The Covenant Renewal at Shechem
24 Joshua gathered all the tribes of Israel to Shechem and summoned the elders, the heads, the judges, and the officers of Israel. And they presented themselves before God. And Joshua said to all the people, “Thus says the LORD, the God of Israel, ‘Long ago, your fathers lived beyond the Euphrates, Terah, the father of Abraham and of Nahor; and they served other gods. Then I took your father Abraham from beyond the River and led him through all the land of Canaan, and made his offspring many. I gave him Isaac. And to Isaac I gave Jacob and Esau. And I gave Esau the hill country of Seir to possess, but Jacob and his children went down to Egypt. And I sent Moses and Aaron, and I plagued Egypt with what I did in the midst of it, and afterward I brought you out.
“‘Then I brought your fathers out of Egypt, and you came to the sea. And the Egyptians pursued your fathers with chariots and horsemen to the Red Sea. And when they cried to the LORD, he put darkness between you and the Egyptians and made the sea come upon them and cover them; and your eyes saw what I did in Egypt. And you lived in the wilderness a long time. Then I brought you to the land of the Amorites, who lived on the other side of the Jordan. They fought with you, and I gave them into your hand, and you took possession of their land, and I destroyed them before you. Then Balak the son of Zippor, king of Moab, arose and fought against Israel. And he sent and invited Balaam the son of Beor to curse you, but I would not listen to Balaam. Indeed, he blessed you. So I delivered you out of his hand. And you went over the Jordan and came to Jericho, and the leaders of Jericho fought against you, and also the Amorites, the Perizzites, the Canaanites, the Hittites, the Girgashites, the Hivites, and the Jebusites. And I gave them into your hand. And I sent the hornet before you, which drove them out before you, the two kings of the Amorites; it was not by your sword or by your bow. I gave you a land on which you had not labored and cities that you had not built, and you dwell in them. You eat the fruit of vineyards and olive orchards that you did not plant.’
Choose Whom You Will Serve
“Now therefore fear the LORD and serve him in sincerity and in faithfulness. Put away the gods that your fathers served beyond the River and in Egypt, and serve the LORD. And if it is evil in your eyes to serve the LORD, choose this day whom you will serve, whether the gods your fathers served in the region beyond the River, or the gods of the Amorites in whose land you dwell. But as for me and my house, we will serve the LORD.”
Then the people answered, “Far be it from us that we should forsake the LORD to serve other gods, for it is the LORD our God who brought us and our fathers up from the land of Egypt, out of the house of slavery, and who did those great signs in our sight and preserved us in all the way that we went, and among all the peoples through whom we passed. And the LORD drove out before us all the peoples, the Amorites who lived in the land. Therefore we also will serve the LORD, for he is our God.”
But Joshua said to the people, “You are not able to serve the LORD, for he is a holy God. He is a jealous God; he will not forgive your transgressions or your sins. If you forsake the LORD and serve foreign gods, then he will turn and do you harm and consume you, after having done you good.” And the people said to Joshua, “No, but we will serve the LORD.” Then Joshua said to the people, “You are witnesses against yourselves that you have chosen the LORD, to serve him.” And they said, “We are witnesses.” He said, “Then put away the foreign gods that are among you, and incline your heart to the LORD, the God of Israel.” And the people said to Joshua, “The LORD our God we will serve, and his voice we will obey.” So Joshua made a covenant with the people that day, and put in place statutes and rules for them at Shechem. And Joshua wrote these words in the Book of the Law of God. And he took a large stone and set it up there under the terebinth that was by the sanctuary of the LORD. And Joshua said to all the people, “Behold, this stone shall be a witness against us, for it has heard all the words of the LORD that he spoke to us. Therefore it shall be a witness against you, lest you deal falsely with your God.” So Joshua sent the people away, every man to his inheritance.
Joshua’s Death and Burial
After these things Joshua the son of Nun, the servant of the LORD, died, being 110 years old. And they buried him in his own inheritance at Timnath-serah, which is in the hill country of Ephraim, north of the mountain of Gaash.
Israel served the LORD all the days of Joshua, and all the days of the elders who outlived Joshua and had known all the work that the LORD did for Israel.
As for the bones of Joseph, which the people of Israel brought up from Egypt, they buried them at Shechem, in the piece of land that Jacob bought from the sons of Hamor the father of Shechem for a hundred pieces of money. It became an inheritance of the descendants of Joseph.
And Eleazar the son of Aaron died, and they buried him at Gibeah, the town of Phinehas his son, which had been given him in the hill country of Ephraim.
Joshua 24 Commentary
by Hank Workman
The book of Joshua opens with a new leader filling Moses’ role and facing an impossible task. The book ends with that task completed as Joshua’s life comes to a close. In between we see the incredible faithfulness of God throughout the entire journey, the struggles they had at times and the remarkable wisdom and discernment God continued to give to Joshua to complete the mission. He modeled spiritual obedience on every level.
Within this last address to the people, Joshua called the people to remember the faithfulness of God who had brought them success. He called them to renew their commitment as they now had a new land and new destiny.
There is such encouragement and power to be found when we stop and remember all that God has done for us. In the fast paced life we live many times we get so caught up in the latest hardship or struggle or just monotony of things we too easily forget where God has been faithful in leading us where we are. We forget the many miracles of grace He’s given to each of us. Remember the faithfulness of God. Celebrate the victories He’s given to you thus far. Renew your commitment to the new task ahead. As He was faithful in leading you to this point, He will not disappoint in where He’s taking you.
The life of Joshua is incredibly inspirational. He was a warrior who fought hard. He was a man of commitment to His God. He was one who was called to such a difficult and impossible task who found his strength not in human effort but in relying on his God. Laid out before each of us is a task or calling. Remember the faithfulness of God so far in your life and strike out with bold steps in fulfilling the role knowing that He who called, will equip. He who challenged, will strengthen. He who brought you this far, will continue to lead every step of the way.
Joshua 24 Commentary
by Brad Boyles
“Pastor” Joshua gives a great farewell sermon. Joshua was a great man of faith who led the people to trust and obey. His words and actions are timeless and still have significant relevance for our culture today.
It was faith that made the walls of Jericho fall down after the Israelites had marched around them for seven days.Hebrews 11:30 GNB
In his sermon, Joshua gave a much-needed reminder. He reminded the people of God’s faithfulness. He brought their focus back to what’s really important. He recounted the history of everything the Lord had taken them through. He cast vision to what the future would look like if they continued to rely solely on God. He stirred up truth and propelled the people toward worship and thanksgiving.
Here’s the kicker – he had the reputation and the character to back these words up.
It’s a beautiful articulation of God receiving all the glory. Joshua didn’t sign off by recounting his own successes and accomplishments. He left them with the only words that could change a heart – the Word of God. He spoke to them exactly what God desired.
It is an incredible ending to this chapter. A line in the sand is drawn. Joshua issues an invitation, and he lays down the challenge. I don’t know what all of you will choose, but as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord. Consider the implications of that statement. Joshua wasn’t just taking responsibility for himself. He understood the bigger picture. He knew that the way he lived his life would affect future generations!