Our reading from the last chapter of Joshua today reminds us of the stories of the people of Israelite that we have been hearing over the past few weeks.
After the death of Moses, Joshua is called by God to take over the leadership of the people of God and bring them into the promised land. God promised to be with Joshua just as God had been with Moses and Joshua was commanded to keep to the laws that had been given to the people of God.
And so Joshua prepared the people to enter the promised land, knowing that it was not going to be easy and that there were tribes and cities that would need to be conquered so that the people of God could live there. One city most of us would recognise is the city of Jericho and you may remember that it was destroyed at the sound of trumpets. There were a number of other cities and towns that the Israelites conquered on their way to the promised land. In chapter 12 we are given a list of all the Kings that Joshua conquered.
The book of Joshua could be considered a book filled with violence and destruction but it is also a book filled with the presence of God, the obedience of God’s people and the fulfilment of the promises of God.
At the end of this book Joshua is an old man and he gathers the tribes of Israel before him. There he tells them their history, the story of their journey to the promised land from the beginning of Abraham and the covenant with God to their release from slavery in Egypt. At the end of that telling Joshua declares that the people must choose who they were going to serve – the LORD God who had bought them out of slavery or the gods of the people they had lived with and conquered. For Joshua and his house the only answer to this choice was to serve the LORD.
There are many stories that bring us together, and there is a lot of history that we share. Our stories are important and we’ve spent some time exploring the stories of the people of God. It is said that our history helps to define us, I think it gives us a place to move forward from. What is before us is God’s plan and calling and we need to be ready to respond. Our stories can help us be more aware to God’s presence in our lives and the world around us and can also prepare us for what God may be calling us to do. Together we are creating some great stories to reflect upon and to equip us for the future so as we hear our past stories let’s look forward to the stories that are yet to come.
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