Today’s reading begins with the Reubenites, Gadites, and the half-tribe of Manasseh returning to the other side of the Jordan to their inheritance and concludes with deaths of both Joshua and Eleazar.
Joshua had been faithful to the LORD and completed the mission of bringing the Israelites into the Promised Land. He had waged successful campaigns against the native peoples of the Promised Land and secured peace for the Israelites. Joshua truly was an amazing leader and warrior that God used to accomplish His purposes for the people of Israel. He had done all that the LORD had asked him to do and the people of Israel had begun to experience the benefits of all his efforts and personal sacrifice in service to both the LORD and his countrymen.
Joshua had personally seen the unfaithfulness of his countrymen in the wanderings in the desert and knew that the people who had struggled remaining faithful during a time of amazing miracles would certainly struggle to remain faithful during the times of peace. His final charge to the people of Israel was simple and bears repeating, because it’s a reminder of the choice that all those who call upon the name of God must make.
After reminding the people of all of the things that the LORD had done in saving them from Egypt, saving them from destruction along the journey to the Promised Land, and giving them victory in subduing the Promised Land; Joshua charged the people:
Now therefore fear the LORD and serve him in sincerity and in faithfulness. Pit away the gods that your fathers served beyond the River and in Egypt, and serve the LORD. And if it is evil in your eyes to serve the LORD, choose this day whom you will serve, whether the gods your fathers served in the region beyond the River, or the gods of the Amorites in whose land you dwell. But as for me and my house, we will serve the LORD. Joshua 24:14-15 (ESV)
There really wasn’t any more for Joshua to share with his people. It really came down to just that in his time and it comes down to just that in ours: Choose this day whom you will serve.