I brought terrible plagues on Egypt; and afterwards, I brought you out as a free people.

‘But when your ancestors arrived at the Red Sea, the Egyptians chased after you with chariots and charioteers. When your ancestors cried out to the Lord, I brought the sea crashing down on the Egyptians, drowning them. With your very own eyes, you saw what I did. Then, you lived in the wilderness for many years.

‘When you crossed the Jordan River and came to Jericho, the men of Jericho fought against you. … But I gave you victory over them. And I sent terror ahead of you to drive out the two kings of the Amorites. It was not your swords or bows that brought you victory. I gave you land you had not worked for and I gave you towns you did not build – the towns where you are now living …’”

Why did God remind the Israelites of the past? He knew that when we look back at the past and remember where he protected us and where he gave us breakthroughs, it becomes easier for us to trust him for breakthroughs in the present. However, God never forced the Israelites to worship him, but still gave them a choice – they could serve him or they could worship idols. Both decisions, however, had consequences.

In Joshua 24:15, Joshua closes his speech with the clear decision by him and his family: “Would you prefer the gods your ancestors served beyond the Euphrates? Or will it be the gods of the Amorites in whose land you now live? But as for me and my family, we will serve the Lord.”

In Shechem, the Israelites (even those who became involved in idolatry), turned back to God to worship him. In response to their decision, Joshua erected a huge statue to remind them of their decision. In addition, because they decided to worship God, he blessed and protected them.

You too are standing at a point today where you can decide to either put God first in your family, marriage, work and life or allow yourself to be carried away by worldly practices. What will your choice be? Remember, your decision will have an effect on you and your family! God bless.

Bible Society of South Africav.4.18.7
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