Pastoral Commentary for Joshua 24
Author: Pastor Bob Nordlie
Joshua's final act of leadership was to renew the covenant between God and His chosen people Israel. Joshua began by reciting the history of God's choosing His people from the time He called Abraham, and down through Isaac and Jacob, to the Exodus from Egypt through the plagues and the Red Sea. This recollection of salvation history was intended to strengthen the faith of God's people and enable them to trust in Him so that they would serve and obey Him. After reminding Israel of God's faithfulness, Joshua challenged the people to serve the LORD with all faithfulness. He laid out the options for them clearly, exhorting them by the example of His own faith. "But if serving the LORD seems undesirable to you, then choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve, whether the gods your forefathers served beyond the River, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land you are living. But as for me and my household, we will serve the LORD." When the people quickly responded with a promise to serve God, Joshua cautioned them that this was not something they could do on their own. "You are not able to serve the LORD. He is a holy God; he is a jealous God." None of us can meet God's standard of holiness on our own. Only by faith, with His power at work within us, can we love and serve Him. Joshua admonished to people to throw away any idols they might still have, and set up a large stone marker to remind them of their Covenant promise. Joshua died and was buried in the Promised Land, as were Jacob's bones, as well as Eleazar the priest, son of Aaron. Israel's faithfulness, however, would be short-lived following the passing of those who had witnessed God's mighty acts on their behalf. This is why it is so important to tell every new generation all that God has done for our salvation.