Today’s Jesse tree story is Joshua. Last year, this story attracted 38 comments, many about the slaughter of the Jericho inhabitants, and others about the historicity of the story.
Feel free to say it all again.
Meanwhile, I want to fast forward a few chapters in the story, to Joshua 24. Joshua is a very old man. The promised land is more or less at peace, and the Israelites have settled down side by side with the Canaanites. Joshua knows he is about to die, and he wants to remind the people one more time that their continued survival as a people depends on them being God’s people. He gives them a choice:
“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. 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.”
Then the people answered, “Far be it from us to forsake the LORD to serve other gods! It was the LORD our God himself who brought us and our parents up out of Egypt, from that land of slavery, and performed those great signs before our eyes. He protected us on our entire journey and among all the nations through which we traveled. And the LORD drove out before us all the nations, including the Amorites, who lived in the land. We too will serve the LORD, because he is our God.”
Joshua said to the people, “You are not able to serve the LORD. He is a holy God; he is a jealous God. He will not forgive your rebellion and your sins. 20 If you forsake the LORD and serve foreign gods, he will turn and bring disaster on you and make an end of you, after he has been good to you.”
But the people said to Joshua, “No! We will serve the LORD.”
Then Joshua said, “You are witnesses against yourselves that you have chosen to serve the LORD.”
“Yes, we are witnesses,” they replied.
So they can’t say they weren’t warned.