Title: Be A Father To Your Children
Scripture: Joshua 24:1-28 NKJV
The beloved radio commentator, Paul Harvey, wrote: “At a time when being a buddy to one’s son is so popular, I am going to stay a Father… if a gap exists between my sons and daughters and myself, I am going to work hard to understand, but I am also going, to work hard to be understood… when they tell it is, I will listen, even if I like it better the way it was.
If old fashioned things such as prayer, Bible Study, worship and faith in God ever seem to my children to be out of date, square, or whatever – I trust God’s help to have faith enough to yet pray for them, and I pledge with the patriarch Job to offer additional sacrifices to them.
With love in our home, I will answer their questions about the facts of life, but at nudeness and lewdness I refuse to wink…
If experimentation with drugs or Marijuana is ever a problem, it will be in violation of my every prayer and request…
I want my children to know that I make mistakes, that I am foolish, proud, and often inconsistent.
But I will not tolerate that as an excuse for my hypocrisy.
I will ask them to help me change…
Others may look to the under-thirty crowd for the wisdom to throw away the past, and to say what will remain for future generations; others may let the offspring in the house determine the foods, the music, and the spending of the household, but I am going to stay a Father.
But the question becomes… “Who will we serve in our life?” Let’s see what God’s guidance tells us to do in His Word, as we read further…
24 1-2 Joshua called together all the tribes of Israel at Shechem. He called in the elders, chiefs, judges, and officers. They presented themselves before God. Then Joshua addressed all the people:
2-6 “This is what God, the God of Israel, says: A long time ago your ancestors, Terah and his sons Abraham and Nahor, lived to the east of the River Euphrates. They worshiped other gods. I took your ancestor Abraham from the far side of The River. I led him all over the land of Canaan and multiplied his descendants. I gave him Isaac. Then I gave Isaac Jacob and Esau. I let Esau have the mountains of Seir as home, but Jacob and his sons ended up in Egypt. I sent Moses and Aaron. I hit Egypt hard with plagues and then led you out of there. I brought your ancestors out of Egypt. You came to the sea, the Egyptians in hot pursuit with chariots and cavalry, to the very edge of the Red Sea!
7-10 “Then they cried out for help to God. He put a cloud between you and the Egyptians and then let the sea loose on them. It drowned them.
“You watched the whole thing with your own eyes, what I did to Egypt. And then you lived in the wilderness for a long time. I brought you to the country of the Amorites, who lived east of the Jordan, and they fought you. But I fought for you and you took their land. I destroyed them for you. Then Balak son of Zippor made his appearance. He was the king of Moab. He got ready to fight Israel by sending for Balaam son of Beor to come and curse you. But I wouldn’t listen to Balaam—he ended up blessing you over and over! I saved you from him.
11 “You then crossed the Jordan and came to Jericho. The Jericho leaders ganged up on you as well as the Amorites, Perizzites, Canaanites, Hittites, Girgashites, Hivites, and Jebusites, but I turned them over to you.
12 “I sent the Hornet ahead of you. It drove out the two Amorite kings—did your work for you. You didn’t have to do a thing, not so much as raise a finger.
13 “I handed you a land for which you did not work, towns you did not build. And here you are now living in them and eating from vineyards and olive groves you did not plant.
14 “So now: Fear God. Worship him in total commitment. Get rid of the gods your ancestors worshiped on the far side of The River (the Euphrates) and in Egypt. You, worship God.
15 “If you decide that it’s a bad thing to worship God, then choose a god you’d rather serve—and do it today. Choose one of the gods your ancestors worshiped from the country beyond The River, or one of the gods of the Amorites, on whose land you’re now living. As for me and my family, we’ll worship God.”
Reflection: (Joshua 24:15)
The people had to decide whether they would obey the Lord, who had proven his trustworthiness, or obey the local gods, which were only hand-made idols.
It’s easy to slip into quiet rebellion – going about life in your own way.
But the time comes when you have to choose who or what will control you.
The choice is yours.
Will it be God, your own limited personality, or another imperfect substitute?
Once you have chosen to be controlled by God’s Spirit, reaffirm your choice every day.
Reflection: (Joshua 24:15)
In taking a definite stand for the Lord, Joshua again displayed his spiritual leadership.
Because Joshua had made a commitment to God, he was determined to set an example of living by that decision, regardless of what others decided.
The way we live shows others the strength of our commitment to serve God.
16 The people answered, “We’d never forsake God! Never! We’d never leave God to worship other gods.
17-18 “God is our God! He brought up our ancestors from Egypt and from slave conditions. He did all those great signs while we watched. He has kept his eye on us all along the roads we’ve traveled and among the nations we’ve passed through. Just for us he drove out all the nations, Amorites and all, who lived in the land.
“Count us in: We too are going to worship God. He’s our God.”
19-20 Then Joshua told the people: “You can’t do it; you’re not able to worship God. He is a holy God. He is a jealous God. He won’t put up with your fooling around and sinning. When you leave God and take up the worship of foreign gods, he’ll turn right around and come down on you hard. He’ll put an end to you—and after all the good he has done for you!”
21 But the people told Joshua: “No! No! We worship God!”
Reflection: (Joshua 24:16-18, 21)
All the people boldly claimed that they would never forsake the Lord.
But they did not keep that promise.
Very soon God would charge they with breaking their contract with Him (Judges 2:2-3).
Talk is cheap.
It is easy to say we will follow God, but it is much more important to live like it.
Yet the nation followed God throughout Joshua’s lifetime, a great tribute to Joshua’s faith in God and powerful leadership.
22 And so Joshua addressed the people: “You are witnesses against yourselves that you have chosen God for yourselves—to worship him.”
And they said, “We are witnesses.”
23 Joshua said, “Now get rid of all the foreign gods you have with you. Say an unqualified Yes to God, the God of Israel.”
Joshua told the Israelites to destroy their foreign gods – their idols.
To follow God requires destroying whatever gets in the way of worshipping Him.
We have our own form of idols – greed, wrong priorities, jealousy, prejudice – that get in the way of worshipping God.
God is not satisfied if we merely hide these idols.
We must completely remove them from our lives.
24 The people answered Joshua, “We will worship God. What he says, we’ll do.”
25-26 Joshua completed a Covenant for the people that day there at Shechem. He made it official, spelling it out in detail. Joshua wrote out all the directions and regulations into the Book of The Revelation of God. Then he took a large stone and set it up under the oak that was in the holy place of God.
Reflection: (Joshua 24:24-26)
The covenant between Israel and God was that the people would worship and obey the Lord alone.
Their purpose was to become a holy nation that would influence the rest of the world for God.
The conquest of Canaan was a means to achieve this purpose, but Israel became preoccupied with the land and lost sight of God.
The same can happen in our lives.
We can spend so much time on the means that we forget the end – to glorify God.
Churches may make this mistake as well.
For example, the congregation may pour all of its energies into a new facility, only to become self-satisfied or fearful of letting certain groups use it.
If this happens, they have focused on the building and lost sight of its purpose – to bring others to God.
27 Joshua spoke to all the people: “This stone is a witness against us. It has heard every word that God has said to us. It is a standing witness against you lest you cheat on your God.”
28 Then Joshua dismissed the people, each to his own place of inheritance.