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Bible Commentaries

The Church Pulpit Commentary

Joshua 24

Verse 15

A DECISION MADE

‘As for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.’

Joshua 24:15

These were the brave and faithful words of a brave and faithful man—words that were brave as regards men, words that were brave as regards God. Joshua, the great leader of the army and the people of Israel, having won for them secure possession of the Promise Land, just before his approaching end, gathers the people together to tell them what is the only true condition on which they can continue to hold this land. He tells them that national prosperity and national safety depend upon national religion, and then, knowing the feeble nature of the people he is addressing, he tells the assembled multitude that they may make their choice, rejecting the worship of the Lord if it seemed to them evil to serve Him, but that as for him and for his, the choice was made, and made unalterably.

I. These words not only express a great and high purpose, but they express a great and an infinitely precious idea and fact: they express for us the idea of family religion, as distinct on the one hand from personal religion and on the other from national religion. They reveal to us the family, as what in truth it is, and what God designed it should be—the home and citadel of religious faith in the heart of the nation.

II. God has His great work for individuals to do. He places a Moses upon the mount to bring down the Law. He sends a Paul out to preach the Gospel. He sends an Augustine to defend it, a Luther to reform it, and a Wesley to revive it. But mightier than all this, deeper than all this, though more hidden than this, is the task God confides to every religious and believing household upon earth. It is the task of taking the seed that these great sowers of the Word have sown and cherishing it beneath the tender, and gracious, and mighty influence of home. Such is God’s will and God’s purpose for the preservation of His faith. The family is its safe hiding-place, its true nursery, that none can invade or desecrate.

—Archbishop Magee.

Illustrations

(1) ‘Joshua was an old man; his children were all grown up; so it is fair to suppose that he was sure of their intelligent and loyal acceptance of his position. Happy old man, who could associate his family with himself in his convictions and his purpose! Probably it was because he could say, “As for me”; that he could add, “and my house.” His children saw how consistently and fearlessly he served God; they saw, too, how constantly he proved the wisdom and blessedness of this service; and they naturally said to their father, “Thy God shall be my God.” No man can make his children grow up in the loving service of God; love and devotion cannot be forced. But where the parents love and serve God, and set an example of whole-hearted service, they will generally lead their children into the way of life. A father’s example counts for much.’

(2) ‘We read about Abraham in the Book of Genesis, that God says, “I have known him, to the end that he may command his children and his household after him, that they may keep the way of the Lord,” and right down to the times of the New Testament it is always taken for granted that the father shall teach his children and especially his sons. Many of the religious difficulties of the present day arise from the neglect of this Divine rule. Englishmen do not as a rule teach their own children the great secrets of God, and more especially do not teach their sons, so that there is a kind of spiritual alienation between fathers and sons as they grow up. The popular idea is that fathers have a right to demand that some one else should teach their sons. It is a most fatal mistake; the father’s responsibility cannot be devolved upon another; it is one for which he himself must give account to God.’

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Bibliographical Information
Nisbet, James. "Commentary on Joshua 24". The Church Pulpit Commentary. https://studylight.org/commentaries/eng/cpc/joshua-24.html. 1876.