Wednesday, April 17, 2019

2019.04.17 Hopewell @Home ▫ Joshua 24:1-15

Questions for Littles: Whom did Joshua gather in Joshua 24:1? For whom did he call? Before whom did they present themselves? Who is saying the words that are coming out of Joshua’s mouth (Joshua 24:2)? Who dwelt on the other side of the river? When? What did they do there? In Joshua 24:3, what four things does the Lord mention having done for Abraham? What did the Lord give Esau in Joshua 24:4? But where did Jacob and his children go? What did the Lord do there (Joshua 24:5)? Whom did the Lord bring out of Egypt (Joshua 24:6)? To where did they come? Who pursued them? To whom did the Israelites cry (Joshua 24:7)? What did He do? Then, where did the Israelites dwell for a long time? What happened with the Amorites on the east side of the Jordan (Joshua 24:8)? Who then arose against Israel (Joshua 24:9)? Whom did he call to do what? What did the Lord make Balaam to do instead (Joshua 24:10)? From the hands of which eight groups does Joshua 24:11 mention Yahweh delivering His people? What is one thing that the Lord used to deliver them (Joshua 24:12)? What does He say He did NOT use to deliver them? What four things does Joshua 24:13 say that God gave them, but that they did not have to produce? What does He, therefore, command them to do (Joshua 24:14)? Whom does He say to put away? Whose gods does Joshua suggest they might serve in Joshua 24:15? After reading the first fourteen verses, why might those gods be poor choices, even from a worldly perspective? Whom does Joshua say he will serve? Whom else does Joshua say will serve Yahweh?
In this week’s Old Testament reading, the Lord reminds His people about the god-battles that are part of their history. The gods of Egypt couldn’t deliver them. The gods of the Amorites couldn’t deliver them. Balak of the Moabites was smarter—he tried to have Yahweh on his side, but the Lord refused. The gods of Jericho couldn’t deliver them. The gods of the Perizzites, Canaanites, Hittites, Girgashites, Hivites, and Jebusites couldn’t deliver them. But Yahweh? He delivered Israel. And delivered them. And delivered them. And delivered them.

Can you imagine? Hornets rising up against you? And hailstones (cf. Joshua 10:11)? It would seem like the entire creation was up against you. But it was actually even worse: the Creator Himself was against them! For Israel’s part, the reverse was true: the Creator Himself was for them!

And He surrounded their lives with evidence that He is for them. Their land that they did not labor either to clear or to possess. Cities that they did not build. Vineyards and olive groves that they did not plant. Wells that they had not dug (cf. Deuteronomy 6:11).

The Lord has done even better for us, to show us that the Creator is for us. He, the Creator, has given Himself for us! Romans 8:31-32 puts it this way: “What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? He who did not spare His own Son, but delivered Him up for us all, how shall He not with Him also freely give us all things?”

So the same choice faces us today. Nothing else and no one else, that others trust in or live for, can deliver them or provide for them. But Yahweh, Jesus, has given Himself for us. Will we give ourselves to Him who gave Himself for us? Or will we reject all of the evidence around us and decide that we’d like life better trusting something/someone else and living for something/someone else?
In what do you tend to trust, instead of the Lord? In what do you tend to delight, instead of the Lord? For what do you tend to live instead of the Lord? What are a couple of your favorite things? What would it look like to enjoy them as from the Lord and use them as for the Lord?
Suggested songs: ARP2 “Why Do Gentile Nations Rage?” or TPH265 “In Christ Alone”

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