Saturday, September 9, 2017
“Now therefore fear the LORD, and serve him in sincerity and in truth: and put away the gods which your fathers served on the other side of the flood, and in Egypt; and serve ye the LORD. And if it seem evil unto you to serve the LORD, choose you this day whom ye will serve; whether the gods which your fathers served that were on the other side of the flood, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land ye dwell: but as for me and my house, we will serve the LORD” (Joshua 24:14,15 KJV).
Whom shall Israel follow? (It depends on their circumstances!)
During Joshua’s lifetime, Israel failed to dispossess the land of Canaan from all aboriginal pagans (see Joshua 15:63; 16:10; 17:12,13; cf. Judges 1:19,21,27-33). The Israelites, sadly, allowed some heathen and their idols to remain in the land with them! Hence, prior to death, Joshua scolded Israel: “Know for a certainty that the LORD your God will no more drive out any of these nations from before you; but they shall be snares and traps unto you, and scourges in your sides, and thorns in your eyes, until ye perish from off this good land which the LORD your God hath given you” (Joshua 23:13).
After Joshua’s decease, the angel of the LORD told Israel: “Wherefore I also said, I will not drive them out from before you; but they shall be as thorns in your sides, and their gods shall be a snare unto you” (Judges 2:3). Verse 21: “I also will not henceforth drive out any from before them of the nations which Joshua left when he died:….”
Joshua 23:6-8 was part of Joshua’s final plea: “ Be ye therefore very courageous to keep and to do all that is written in the book of the law of Moses, that ye turn not aside therefrom to the right hand or to the left;  That ye come not among these nations, these that remain among you; neither make mention of the name of their gods, nor cause to swear by them, neither serve them, nor bow yourselves unto them:  But cleave unto the LORD your God, as ye have done unto this day.” Thus explains Israel’s fickle spirituality throughout (subsequent) Judges….
Our latest Bible Q&A: “How should we pray for people enduring natural catastrophes and other tragedies?”