Wednesday, April 24, 2019

2019.04.24 Hopewell @Home ▫ Joshua 24:16-28

Questions for Littles: Who are answering in Joshua 24:16? Whom do they say they will not forsake? Whom do they say they will not serve? What are four things that they acknowledge that Yahweh has done in Joshua 24:17-18? What is the ultimate reason that they give for serving Him at the end of verse 18? What does Joshua tell the people that they cannot do in Joshua 24:19? What two reasons does he give for this from God’s character? What reason does he give from God’s justice? What will Yahweh do if they forsake Him and serve strange gods (Joshua 24:20)? What do the people respond in Joshua 24:21? What does Joshua call them in Joshua 24:22? Who else calls them that? Then what does Joshua tell them to put away in Joshua 24:23? What does he say to do with their hearts? What do the people say in Joshua 24:24? What does Joshua make with them that day in Joshua 24:25? What does he set up as a witness in Joshua 24:26? What does he say “has heard” the words (Joshua 24:27)? Where do the people now go (Joshua 24:28)?
In this week’s Old Testament reading, it seems like Joshua’s speech from the previous passage has gained its aim, when the people commit themselves to the correct action, “We also will serve Yahweh, for He is our God.” Except that was, apparently, not Joshua’s aim.

It must have been shocking to the people when he said, “You cannot serve Yahweh!” God is holy; He demands a single-mindedness, a whole-heartedness, of which they are just incapable. What’s worse for them is that Yahweh is a righteous judge, and they don’t deserve to be made capable (end of Joshua 24:19). And the final and ultimate problem is that this just judgment makes them all the more the targets of Yahweh’s wrath (Joshua 24:20).

Yet, the people continue to acknowledge that the judgment of Yahweh has been correct in this. Joshua warns them that they are being witnesses against themselves, and they agree that they are witnesses. Fully half of the passage is their interaction about the stone of witness. Why?

Because while the book of Joshua declares the Lord’s faithfulness to His people (no falling words!), it also means to leave us wondering, “what about the people’s unfaithfulness to the Lord?” (only falling words!). And the answer has the same Hebrew name as Joshua. Jesus.

Jesus was single-minded and whole-hearted toward God. And Jesus deserved for us to be made able to believe into Him, so that His righteousness could be counted before God as our righteousness, and His life could become ours, replacing our death. The final message of Joshua’s life is, “You need Jesus!” And you do!
Are you able to be whole-hearted toward God? Who is? What difference does that make?
Suggested songs: ARP1 “How Blessed the Man or TPH459 “My Hope Is Built on Nothing Less”

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