I gave you a land on which you had not labored, and cities which you had not built, and you have lived in them; you are eating of vineyards and olive groves which you did not plant. Now, therefore, fear the Lord and serve Him in sincerity and truth; and put away the gods which your fathers served beyond the River and in Egypt, and serve the Lord. – Joshua 24:13-14
All through his life as their leader as well as just prior to his death, Joshua challenged the nation of Israel to remain obedient to God. The grounds for his appeal was God’s gracious gift of the land that he had promised to Abraham centuries before. For though they might have wielded a sword or bow in order to conquer the Canaanites, it was the covenant-keeping God who had given them the victory (including land, cities, and abundant provision). Joshua’s argument was that in light of all that God had done, why shouldn’t they remain loyal to the One who had given them so much?
Indeed, why not? How could they possibly ignore the One who had rescued them, preserved them, protected them, delivered, and provided so much for them?
Yet, are we not ourselves guilty of an equal disloyalty even though we have received something much greater: spiritual victory, a heavenly home, and abundant life in Christ? Why don’t we, through surrendered lives, more often proclaim our loyalty to the One who has by grace afforded us so great a salvation? Indeed, why not?
While our faith in God might have brought us to a place of victory in life, the danger of pointing to the strength of the faith we express is the failure to acknowledge its source. Our “bows and arrows” in this spiritual fight have not wrought the victory. The life, death, and resurrection of God’s Son achieved it. Let us all continue to aim our worship at the Only Begotten One who deserves it.
I will honor Christmas in my heart, and try to keep it all the year. – Unknown