Archive for category Obedience
When Joshua addresses Israel for the final time in his life, he reminds them of what God did for them and then challenges them to live up to that calling. It reminds me of Paul’s letter to the Ephesians, where the first three chapters present all that God has done for Christians and the last three urge godly living because of the grace God has bestowed.
In Joshua’s final words we find one of the favorite verses to put on household decorations “But as for me, and my household, we will serve the LORD”.
I find the most interesting part of his final words to be the exhortation to put away the idols that their forefathers worshiped in Egypt and before. It tells us that in spite of the calling of Israel by God they never put away the worldly influence of idolatrous religion. This issue will be the main reason for the downfall of Israel and the destruction of Jerusalem approximately 800 years later.
In this days reading, the main focus is the results that come from following the commands of God or disobeying the commands. God forewarned them about the consequences of their behavior.
God blesses obedience, why? Jesus said that all the laws hang upon the first and second great commandments; to love God, with all of our heart, mind and soul, and the second is to love our neighbor. If then every law hangs upon these preeminent commands, then the purpose of the commandments is to teach the people how to love, which is what Paul wrote to Timothy in 1st Timothy chapter one. In addition, a natural consequence of knowing what is the good, and loving to do is that if I don’t do these things then I am doing things unloving or sinful. That is why Paul writes in Romans chapter seven that he learned what sin is through the law. In other words, when we learn what is right we also learn what is wrong, therefore the choice we make whether to follow the commands or disobey the commands determines whether we are following God or rebelling against God.
In the New Testament, the doctrine of Grace covers our failure to do what is right, however the purpose of Jesus commandments is still the same, to teach us how to love God and love one another. Remember Jesus said you can tell who are his followers by their love for one another (John 13:35). Even in 1st John when John writes about walking in the light and having fellowship with God (chapter 1), walking in the light is about practicing what is right, but when we fail we still have an advocate with the father who covers our sins by his sacrifice.