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October 17, 2021 | Doug Sauder
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“And lest you go among these nations, these who remain among you. You shall not make mention of the name of their gods, nor cause anyone to swear by them; you shall not serve them nor bow down to them, but you shall hold fast to the Lord your God, as you have done to this day.”—Joshua 23:7-8 (NKJV)
It seems silly, doesn’t it? That Joshua would have to explicitly tell the children of Israel not to put their hope and trust in the foreign gods of the nations around them sounds ludicrous. After all, what more proof would one need that the God of Israel was the only God worth worshipping?
Hadn’t He been the One who miraculously delivered them from the Egyptian taskmasters? Wasn’t it He who had sustained them against all odds over the course of four decades in the barren wilderness? Isn’t their God the One who supernaturally parted the Jordan River, allowing them to cross over uncontested? Who caused the walls of Jericho to fall down before their feet? Who made the sun stand still long enough to defeat their enemies in battle?
To top it all off, what were the false gods of these other nations able to do to stop any of this? Nothing! So, it seems like a foregone conclusion that no Israelite would ever be tempted or enticed by the powerless deities surrounding them.
And yet the human heart is something that needs continual reminding, regardless of how plain or obvious something may seem. It’s truly amazing how capable we are of forgetting something tomorrow that we know so well today. And when it comes to the area of our worship, the price paid for forgetfulness is beyond all earthly calculation!
Israel needed this reminder, because in just a short time, she would forget her utter need for the God who delivered, sustained, and prospered her. In fact, Israel’s history going forward reads like a spiritual tug of war between faithfulness and apostasy towards the Lord.
What can every Christian learn from this? For one thing, never overlook a warning in God’s Word. No matter how unnecessary it may seem, the all-wise God put it there for a reason, and we’re also wise to take it seriously.
Second, never underestimate your ability to forget. We’re not above forgetting the things we think we know so well, just as Israel did. That’s not intended to instill a sense of insecurity, but a sense of sobriety. We must be continually reminded of spiritual truth, because our hearts are prone to spiritual forgetfulness and require refilling.
DIG: What does Joshua’s command to Israel reveal about human nature?
DISCOVER: When have you forgotten something you never thought you would?
DO: Consider ways you can guard against spiritual forgetfulness. As you determine practical steps you can take, begin implementing them!
Pastor Dan Hickling serves our online community, also known as the Calvary Chapel Online Campus. He and his wife Becky have been married for 22 years and have two children, Lauren and Danny. Both Dan and Becky have been part of the CCFL church family for 22 years and have served in full time ministry for 20 of those years.