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Thirteenth Sunday after Pentecost

Today we focus on the Old Testament Reading, which includes Joshua’s famous statement, “But I and my house—we shall serve the LORD!” Our devotional reading is from Concordia Commentary: Joshua.

Scripture Readings

Proverbs 9:1–10 or Joshua 24:1–2a, 14–18
Psalm 34:12–22
Ephesians 5:6–21
John 6:51–69

Read the propers for today in Lutheran Service Builder.

Devotional Reading

Following Joshua’s imperative call for Israel—if she decides to forsake her LORD, then to choose which worthless idols she will serve (24:15a)—is Joshua’s own declaration of the choice God has led him to make (24:15b). His affirmation at the end of the verse is one of the “choicest” statements of the entire Bible. Before all Israel he sounds this clear trumpet blast that has stirred God’s people for some three and a half millennia: “But I and my house—we shall serve the LORD!” His words are a bold and unashamed profession of faith in the LORD and commitment to him and his covenant. Even if Joshua has to stand alone against all Israel and the surrounding pagan nations—as he and Caleb indeed did earlier (Num 14:1–9)—he will serve the LORD.

Joshua, of course, wants all Israel to serve the LORD. But every good example starts as a sincere singular action. Even if no one follows his lead, that will not change his stance. What the LORD said at the start of Joshua’s service is still true near the end of his life. He follows the LORD “wholeheartedly” (Num 32:12).

What led Joshua to his bold confession?

Yahweh himself. His undeserved love, powerful acts of rescue, fulfilled promises, and covenant faithfulness—all those evidences of the LORD’s grace just reviewed by Joshua himself in 24:2–13.

The Word of Yahweh. The LORD promised Joshua in 1:8 that as he meditated on the Torah of Moses, he would act faithfully. The inscripturated Word of the LORD is efficacious. At the same time that it presents the Gospel of the LORD, it creates the faith that believes it, then sustains that faith and a life of faithfulness. Joshua’s confession at Shechem is evidence of this power of the Word.

The Spirit, who has worked in his heart. The Pentateuch revealed specifically that Joshua was a Spirit-filled man: “The LORD said to Moses, ‘Take for yourself Joshua son of Nun, a man whom the Spirit is in him” (Num 27:18). The Spirit working through the Word makes God’s people bold to confess (1 Cor 12:3).

By his Spirit, who works through his Word, the LORD leads Christians to confess the same firm statement of faith as Joshua confessed: “We shall serve the LORD!” This happens as the record of God’s grace in Christ takes hold in our hearts. In love he chose us, redeemed us through the blood of Christ, called us to saving faith by the Gospel, washed us in Holy Baptism. Daily he forgives us and lavishes on us all the riches of his grace (Eph 1:3–14).

Devotional reading is adapted from Concordia Commentary: Joshua, pages 785–87 © 2004 Concordia Publishing House. All rights reserved.

Hymn

Video is from “O Lord, We Praise Thee,” © 2017 Concordia Publishing House.

 

Written by

Anna Johnson

Deaconess Anna Johnson is a marketing manager at Concordia Publishing House. After graduating from the deaconess program at Concordia University Chicago, she continued her studies at the University of Colorado—Denver in education and human development. She has worked as a church youth director and served a variety of other nonprofit organizations, such as the Lutheran Mission Society of Maryland. Anna loves playing video games and drinking a hot cup of tea almost as much as she loves her cat and her husband.

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