"Now, therefore, fear the LORD and serve Him in sincerity and truth; and put away the gods which your fathers served beyond the River and in Egypt, and serve the LORD.Joshua 24:14(NASB)
Joshua led the children of Israel across the Jordan and into the Promised Land to take up their promised inheritance. And as Joshua's death drew ever closer, he gave a farewell speech to the nation which had been chosen by God to be a holy nation unto the Lord and a peculiar people unto Himself. Joshua rehearsed his final instructions in the ears of a nation that was to frequently and repeatedly do evil in the eyes of the Lord.
He reminded them of God's precious promises given to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. He took them through the occasions when God led them into the land of Canaan, multiplied their descendants, saved them from the bondage of Egypt, and slew Pharaoh' army in the Red Sea.
He reminded them of God's continuous blessings during the wilderness wanderings, despite Israel's murmurings and unbelief, and he recalled the numerous times that God delivered Israel's enemies into their hands.
And finally, as the time for his departure drew ever closer, Joshua exhorted the people to put away the gods which their fathers had served beyond the River Jordan and in Egypt. Joshua was determined that he and his house would serve the Lord in reverence and fear and his departing words to the people of Israel were: "Serve the LORD, give ear to the LORD and serve Him in sincerity and truth."
The urgent call that Joshua gave to the people of Israel is the same call that is needed in the Church today: "Give ear to the LORD and serve Him in sincerity and truth." As believers, we also have been saved. We have been saved from bondage to sin and death. We have been rescued from the kingdom of darkness and brought into the kingdom of God's dear Son, by grace through faith in Him.
We have been saved, redeemed, and blessed with every spiritual blessing. We are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation unto God, and His special possession so that we may declare the praises of Him who called us out of darkness into his wonderful light. And yet too often we murmur against the Lord when things do not go as we expect or hope, and we demonstrate unbelief in our Heavenly Father by trusting in our own strength and not depending on Him in spirit and truth.
Let us take to heart Joshua's wise instructions to trust in the Lord with all our heart and to serve our Heavenly Father in sincerity, in spirit, and in truth, to His praise and glory.
Heavenly Father, thank You for all that You have done for me. You have loved me with an everlasting love, even when I was lost in my sins and an enemy of God. You have saved me by grace through faith in Jesus Christ my Lord and Saviour, purchasing me as Your special possession with His blood. I desire to walk in spirit and truth to Your praise and glory, for the rest of my life. In Jesus' name, AMEN.
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