Remembering the past
Then Joshua summoned all the tribes of Israel to Shechem, including their elders, leaders, judges, and officers. So they came and presented themselves to God. Joshua said to the people, “This is what the Lord, the God of Israel, says: Long ago your ancestors, including Terah, the father of Abraham and Nahor, lived beyond the Euphrates River, and they worshiped other gods. But I took your ancestor Abraham from the land beyond the Euphrates and led him into the land of Canaan. I gave him many descendants through his son Isaac. To Isaac I gave Jacob and Esau. To Esau I gave the mountains of Seir, while Jacob and his children went down into Egypt. Joshua 24:1-4 NLT
From the text, we read about the final address of Joshua not only to the leaders but to all of Israel. Joshua stood before the people as God’s spokesperson; “This is what the Lord, the God of Israel, says.” Then he brought them back from history to how God established Israel to be His people. Reminding them about the past will help them realize that God’s calling was part of His plan for their lives. The event happened in Shechem for it was the place where God promised to Abraham that Canaan will be the land the Israelites will inherit. “Abram traveled through the land as far as Shechem. There he set up camp beside the oak of Moreh. At that time, the area was inhabited by Canaanites. Then the Lord appeared to Abram and said, “I will give this land to your descendants” (Genesis 12:6-7). Joshua used the terms “Lord” twenty four times and “serve” fifteen times just in this last chapter. He was emphasizing the fact that they arrived to the Promised Land because of God and they are there to serve Him. It was because of God’s grace that they were chosen to be His people. Abraham did not seek God on his own for his ancestors and family were idol worshipers; “the father of Abraham and Nahor, lived beyond the Euphrates River, and they worshiped other gods.” It was God who took Abraham and brought him out of that life of idolatry. Believers in Christ have been called in the same way. This is what Jesus told His disciples; “You didn’t choose me. I chose you. I appointed you to go and produce lasting fruit” (John 15:16). We were not called by God because of our commendable acts but because of His grace. This fact should lead us to live lives of humility, obedience, and service to God. Such realization should motivate us to acknowledge the lordship of God and His call to us to a life of service. “You are a chosen people. You are royal priests, a holy nation, God’s very own possession. As a result, you can show others the goodness of God, for he called you out of the darkness into his wonderful light” (1 Peter 2:9). Let us not forget what Christ has done for us when He saved us from our old life and let us live the new life for His glory.