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Give ear . . . to my teaching.” Chapter 24 begins with a speech from Joshua and closes with his death. A portion of our text forms the beginning of Joshua’s valedictory speech, an address
that offers remembrance and hope. Joshua recalls the history of Israel. Today’s text offers Abraham...
Open us to hear the wonder of your loving voice, gracious God, so that we may grow as followers of Jesus Christ. Amen.
This week’s passages speak of ultimate commitment or of the return of Jesus or they speak in parables that reflect a protagonist who has been delayed in an anticipated appearance. Living so far from the time of the texts makes it difficult to appreciate the urgency with which the issues arose in various communities and the crises they precipitated. Eschatology, however, is not to be thought of merely as a speculative venture in which curious religious people gamble on a time when the world will end. In the Bible, the coming advent of God demands from and warrants for the people of God a distinctive style of life. In Joshua 24, Israel receives an opportunity to de ne itself by identifying its God. First Thessalonians 4 comforts anxious believers who are worried about the fate of their deceased parents. Jesus’ resurrection is not an isolated event, Paul argues, but the beginning of the resurrection of all people. The prospect of Jesus’ return forms the basis for hope.
• Read Joshua 24:1-3a, 14-25. When have your ministry activities become so time-consuming that you lost your connection to God? How can you regain that connection?
• Read Psalm 78:1-7. Which of the teachers in your life are you most grateful for? Why?
• Read 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18. How concerned are you with the end of time? What would you say to someone who claimed to know when the “end of the age” would be?
• Read Matthew 25:1-13. What part has fear played in your journey of faith? What does fear have to do with receiving God’s love?
Respond by posting a prayer.
Emmaus helped me laugh again, and it brought joy back to my life after the loss of my child. I am now stronger than ever in my walk with the Lord. And to this day, I continue to sponsor pilgrims to The Walk to Emmaus. In my local church, I have led our discipleship team and have had the opportunity to start new Sunday school classes and various women’s ministries. ¡De Colores!”