*image originated here
Joshua 21 – 24
The Levites are the final tribe to receive their towns for inheritance as the LORD commanded. Then the rest of the Joshua deals with the return home of the Israelites living East of the Jordan and the death of Joshua.
It is amazing to me that this passage happened to fall during the weekend where we in the United States celebrate all the sacrifices our servicemembers have made for us! We live in a time of great uncertainty. Wars and rumours of wars keep many of us awake at night in anxiety for the world we live in and its future. Where we are reading right now, Israel has just come through a time much like this one. They were wandering the desert without answers, without knowing where they were going, and being asked to have faith anyway. Do you think God asks any less of us? Whether you like the current administration or not, whether you look on the next generation with disgust or hope, all that is asked of you is to:
“…to love the LORD your God, to walk in all his ways, to obey his commands, to hold fast and to serve him with all your heart and all your soul.”
This both the hardest part of being a Christian and the highest calling. You cannot have it two ways. You cannot serve the world and Christ.
In these chapters the Israelites get really angry at the ones who have returned home east of the Jordan because they built an altar on the border and the Western Israelites think the Eastern ones have already rebelled against God. However their only purpose was to put up a reminder that the Israelites living east of the Jordan had a right to serve God too. Israel is glad to hear this.
They are challenged again as Joshua is dying, when he reminds them of all Fod has done for them and tells them he doesn’t think they will serve God for very long.
“But if serving the LORD seems undesiravle to you, then choose for yourselves this day whome you will serve, whether the gods your forefathers served beyond the River, or the gods of the Amirites, in whose land you are living. But as for me and my household, we will serve the LORD.”
The Israelites answer three more times that they too will serve the LORD who has kept all His good promises to them. They know He will also keep all His threats of judgement when they fail.
It is a wonderful thing to serve our nation and eachother. Service is an act of love. But, if we don’t put God first in that service He will not fight for us and we will never have peace.
We should seek to live as Joseph lived. No matter the hardships or the temptations in his life he chose to serve God without complaint and God blesses him because of this. In the end he is finally reunited with his family and his family have now been brought home. They carried his bones with them from Egypt as they promised and now he will rest in the land promised to them for generations.
Who will you serve? The God of Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Joseph, Moses, Joshua and the conquering Israelites or something else like a golden cow?