23 “Now then,” said Joshua, “throw away the foreign gods that are among you and yield your hearts to the Lord, the God of Israel.”
24 And the people said to Joshua, “We will serve the Lord our God and obey him.”
Here we are in chapter 24, the last chapter of Joshua, and before Joshua dies he is having the people of Israel once again renew their covenant with their Lord, the God of Israel as his death approached.
25 On that day Joshua made a covenant for the people, and there at Shechem he reaffirmed for them decrees and laws. 26 And Joshua recorded these things in the Book of the Law of God. Then he took a large stone and set it up there under the oak near the holy place of the Lord.
27 “See!” he said to all the people. “This stone will be a witness against us. It has heard all the words the Lord has said to us. It will be a witness against you if you are untrue to your God.”
28 Then Joshua dismissed the people, each to their own inheritance.
Then we discover Joshua died at the age of 110 and was buried at Timnath Serah in the hill country of Ephraim, north of Mount Gaash (v30). Also we discover
Israel served the Lord throughout the lifetime of Joshua and of the elders who outlived him and who had experienced everything the Lord had done for Israel.
The people of Israel stood by their commitment to the Lord throughout Joshua’s lifetime and the lifetime of the elders in Israel who outlived him. Why? Because they had experienced everything the L had done for Israel. They were witnesses and would tell and retell the story of all God had done for them and for all the people of Abraham, Jacob, and Joseph. They were not the only ones as the adults had experienced this as well which they affirmed in their reply to Joshua’s call to fear the Lord and serve him with all faithfulness (v14).
16 Then the people answered, “Far be it from us to forsake the Lord to serve other gods! 17 It was the Lord our God himself who brought us and our parents up out of Egypt, from that land of slavery, and performed those great signs before our eyes. He protected us on our entire journey and among all the nations through which we traveled. 18 And the Lord drove out before us all the nations, including the Amorites, who lived in the land. We too will serve the Lord, because he is our God.”
We are given a lesson here on how important our individual testimonies are to our children and grandchildren and their children and grandchildren. We will discover in the book of Judges how quickly – in a few generations – children who become adults forget and turn to other gods or idols in their lives. Our testimonies are important, very important, to our children and grandchildren as well as to others around us. The more insular we become concerning our faith and our walk with God the less impact our individual testimonies have. So it is our task as Christians to find a way to share the stories of our lives and the lives in the Bible with our loved ones and those around us … in word and/or deed.