Devotional: God’s Love
Published 3:27 pm Saturday, September 30, 2023
Be very careful, therefore, to love the Lord your God. — NRS Joshua 23:11
Joshua was an assistant to Moses while the Israelites spent many years crossing the wilderness before coming to “promised land” of Israel. This particular passage is a part of Joshua’s “farewell” address to God’s people. Joshua helps the Israelites to take possession of the land, as promised by God. Now Joshua is close to dying and wanted to remind the people of what they needed to do, how they needed to act to keep a good relationship with their God.
Joshua reminds and warns them that God has taken care of them and given them great gifts, while protecting them. His point was that God has made you strong and helped you to fight and win, against very long odds. God has proved to be faithful and good. Thus, God has earned and proven worthy of the love Joshua reminds them to give.
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Yes, following God’s instructions has been difficult at times. Yet repeatedly the extra work has paid off. Miraculously, they have inhabited the land, built towns, planted and reaped crops. However, we all know that humans eventually get distracted. Times are good so we get caught up in our own pleasures and forget to work on loving God. Loving God or anything else takes continued work, intentional effort and diligence. Without that diligence, we grow away from what we need to live rightly. It happened to the Israelites then, and it happens to us today.
We watch the news and see many problems around the world. Wars and rumors of wars, immigration issues because people are coming to the United States to have a chance at a better life, inflation and so forth. However, for many of us, life goes on and we are “comfortable”. We forget to whom we owe our comfort. God has helped us live into a beautiful land and live off the fat of that land. Just like the Israelites so long ago, many forget to love the God who brought us to this blessed place.
As the trees begin to change, the weather cools, football games and other distractions keep us busy, let us never forget that all the freedom we have, all the conveniences we have, all the joy we have are all a gift from a gracious God. Let us be careful to love God!
KEITH LEACH is Pastor of College Church and College Chaplain at Hampden-Sydney College. He can be reached at kleach@hsc. edu.