Change of heart
So Joshua made a covenant with the people that day at Shechem, committing them to follow the decrees and regulations of the Lord. Joshua recorded these things in the Book of God’s Instructions. As a reminder of their agreement, he took a huge stone and rolled it beneath the terebinth tree beside the Tabernacle of the Lord. Joshua said to all the people, “This stone has heard everything the Lord said to us. It will be a witness to testify against you if you go back on your word to God.” Then Joshua sent all the people away to their own homelands. Joshua 24:25-28 NLT
How Joshua wished that he could have the power to alter the minds of the Israelites and have them obey and serve God. But it can only happen in the individual’s volition to let God allow Him to change their hearts as He convicts them of their sin. The need is to cleanse their hearts of all idolatrous practices. This can only happen when they predispose themselves of God working in their hearts. When the Israelites renewed their covenant with God, Joshua took a large stone and told the Israelites; “This stone...will be a witness to testify against you if you go back on your word to God.” The stone will serve as a memorial to their commitment to God. There is nothing wrong in memorializing a momentous event in the life of believers as long as this will not become a focus of idolatrous worship. Joshua brought the Israelites into thinking of their experiences in the past so that they will be reminded of God’s faithfulness. In this way, they will always remember that God is with them as they move forward living the life He gave them. They have witnessed and experienced God’s gracious acts and such knowledge should help them not be tempted to turn away from God. Serving God is made out of a deliberate choice prompted by a change of heart. Being satisfied with how the people responded, “Joshua sent all the people away to their own homelands.” Joshua did all he could do and if the Israelites were judged and perished, it would be because they were not true to their word and had taken for granted God’s command.