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Good Intentions Gone Bad

Today’s reading: Joshua 22:1-24:33

My selection: Joshua 24:24-28

24 And the people said to Joshua, “The Lord our God we will serve, and his voice we will obey.” 25 So Joshua made a covenant with the people that day, and put in place statutes and rules for them at Shechem. 26 And Joshua wrote these words in the Book of the Law of God. And he took a large stone and set it up there under the terebinth that was by the sanctuary of the Lord. 27 And Joshua said to all the people, “Behold, this stone shall be a witness against us, for it has heard all the words of the Lord that he spoke to us. Therefore it shall be a witness against you, lest you deal falsely with your God.” 28 So Joshua sent the people away, every man to his inheritance.

My reflections: Joshua was about to die. He wisely reminded the people of their obligation to the LORD to keep His covenant or suffer the dire consequences. God had given them the land but He would expel them from it if they committed idolatry. The people enthusiastically affirmed their commitment in spite of Joshua’s warnings that this would not be easy and any violation would not be tolerated by God.

The people intended to keep the covenant. They intended to be faithful. But alas as we will find in the Book of Judges, their intentions faded out, and they soon slid into idolatry. As predicted, all the warnings came true as they zigzagged through the centuries of their history until they were finally taken captive and forcibly removed from the land.

Why were their good intentions insufficient? Why are ours also insufficient? They and we are sinful people. Good intentions are the work of our fallen flesh which apart from God’s Spirit and power cannot accomplish anything. Jesus said,

4 Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit by itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in me. 5 I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing. (John 15:4-5).

My challenge: Have you failed at your good intentions? Abide in Christ. He is the One who died for the failed good intentions of His people. Abide in Him. He is the One who will bear fruit in you today.

Tomorrow’s reading: Judges 1:1-3:30

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