Daily Readings & Thought for June 5th. “BE VERY CAREFUL THEREFORE TO …”
Today we completed reading the book of Joshua. As Moses had done, Joshua gives a final message and appeal to the people to remain faithful to God. The essential thrust of his words are parallel to those of Moses, that is, it is vital they have the right spirit of mind in serving their God.
Joshua says “Be very careful therefore to love the LORD your God. For if you turn back …” [23 v.11] The Apostle Paul wrote, “If anyone loves God he is known by God” [1 Cor.8 v.3] Utterly wonderful! and remember the words of Jesus! Look up John 14 v.21,23. Let us not “turn back.”
We learn that “Israel served the LORD all the days of Joshua, and all the days of the elders who outlived Joshua and had known all the work that the LORD did for Israel” [ch. 24 v.31] but then, as we shall read in the book of Judges, their love and resultant service to God faltered, but their merciful God raised up judges to deliver them.
The ultimate and eternal Judge is made plain to us in our Hebrews reading. There is reference to the times of Moses when people were before the mountain of God and “ … so terrifying was the sight that Moses said, “I tremble with fear” [12 v.21] In contrast, we then read, “You have come to Mount Zion and to the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, and to innumerable angels … to Jesus the mediator of a new covenant.” [v.22,24]
What is our reaction to this ‘vision’ – this expectation? How does it compare to the people Joshua spoke to – and encouraged? The children, the teenagers, were not listening!
Look at the telling words at the end of our Hebrews chapter, “Let us be grateful for (the expectation of) a kingdom that cannot be shaken, and thus let us offer to God acceptable worship with reverence and awe, for our God is a consuming fire.”
That ‘vision’ takes us to our chapter in Isaiah which pictures the ultimate time of “consuming fire” when “you will be visited by the LORD of hosts with thunder and with earthquake and great noise, with whirlwind and tempest, and the flame of devouring fire …. So shall the multitude of all the nations be that fight against Mount Zion.” [29 v.6,8]
The world will “be visited by the LORD of hosts”! Utterly awesome – and the Apostle Paul’s wrote words which are very graphic – it is the time, ”when the Lord Jesus is revealed from heaven with his mighty angels in flaming fire, inflicting vengeance on those who do not know God and on those who do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus.” [2 Thess. 1 v.8] And so we repeat Joshua’s words, “Be very careful therefore to love the LORD your God.”