Joshua 20:7 - Judges 1:7
Today I find myself concentrating on patterns.
A set of instructions that act as a guide.
An example for others to follow.
A recurring sequence.
It is because I have noticed a recurring theme since we began reading on January first. A lesson repeated over and over again. A set of instructions given to each prophet and then passed on to the Lord’s people. Interestingly, the history of whether each prophet and the people followed these instructions, and the consequence that followed their choice, has been left as a written example that we can follow today.
I love the example of this pattern found in Joshua 24. In this chapter Joshua gathered all of the tribes of Israel with their elders, judges, and officers. He told them first of their fathers who served other Gods, idols who did not feel after them. Then he reminded them of the great blessings and miracles that had come when they had chosen to follow the Lord God of Israel. Joshua spoke of the flood, the birth of Isaac, and the plague in Egypt just before the Lord delivered them. He reminded them of the parting of the red sea, the wandering through the wilderness, and the fighting and possession of the land “for which ye did not labour, and cities which ye built not, and ye dwell in them…” And then he counseled, “Now therefore fear the Lord, and serve him in sincerity and in truth: and put away the gods which your fathers served on the other side of the flood, and in Egypt; and serve ye the Lord.” (Joshua 24:13-14)
He gave them an invitation that followed the pattern extended through each prophet who lived before him ––he invited them to turn their lives over to a God who would feel after them, who would watch over them, who would guide and protect them if they were willing to let Him.
It was their choice.
What follows next is the famous verse we are all so familiar with, “Choose you this day whom ye will serve…but as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.” (Joshua 24:15) And the people answered, “therefore we will also serve the Lord; for he is our God.” (Joshua 24:18)
This pattern of making the commitment to believe in the Lord required several steps. First, the people needed to remember the times they had seen the hand of the Lord in their life. Second, they were required to make a conscious choice ––to choose the Lord God over God’s of idolatry. Last, they covenanted to follow Him.
There was a name given to those who chose to follow the pattern.
“And Joshua said unto the people, Ye are witnesses against yourselves that ye have chosen you the Lord, to serve him. And they said, We are witnesses.” (Joshua 24:22)
Have you gone through the process of becoming a witness? Have there been moments in your life when you have chosen the Lord over something else? Do you remember the times when you recognized His hand in your life? Have you covenanted to follow Him? Is it a choice you make daily?
Throughout the reading so far this year we have seen this invitation extended repeatedly.
The stories of the people who chose to follow the Lord become to us a set of instructions that can act as a guide in our own life. As we follow the pattern we, too, become an example for others to follow.
I love the scripture found in Isaiah which reads, “Ye are my witnesses, saith the Lord, and my servants whom I have chosen: that ye may know and believe me, and understand that I am he…I, even I, am the Lord; and beside me there is no saviour.” (Isaiah 43:10-11)
Choose the Lord.
Become His witness.
He has already chosen you.