Saturday, March 10, 2018

Witness stone

TODAY'S SPECIAL: Joshua 22-24; Psalm 69

TO CHEW ON: "And Joshua said to all the people, 'Behold, this stone shall be a witness to us, for it has heard all the words of the Lord which He spoke to us. It shall therefore be a witness to you, lest you deny your God.' " Joshua 24:27

Joshua had lived a long good life. At 110 years no doubt he sensed the end was near. Here we have his last words to the people he had led into the Promised Land. They are not instructions on how to be materially successful or remain militarily strong. Rather, they are words of spiritual advice that, if followed, will help them be successful in all areas.

He challenges them:
- To choose Yahweh above the idols of the land they now live in (Joshua 24:16).
- To demonstrate their choice by putting away every vestige of the idol-worshiping life and serve God only (Joshua 24:23).

The people covenant wholeheartedly to do this (Joshua 24:24).

Then Joshua, obviously aware of their fickle tendencies, writes their promise in the Book of the Law of God and sets up a memorial stone beside the "church" as a reminder to the people of this covenant day. I'm sure his whimsical depiction of that stone hearing their promise (Joshua 24:27) arrests their attention later when they enter the sanctuary.

If their consciences are clear, that stone will remind them of Joshua and God's miracles when they conquered the land. If they are again flirting with idols (and they do) that stone will prick their consciences about their broken covenant and be a warning of the dangers of two-timing God (Joshua 24:19).

Like the Israelites, it is easy for us to make promises to God in the heat of emotion. I know I've made pledges and covenants at the height of spiritual fervor that, when reviewed later, seem unreal. Did that really happen? Did I really say that?

Joshua's idea of setting up a memorial stone to remind the people of their promise may be something we should adopt too. A stone, a wall hanging, a fridge magnet, a key fob, a table ornament designed to help us recall our covenant may help to pull us back to spiritual reality from the apparent reality of this world and its idols.

Dear God, this story reminds me of my own wayward tendencies. Help me to not only promise to be loyal to You but to make good on that promise. Amen.


Unless otherwise noted all Scripture quotations are taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

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