When I went to college it was very clear to me that I had to begin to make choices about what things I wanted to do with my life. I began, much like other college students, by planning out what classes to take. I didn’t really have a plan for my life other than to do what I thought I was supposed to do at that point in my life. What made immediate sense was that I would take classes at some college and stay out of major trouble.
Selecting a college in Florida had its own set of issues. It was a long distance away from Indiana which I believed was a good place to start. Due to financial constraints and distance, I did not actually visit the college ahead of time. I would be attending college in the south and southerners did things differently from northerners. I didn’t really fully realize that until I was all moved in and attending classes. It also became crystal clear to me that I was attending a suitcase college and I was part of a dozen or so young adults who spent each weekend on campus. Weekends allowed me lots of time to sleep and pretty much kick back and wait for the students to return for Monday classes.
I had to sort out what groups to join. Choosing to opt out of the drug scene placed me in a group of four who stuck together. I actually read my Bible and talked about the God stuff with others which seemed pretty natural in our small little group. Three of our four had been a part of a church youth group in our home towns so I think we formed a small youth group of our own to fill that void in our college lives. Our little foursome made it thru college without the added pressures of other scenes we could have chosen. For that I am so thankful. I totally felt God’s protection surrounding me during my college experience.
24:1 Joshua called together all the tribes of Israel at Shechem. He called in the elders, chiefs, judges, and officers. They presented themselves before God. 2 Then Joshua addressed all the people:
“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. 3 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. 4 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. 5 I sent Moses and Aaron. I hit Egypt hard with plagues and then led you out of there. 6 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 “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. 8 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. 9 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. 10 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.”
You’ll remember that it was at Shechem where God said to Abraham that he would give that particular land to Abraham’s people. Joshua reminded the people about Abraham and other people and he told them all that God had done. This is what God said God would do. God blessed the people in amazing ways.
As you think about the goodness that God has done, write down all the good things that God has done for you. At the end of today’s reading, Joshua tells the people that they are to honor God, serve God, do what God says, not worship false gods. Joshua then told them they had a choice to make. They could serve God or they could serve other gods. Joshua declared that he and his family would love and serve the Lord. We, too, have a choice; we can serve God or we can serve other gods. We can serve the gods of ambition. We can serve the gods of sport. We can serve the gods of entertainment. We can serve the gods of our career. All these false gods can stop us from worshipping and serving the real God. When you decide to serve God, what does that look like in your daily living? Have a day!
In Conversation with a child today: Ask a child to tell you about some ways that people serve God
Prayers for our soldiers and others fighting for our country: Nick Steele, Sgt. Zach Fessler, Peter Davidson
Remember in Prayer: Friend of Julie, Sue, Roger & family, Tanner, Tom’s family, Pattie, Frank & Jean & family, Ginger, Todd & family, Carol, Judith, Lynn, Bonnie, Alan, Al’s family, Carol M., Diane’s family, Linda, Vivian, Dee, Ron, Sue, Janine, Leigh, Kristen, Summer, Graham, Kevin, Karen
And those experiencing loss – family & friends of: Bernadette, Alice, Tom, Tony, Al, David Dale, Sr., Mary Scott, Don, Jim, Diane, David, Herm, Helen, Father Billy, Joe, Brian, Clarence, Mackenzie, Nate, Gertrude, Dion, Marshall
Prayer: We love you, O God. We come before you this day to serve you. There are times when that becomes very confusing for us because we are torn between what we see, and what others see, as important and forget or disregard your ways. Be in all the choices we make. Amen
Your E-Votional Servant
© 2014 Lucia Oerter
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The Message Bible – contemporary translation
A ministry at First Presbyterian Church in Brandon, Florida providing for your daily walk with Christ!