Summary: Joshua recognized a major benchmark in Israel’s progress toward inheriting the Promised Land. Our graduates are entering a new phase of life acknowledging their past accomplishments & thereby initiating their significant work yet to be accomplished.
A NEW PHASE Of LIFE—Joshua 24:14-28
Graduates of High School & Community College
If you work without serving God, then you’ve chosen your god & your god is you!
Joshua recognized a major benchmark in Israel’s progress toward inheriting the Promised Land.
Our graduates have reached a benchmark acknowledging their past accomplishments & thereby initiating their significant work yet to be accomplished.
Our graduates are beginning a new phase of life.
How do we enter/begin a new phase of life.
4 requirements/determinations for a new phase of life.
If you are going to possess the ‘land’ God wants you to have, you must...
1—A New Phase of life requires your...
Explanation: (:14-16) Choice
:14—“Now therefore, fear the LORD, serve Him in sincerity & in truth, & put away the gods which your fathers served on the other side of the River & in Egypt. Serve the LORD!”
Joshua had just reviewed God’s history of provision, protection, guidance, etc. for Israel(24:2-13).
The intention/invitation logical conclusion drawn from their experience with YaHWeH follows in 24:14-28.
As a result of God’s grace/care, those who have been the direct recipients of it are obligated to both “fear” Him “serve” Him.
This fear & service directed toward God by His people is to be expressed in a character of “sincerity” & “truth”.
The practical outworking of their “fear & service” is in divorcing/‘putting away’ themselves from the gods served by their fathers, namely those gods of Terah, Abraham & Nahor beyond the River Euphrates, & later the Egyptian gods. The children of Israel served false gods in Egypt. Was this done in ignorance bowing to cultural dictates, mandates & pressures OR openly & willingly bowing to & aiding in the cultural climate? OR was it done coercively being forced upon them?
“Fear”—ary yaw-ray’—1) To fear, revere, be afraid; 2) (TWOT) to shoot, pour. Strong—a primitive root; To fear; morally, To revere; caus. To frighten:-- Affright, be (make) afraid, dread(-ful), (put in) fear(-ful, --fully, --ing), (be had in) reverence(-end), X see, terrible (act, --ness, thing).
“the LORD”(thruout)—hwhy yeh-ho-vaw’—Strong— (The) self-Existent or Eternal; Jehovah, Jewish national name of God:-- Jehovah, the Lord.
“Serve”(thruout)—dbe aw-bad’—1) To work, serve. Strong—a primitive root; To work (in any sense); by implication, To serve, till, (causatively) enslave, etc.:-- X be, keep in bondage, be bondmen, bond-service, compel, do, dress, ear, execute, + husbandman, keep, labour(-ing man, bring to pass, (cause to, make to) serve(-ing, self), (be, become) servant(-s), do (use) service, till(-er), transgress [from margin], (set a) work, be wrought, worshipper.
“Sincerity”—Mymt taw-meem’—1) Complete, whole, entire, sound—1a) Complete, whole, entire, 1b) Whole, sound, healthful, 1c) Complete, entire (of time), 1d) Sound, wholesome, unimpaired, innocent, having integrity, 1e) What is complete or entirely in accord with truth & fact (neuter adj/subst). Strong—Entire (literally, figuratively or morally); also (as noun) Integrity, truth:-- Without blemish, complete, full, perfect, sincerely (-ity), sound, without spot, undefiled, upright(-ly), whole.
“Truth”—tma ’eh’-meth—1) Firmness, faithfulness, truth—1a) Sureness, reliability, 1b) Stability, continuance, 1c) Faithfulness, reliableness, 1d) Truth—1d1) As spoken, 1d2) Of testimony & judgment, 1d3) Of divine instruction, 1d4) Truth as a body of ethical or religious knowledge, 1d5) True doctrine. Strong—Stability; (figuratively) Certainty, truth, trustworthiness:-- Assured(-ly), establishment, faithful, right, sure, true (-ly, -th), verity.
*NIV has “with all faithfulness” combining “sincerity & truth”(Lit.) as an idiomatic statement.
“Put away/Throw away”(See :23)—rwo soor—1) To turn aside, depart—1a) (Qal)—1a1) To turn aside, turn in unto, 1a2) To depart, depart from way, avoid, 1a3) To be removed, 1a4) To come to an end, 1b) (Polel) To turn aside, 1c) (Hiphil)—1c1) To cause to turn aside, cause to depart, remove, take away, put away, depose, 1c2) To put aside, leave undone, retract, reject, abolish, 1d) (Hophal) To be taken away, be removed. Strong—a primitive root; To turn off (literal or figurative).
:15—“And if it seems evil to you to serve the LORD, choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve, whether the gods which your fathers served that were on the other side of the River, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land you dwell. But as for me & my house, we will serve the LORD.”
Joshua laid out a choice before the people.
He gave them room to decide individually whether they would serve God or not.
If the people found it “disagreeable” to serve this YaHWeH of Grace then they were given freedom to decide whom they would serve. However, they were given an ultimatum to decide now. If they had had difficulty in their decision, Joshua’s reiteration of God’s goodness & grace should have been enough to convince them. The people had a choice of serving the true & living God of grace OR the gods beyond the River OR the gods of the Amorites whom they had just conquered.
Sihon was king of the Amorites who dwelt in the city of Heshbon(east of the Jordan). He was powerful enough to have conquered & extended his control over the kingdom of Moabites to the south. They obviously lived in the mountains to the west of the Jordan as well(Canaanites). However, God had used the Israel to conquer the Amorites & they now stood poised to keep their enemy’s land as their own.