Strong and Courageous | Day Fourteen
By: Kate Downing
Be honest, did you cry at the end of Toy Story 3? Spoiler alert: if you haven’t watched the movie, it ends with the toys’ owner, Andy, moving to college and giving his toys to a little girl.
It may seem silly to get emotional at the end of an animated movie, but there is something a little sad about Andy no longer being a child, moving to college, and giving up the toys he held so dearly as a kid. The end of different seasons can be hard and often emotional. But, they are also important times of decision.
We are about to study the final chapter of the book of Joshua and the final teaching Joshua gave to the people of Israel. It’s the end of a great season for the Israelites. They’ve been lead by an incredible leader, warrior, and man of God. However, the season of his leadership is coming to an end and they now have a choice to make. Will they strongly and courageously follow God alone or will they start serving and following other gods?
Before we dive in, spend three minutes praying over these things:
· Thank God for the opportunity to study His Word through the life of Joshua.
· Ask God to speak to you today from His Word.
· Ask God to help you be fully focused during this time with Him.
Verses 1-28 of Joshua 24 can be divided into 4 sections: reminder, challenge, response, and memorial. We’ll look at these four sections now
1) Reminder - Read Joshua 24:1-13.
What was Joshua reminding the people of in these verses?
These verses explain in short the history of Israel. Joshua reminds the people where they came from, what God had done for their forefathers and for them. He reminds them that all they have is because of God.
Take a minute to list some of the things God has done for you. Remember back to the ways He has provided for, comforted, and blessed you.
2) Challenge - Read Joshua 24:14-15.
Circle all the action verbs in these verses, words like “fear,” “serve,” “choose,” “throw away.”
Many of these action verbs are repeated several times. When ideas or words are repeated in Scripture, it’s as though they are being said with twenty exclamation points after them. They are important!
What is Joshua challenging the people to do in these verses?
They are at a point of decision. Will they continue to serve and worship God alone? Or will they be tempted by the gods of their past? Joshua is challenging them to choose right then and there whom they will serve.
Our 2017 American gods look different than the gods of Israel’s past. But, the gods we often serve are just as able to stand in the way of our relationship with the One, True God. The gods we are tempted to serve are anything or anyone that takes God’s rightful place in our lives.
These questions will help you discover what gods you might be serving:
· What do you think about the most?
· What do you talk about the most?
· What do you spend the most time doing?
· What have you given your emotions to?
It could be your phone, your boyfriend or the desire for a boyfriend, being captain of the dance team, or making all A’s. They certainly aren’t golden idols, but they are things and people that we have give more time, attention, and affection to than we have God. And, that makes them false gods or idols in our lives.
What have you allowed to be a god in your life?
You have the same decision to make that the Israelites did. Choose today. You cannot be strong and courageous while serving multiple gods. So, whom you will serve: the One True God or the gods of your past and surroundings?
3) Response - Read Joshua 24:18-24
How did the people of Israel respond to the challenge Joshua gave them?
What command did Joshua give them in verse twenty-three?
What do you need to do in order to “put away” the false gods in your life?
4) Memorial - Read Joshua 24:25-28.
What did Joshua set up as a memorial to the people’s decision to serve God alone?
What can you do to memorialize your decision to serve God alone? (Here are some ideas: Make a sign to hang up in your room or locker with the words “Strong and Courageous” written on it. Write about your decision in your journal. Write “God alone” on a rock and keep it in a place you’ll see often.)
Take the next few minutes to confess the sin of serving false gods in your life, and commit today to put them away and to strongly and courageously serve God alone!
Complete this sentence and write it down in your notes or on your phone:
Today, God taught me _________________________________________.