Lent Devotion for March 23
"A Faithful Generation!”
Reader: “You are witnesses against yourselves…”
Response: “…that you have chosen to serve the Lord.”
14 “Now fear the Lord and serve him with all faithfulness. Throw away the gods your ancestors worshiped beyond the Euphrates 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 ancestors served beyond the Euphrates, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land you are living. But as for me and my household, we will serve the Lord.”
16 Then the people answered, “Far be it from us to forsake the Lord to serve other gods! 17 It was the Lord our God himself who brought us and our parents up out of Egypt, from that land of slavery, and performed those great signs before our eyes. He protected us on our entire journey and among all the nations through which we traveled. 18 And the Lord drove out before us all the nations, including the Amorites, who lived in the land. We too will serve the Lord, because he is our God.”
19 Joshua said to the people, “You are not able to serve the Lord. He is a holy God; he is a jealous God. He will not forgive your rebellion and your sins. 20 If you forsake the Lord and serve foreign gods, he will turn and bring disaster on you and make an end of you, after he has been good to you.”
21 But the people said to Joshua, “No! We will serve the Lord.”
22 Then Joshua said, “You are witnesses against yourselves that you have chosen to serve the Lord.”
“Yes, we are witnesses,” they replied.
23 “Now then,” said Joshua, “throw away the foreign gods that are among you and yield your hearts to the Lord, the God of Israel.”
24 And the people said to Joshua, “We will serve the Lord our God and obey him.”
31 Israel served the Lord throughout the lifetime of Joshua and of the elders who outlived him and who had experienced everything the Lord had done for Israel.
32 And Joseph’s bones, which the Israelites had brought up from Egypt, were buried at Shechem in the tract of land that Jacob bought for a hundred pieces of silver[a] from the sons of Hamor, the father of Shechem. This became the inheritance of Joseph’s descendants.
33 And Eleazar son of Aaron died and was buried at Gibeah, which had been allotted to his son Phinehas in the hill country of Ephraim.
Reader: "The word of the Lord.”
Response: “Thanks be to God.”
After all the troubles we’ve read so far with the grief the Israelites gave Moses and Aaron, we now read about their children. Joshua gives a brief review of God’s call to Abraham and traces the history of these people from the previous 700 years. I’m wondering how often during those forty years in the desert the children heard their parents tell the story of what it was like to leave Egypt the night of the Passover, or talk about the trip through the Red Sea as God walled up the waters on either side, and then how the Egyptian army was destroyed as they tried to go through the same path. Do you suppose they told them of the story of Korah and Abiram and their families being swallowed up as the earth opened underneath them because of their sin? Then there was the bronze serpent on a pole where people looked to be healed after a plague had broken out in response to a rebellion. By the way, they still had that pole with them. I have to think all these stories had a positive effect on the children of the rebellious generation. Perhaps they learned from their parents’ mistakes the folly of rejecting God. Joshua provided a godly model of leadership and they followed. In his words, “As for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.” He and Caleb had been through the entire time each bearing a godly spirit and faithfulness. The result is verse thirty-one. You see how powerful is the godly leadership of Joshua and the elders who served with him. Even after Joshua was gone, and throughout the lifetime of the elders, the people continued to trust in God and walk in His ways. O that would be the legacy of every leader and parent, that your children would walk worthy of the Lord.
(The 400-year-old bones of Joseph were buried in the portion of land given to the descendants of his son, Ephriam. (Yes, his bones made it through the forty years in the wilderness!) Finally, Phineas, who had acted so powerfully in his zeal for the Lord succeeded his father as high priest. It was not nepotism. All high priests had to come from the lineage of Aaron, who was Phineas’ grandfather.)
"As For Me and My House” by Ron Kenoly (Watch on YouTube)
O Lord, vouchsafe to look mercifully upon us, and grant that we may choose the way of peace; so that, rescued from the captivity of the sins, which have oppressed us, we may attain the dwellings of the heavenly Jerusalem; through Jesus Christ, Amen.
- Prayers Ancient and Modern, p.54