Be Kind Rewind....and Rejoice in the Lord
Do you remember the stickers on VHS rentals from ancient American history? A little over 2 decades ago, a person’s character could be determined, not just by their willingness to return their shopping cart to the corral, but also if they rewound the movie they watched to save the next entertainment seeker the trouble. It allowed whoever rented the tape after you to start the movie from the beginning instead of the end. Any movie, or story for that matter, makes so much more sense when we start at the beginning, it helps us make sense of what is going on and why things turned out the way that they did.
Our passage for this morning is a rewind and rejoice session for Joshua and Israel. God covers everything that has happened since the flood in these 13 verses. In doing so, He shows Israel that the reason they are in the blessed state they are in has to do entirely with His intervention. God had defeated their enemies and led them to the promises land just as He said He would. Joshua is about to call on Israel to choose to continue to follow the Lord but before he does, he rewinds and starts at the beginning of their story so that they understand how they got to where they are, spoiler alert, it had nothing to do with their own abilities and everything to do with God’s faithfulness.
Shechem, is a place with deep history for God and His people, it is where Abraham and Joseph are both buried and it is in many ways, the birth place of the nation of Israel. God had met with Abram before he was known as Abraham at the oak of Moreh here (Genesis 12:6,7) afterward, he built an altar to the Lord to honor and remember the promise that God had made about the land. Later on, Jacob would do the same after he came home and reconciled with his brother Esau (Genesis 33:18-20). Joshua had followed their example back in chapter 8 of this book when he renewed the covenant after they defeated Ai. So here in Joshua 24, the Biblical story is back at the start of Abraham’s joinery with God. In the same place that both Abraham and Jacob had worshipped and said yes to God’s promises, here at Shechem, a great nation descended from Abraham gathers to say thank you Lord for keeping your promise to our father Abraham. This is a good place to rewind and rejoice in God’s unfailing promises!
Shechem is a place of choices both good and band. If you fast forward through Israel’s history to
1 Kings 12:1, you see that later this is the place that Israel stopped being a unified nation and broke in two. It is also the place that the king of the northern tribes ruled from as he made idol worship the national religion (1 Kings 12:25-33;2 Chronicles 11:15). We can receive God’s blessings or the curses that come from rejecting His rule over our lives. The choice is ours, will we rewind and rejoice at what God has done, or will we forget and reject His rule over our lives.
God’s grace is there for the taking if we choose to walk with Him, He will give us the victory as a short rewind of the previous 500 or so years of Israel’s history proves here in Joshua 24:1-13. God will also be faithful to bring about the things He warns us of, which a quick fast forward through the rest of the Old Testament shows.
Take time this morning before you face your day and rewind through how you got to where you are right now. Remind yourself and rejoice in all the ways the Lord has blessed you to bring you through the trials and troubles this world throws at you. And choose to follow Him once more. A good place to start is Ephesians 1:3 that says, “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places.” We have been given an eternal inheritance in Christ as Paul says in 2 Corinthians 1:20, all God’s promises find their Yes in him! Jesus goes with you today, be faithful to Him because He has been and will be faithful to you.