Summary: We must resist three temptations for America to remain good.
America the Good
Joshua 24:11-15 11 “‘Then you crossed the Jordan and came to Jericho. The citizens of Jericho fought against you, as did also the Amorites, Perizzites, Canaanites, Hittites, Girgashites, Hivites and Jebusites, but I gave them into your hands. 12 I sent the hornet ahead of you, which drove them out before you—also the two Amorite kings. You did not do it with your own sword and bow. 13 So I gave you a land on which you did not toil and cities you did not build; and you live in them and eat from vineyards and olive groves that you did not plant.’
14 “Now fear the LORD and serve him with all faithfulness. Throw away the gods your ancestors worshiped beyond the Euphrates River and in Egypt, and serve the LORD. 15 But if serving the LORD seems undesirable to you, then choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve, whether the gods your ancestors served beyond the Euphrates, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land you are living. But as for me and my household, we will serve the LORD.”
What makes America great? That was the question historian Alexis de Tocqueville (1805-1859) tried to answer when he came to America in 1830. This is what he wrote in 1831.
I sought for the greatness of the United States in her commodious harbors, her ample rivers, her fertile fields, and boundless forests--and it was not there. I sought for it in her rich mines, her vast world commerce, her public school system, and in her institutions of higher learning--and it was not there. I looked for it in her democratic Congress and her matchless Constitution--and it was not there. Not until I went into the churches of America and heard her pulpits flame with righteousness did I understand the secret of her genius and power. America is great because America is good, and if America ever ceases to be good, America will cease to be great!
Those should be familiar words to you. I am sure preachers have read them to you in the past. We are revisiting those words because they are still true today. America is great because America is good. Let me ask you a hard question. Do you believe America has lost some her goodness?
We are in the twenty fourth chapter of Joshua. So much has happened prior to this chapter. They had been through so much. They had experienced so much. They remembered so much. Just think about it for a moment. They remembered the cruelty of Egypt. They remembered how Moses summoned the pledges. They remembered the day they walked out of Egypt. They remembered how God broke natural law just for them and parted the sea. They remembered the Golden Calf and the Ten Commandments. They remembered the long years in the wilderness. They remembered the day they buried the great law giver, Moses. They remembered so much yet they longed for something new. The prize that had been waiting for them the whole time was now within reach, the Promised Land. Everyone was excited about entering their new home. That brings us to the text for today.