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Study Resources :: Text Commentaries :: F.E. Marsh :: Readings 201-250 (Incorruptible - Kept)

F.E. Marsh :: 241. Joshua and Service

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JOSHUA 24:13-25

THE keynote of this Bible reading is the word “serve.” The children of Israel are reminded whom they did serve (Josh 24:15), and whom they are to serve. The expression, “serve the Lord,” or “serve Him,” occurs nine times (Josh 24:14-15, 18-19, 21-22 and 24).

  1. Salvation is the ground of service. Israel testifies what the Lord had saved them from, namely, from the bondage and bitterness of Egyptian tyranny, and from the enemies which surrounded their path as they were journeying to Canaan (Josh 24:17-18); and as a consequence they recognise that they ought to serve the Lord. This same principle is emphasized in relation to the believer in Christ. We do not serve to be saved, but we are saved to serve (Eph. 2:8-10). We are not to do to be forgiven, but we are forgiven to do.
    • “Ah! nothing to do! for the sinner that’s dead
    • Must needs have another to work in his stead;
    • And Jesus, in Calvary’s terrible hour,
    • Redemption accomplished in marvellous power.
                   *              *              *              *              
    • “Not a tittle of work till we’re saved from our sins,
    • For that’s just the point where true service begins
    • When the conscience is purged, and the heart is made glad,
    • And the spirit set free that aforetime was sad.”
  2. Separation is the forerunner of service. The command of Joshua is clear and cutting: “Put away the gods” (Josh 24:14, 23). The vessels which God uses must be clean (Isaiah 66:20), and all who are associated with His service (Isaiah 52:11). We also must put away the idols of the love of the world (1 John 2:15), the pride of the flesh (3 John 9), the worship of man (1 Cor. 1:12), the energy of human method for the Lord’s work (1 Cor. 2:13-14), the love of money (1 Tim. 6:10), the exclusive affection for earthly friends (Luke 14:26), and the applause of men (John 5:44). An idol is any object that comes in between us and the Lord, to the exclusion of Himself (1 John 5:21). The Lord cannot and will not use us in His service till we are wholly separated to Himself.
  3. Sincerity and truth are essentials in service (Josh 24:14). To serve the Lord “in sincerity and in truth” is to have two buttresses to the temple of our being, which give strength and beauty to it. There were two pillars to the Temple of Solomon, which were called Jachin and Boaz (1 Kings 7:21). The meaning of these names is suggestive. Jachin signifies “He will establish,” and Boaz means, “In Him is strength.” If we have in our character sincerity and truth, we shall have what these pillars signify, namely, strength of heart and life, and establishment of soul (Heb. 13:9), and shall thus be able to resist the onslaughts of evil and error, for we shall be like a house founded on a rock (Matt. 7:24).
  4. Singleness of aim the strength of service. The word of Joshua plays upon this one theme again and again-”Serve the Lord.” The Lord demands our absolute service. He will not permit us to divide our actions between Himself and someone else. “Whatsoever ye do, do it heartily as to the Lord” (Col. 3:23); “Whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God” (1 Cor. 10:31). “Do all” is the Divine call and claim. This reminds us that in our several relations we are privileged to serve the Lord, and that all we do we should do to Himself. The child in the home, in the school, and at play, the servant in the occupation, the mistress in the house, the master in the business, and the workman in the shop, are in their several duties to serve the Lord. How much better things would be done if in everything we did it as to, and for the Lord Himself!
  5. Supply the incentive to service. If the “therefore” of Josh 24:14 is pondered in its context, it will be seen that the reason why the Lord calls for the service is found in what He had given. “I have given you,” &c.; “therefore fear the Lord and serve Him.” The gracious love of God in giving Israel the good land which they did not deserve was the incentive which should compel them to give themselves in whole-hearted service to the Lord. In like manner God’s love to us should constrain us to love Him; His faithfulness to us should be the magnetic force to cause us to be faithful to Him. Christ’s death for us should be the moulding power to make us die to sin; and His life should be the elevator to lift us to the plain of walking as He walked.
CONTENT DISCLAIMER:

The Blue Letter Bible ministry and the BLB Institute hold to the historical, conservative Christian faith, which includes a firm belief in the inerrancy of Scripture. Since the text and audio content provided by BLB represent a range of evangelical traditions, all of the ideas and principles conveyed in the resource materials are not necessarily affirmed, in total, by this ministry.

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