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Peace Mennonite Church of Columbia, MO
Meditation and thoughts follow the scripture.
Scriptures for the day selected by http://www.commontexts.org/
Joshua 24:1-2, 11-28
1Why do you boast, O mighty one, of mischief done against the godly? All day long
2you are plotting destruction. Your tongue is like a sharp razor, you worker of treachery.
3You love evil more than good, and lying more than speaking the truth. Selah
4You love all words that devour, O deceitful tongue.
5But God will break you down forever; he will snatch and tear you from your tent; he will uproot you from the land of the living. Selah
6The righteous will see, and fear, and will laugh at the evildoer, saying,
7“See the one who would not take refuge in God, but trusted in abundant riches, and sought refuge in wealth!”
8But I am like a green olive tree in the house of God. I trust in the steadfast love of God forever and ever.
9I will thank you forever, because of what you have done. In the presence of the faithful I will proclaim your name, for it is good.
Joshua 24:1-2, 11-28
24Then Joshua gathered all the tribes of Israel to Shechem, and summoned the elders, the heads, the judges, and the officers of Israel; and they presented themselves before God. 2And Joshua said to all the people, “Thus says the Lord, the God of Israel: Long ago your ancestors—Terah and his sons Abraham and Nahor—lived beyond the Euphrates and served other gods. 11When you went over the Jordan and came to Jericho, the citizens of Jericho fought against you, and also the Amorites, the Perizzites, the Canaanites, the Hittites, the Girgashites, the Hivites, and the Jebusites; and I handed them over to you. 12I sent the hornet ahead of you, which drove out before you the two kings of the Amorites; it was not by your sword or by your bow. 13I gave you a land on which you had not labored, and towns that you had not built, and you live in them; you eat the fruit of vineyards and oliveyards that you did not plant. 14“Now therefore revere the Lord, and serve him in sincerity and in faithfulness; put away the gods that your ancestors served beyond the River and in Egypt, and serve the Lord.
15Now if you are unwilling to serve the Lord, choose this day whom you will serve, whether the gods your ancestors served in the region beyond the River or the gods of the Amorites in whose land you are living; but as for me and my household, we will serve the Lord.” 16Then the people answered, “Far be it from us that we should forsake the Lord to serve other gods; 17for it is the Lord our God who brought us and our ancestors up from the land of Egypt, out of the house of slavery, and who did those great signs in our sight. He protected us along all the way that we went, and among all the peoples through whom we passed; 18and the Lord drove out before us all the peoples, the Amorites who lived in the land. Therefore we also will serve the Lord, for he is our God.” 19But Joshua said to the people, “You cannot serve the Lord, for he is a holy God. He is a jealous God; he will not forgive your transgressions or your sins. 20If you forsake the Lord and serve foreign gods, then he will turn and do you harm, and consume you, after having done you good.” 21And the people said to Joshua, “No, we will serve the Lord!” 22Then Joshua said to the people, “You are witnesses against yourselves that you have chosen the Lord, to serve him.” And they said, “We are witnesses.” 23He said, “Then put away the foreign gods that are among you, and incline your hearts to the Lord, the God of Israel.” 24The people said to Joshua, “The Lord our God we will serve, and him we will obey.” 25So Joshua made a covenant with the people that day, and made statutes and ordinances for them at Shechem. 26Joshua wrote these words in the book of the law of God; and he took a large stone, and set it up there under the oak in the sanctuary of the Lord. 27Joshua said to all the people, “See, 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, if you deal falsely with your God.” 28So Joshua sent the people away to their inheritances.
9What then? Are we any better off? No, not at all; for we have already charged that all, both Jews and Greeks, are under the power of sin, 10as it is written: “There is no one who is righteous, not even one; 11there is no one who has understanding, there is no one who seeks God. 12All have turned aside, together they have become worthless; there is no one who shows kindness, there is not even one.” 13“Their throats are opened graves; they use their tongues to deceive.” “The venom of vipers is under their lips.” 14“Their mouths are full of cursing and bitterness.” 15“Their feet are swift to shed blood; 16ruin and misery are in their paths, 17and the way of peace they have not known.” 18“There is no fear of God before their eyes.”
19Now we know that whatever the law says, it speaks to those who are under the law, so that every mouth may be silenced, and the whole world may be held accountable to God. 20For “no human being will be justified in his sight” by deeds prescribed by the law, for through the law comes the knowledge of sin. 21But now, apart from law, the righteousness of God has been disclosed, and is attested by the law and the prophets, 22the righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ for all who believe. For there is no distinction,
The New Revised Standard Version, copyright 1989 by the Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved.
Putting Away Foreign Gods 030811
Sometimes I wake confused. Perhaps nightmares or dreams, or ideas from the day before or indigestion cause me to wake in a confused mood. When this happens it is best if I carefully start my day with prayer, to realign my relationship to God and to remind myself of who our God is, and to remind us that Jesus teaches us a way to live.
The words from Joshua remind me today to ‘put away my foreign gods’ and return once again to the simple, calm peace of our faith—that is, faith in Jesus Christ. I have many foreign gods, and I suspect many of us do….prestige, ego, power, bad memories, good memories, money and accumulated wealth….each of these can become or remain like a foreign god, that demands my attention and worry, when I should know better.
Maybe I should return to sleep, and awake again, refreshed and joyous, free and light in the love of God.