Fear and Serve Him
Joshua 24:14 (ESV) -- Now 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.
Joshua was nearing his death. He was an old man at this point. He witnessed the incredible feats of God in Egypt, in the wilderness, and crossing the Jordan River. His life had been marked by faithfulness despite the unfaithfulness of the Israelites surrounding him. Now his life is nearing its end. He gives some final words of exhortation to them.
They are recorded in Joshua 24:14. He tells them, "Now 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.” He tells them to fear the LORD. Why? Because the basis of obedience is rooted in a fear of God. It is understanding His bigness and greatness that teaches us not to trifle with Him. Fear of God is healthy. This fear should lead us to serve Him with a sincere heart. It is not begrudging service. This fear of God fosters a life of faithfulness. We recognize His worthiness with our lives, gifts, and obedience and everything is devoted to Him.
Joshua then warns them to put away the gods their fathers worshiped in Egypt and in the wilderness. This is the unfaithfulness the Israelites were marked by in their early years, even though they witnessed God do incredible feats in their sight. They are to forsake every false god and idol and serve the One True God alone.
Why did Joshua need to exhort them this way? Because their hearts were prone to wander. Ours are too. We need constant reminders to be faithful. We need regular exhortations to turn from sin and serve the Living God. Our hearts are too quick to rebel and stray. We must recognize the tendency inside each of us to not fear God. He is not like us. He is holy, righteous, and worthy of undivided worship. Let’s give it to Him.
Reflection & Journal:
- What are some examples of Israel’s unfaithfulness during Joshua’s life?
- Why does Joshua give them this final charge? What does it say about our hearts?
- How does this passage speak to the character of God? How does it speak to the character of man?
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