Read Joshua 23:1-13
I have grown to look a lot more like my wife over these past 26 years. Not physically but in manner, tone, what I care about, how I treat others and in a host of other ways. And she has changed to be like me. That’s what happens when you spend lots of time with someone in a relationship. And the effect is heightened when the relationship includes love and affection.
It is for this reason that Joshua chooses to use his last exhortation to the people to talk about guarding their hearts. He tells them if they forget about loving God only and instead marry those who worship idols, the consequences will be terrible. God will no longer be there advocate and protector. They will no longer enjoy his blessing and the end of their road will be devastation and destruction.
Notice two important elements of his words. First, he offers no wiggle room in terms of the possibility of both loving God and intermingling with the nations around them. God is jealous and holy and does not allow for his people to have more than one God. Any of us who are married can understand that allowing our spouse to have an additional partner dissolves the marital bond because we have made a one on one commitment. God has done the same. Second, Joshua demands that the people choose whom they will serve (Joshua 24:14-15). There is no “follower by default”. Joshua says that either need to serve the Lord or the idols of the land but they can’t do both.
- For those of you are married, what are some ways that you are becoming more like your spouse?
- Why do you think there was any attractions for Israelites to intermarry with the remnants of the Canaanite peoples? What parallels can you draw for believers today who are tempted to “marry” the world’s standards?
- In our day, many people integrate elements of Christianity along with elements of other religions to create a system of faith that they find attractive and palatable. How should followers of Jesus respond to this action?