Every week you’ll find different types of posts here on the ABS blog. Today’s post is for teachers, to encourage conversation and reflection in your Bible study group. Each “Let’s Talk About” activity can be used at any time during your meeting and lasts approximately 10-15 minutes.
Today, let's talk about...
“So now, revere the Lord. Serve him honestly and faithfully. Put aside the gods that your ancestors served beyond the Euphrates and in Egypt and serve the Lord. 15 But if it seems wrong in your opinion to serve the Lord, then choose today whom you will serve. Choose the gods whom your ancestors served beyond the Euphrates or the gods of the Amorites in whose land you live. But my family and I will serve the Lord.”
16 Then the people answered, “God forbid that we ever leave the Lord to serve other gods! 17 The Lord is our God. He is the one who brought us and our ancestors up from the land of Egypt, from the house of bondage. He has done these mighty signs in our sight. He has protected us the whole way we’ve gone and in all the nations through which we’ve passed. 18 The Lord has driven out all the nations before us, including the Amorites who lived in the land. We too will serve the Lord, because he is our God.”
19 Then Joshua said to the people, “You can’t serve the Lord, because he is a holy God. He is a jealous God. He won’t forgive your rebellion and your sins. 20 If you leave the Lord and serve foreign gods, then he will turn around and do you harm and finish you off, in spite of having done you good in the past.”
21 Then the people said to Joshua, “No! The Lord is the one we will serve.”
22 So Joshua said to the people, “You are witnesses against yourselves that you have chosen to serve the Lord.”
They said, “We are witnesses!”
23 “So now put aside the foreign gods that are among you. Focus your hearts on the Lord, the God of Israel.”
24 The people said to Joshua, “We will serve the Lord our God and will obey him.”
Joshua makes a covenant
25 On that day Joshua made a covenant for the people and established just rule for them at Shechem. 26 Joshua wrote these words in God’s Instruction scroll. Then he took a large stone and put it up there under the oak in the sanctuary of the Lord. 27 Joshua said to all the people, “This stone will serve here as a witness against us, because it has heard all the Lord’s words that he spoke to us. It will serve as a witness against you in case you aren’t true to your God.” 28 Then Joshua sent the people away to each one’s legacy.
Then the people said to Joshua, “No! The Lord is the one we will serve.” So Joshua said to the people, “You are witnesses against yourselves that you have chosen to serve the Lord.” They said, “We are witnesses!” —Joshua 24:21-22
This passage reflects Joshua’s concern about the people keeping their promise to follow God and God alone. He knew from Israel’s history how easily humans could be distracted and lured into idol worship. So, he not only asked people to choose to follow God but also he recorded their promise and consecrated a stone to serve as a reminder of the agreement. He warned them what would happen if they broke their promise to serve only God and bound them as witnesses to their promise.
Questions to Discuss:
Why do you think Joshua was skeptical about the people’s promise to follow God?
What did Joshua say would happen if they did not keep their promise to follow only God?
How might a physical marker like the stone have been helpful as a reminder of their promise?
What distracts us today from choosing to follow God and God alone?
What are some physical markers or reminders we use today to help us remember our faith?
Why might convincing others to follow God or Jesus be a hard sell?