Day 1 Joshua 24 ... Home at Last

At the end of his life, Joshua, like Moses before him, stood before the Israelites to deliver a farewell address. Things had gone well under his leadership. The Bible gives the remarkable assessment: "Israel served the LORD throughout the lifetime of Joshua." And now Joshua used his final speech to review all that God had done and to remind his people of their obligations under the covenant with God.

"I gave you a land on which you did not toil and cities you did not build"-at every point, Joshua emphasized that God was the sole source of their success. He had called out Abraham and blessed him with children, had delivered the Israelites from slavery in Egypt, had carried them across the desert. And in Joshua's own lifetime he had fulfilled one more promise of the covenant: He had given them the Promised Land. It was theirs to live in.

"Choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve," Joshua challenged his listeners in the stirring climax to his speech. All the people present swore their allegiance to God, the God who had kept his covenant with them. Joshua solemnly ratified the covenant and sent the people away, then quietly prepared to die.

The book of Joshua ends with an act of deep symbolism: The Israelites finally buried the remains of Joseph. For well over four centuries those remains had been preserved in Egypt in anticipation of the Israelites' return to their homeland. And during the forty years of wilderness wanderings, the tribes had carried Joseph's bones as a treasured reminder of their past. Now, at last, Abraham's descendants had come home, and even the dead could rest in peace.

Point to Ponder: When you experience success, who do you tend to credit, yourself or God?