“If it seems wrong in your opinion to serve the Lord, then choose today whom you will serve…But my family and I will serve the Lord.” – Joshua 24:15
These famous words of Joshua to the Israelites came when the leader was old and about to die. He was encouraging them to remain faithful to God as they live in the Promised Land.
What’s overlooked is the setting the he chose to give his farewell. He convened the Hebrew leaders at a place called Shechem. This was a holy site for them, where God appeared to Abraham and where Jacob dug a holy well.
Simply standing in Shechem would have been a powerful experience. They knew it was holy ground, that saints of the past had stood where they were standing.
And now Joshua was anchoring his words for the future in a place that connected to the past. He’s conveying, “Feel the strength in this place, and listen to my words!”
It’s like when Martin Luther King, Jr., delivered his “I Have a Dream” speech in 1963. What was the backdrop? The Lincoln Memorial. The place intensifies the feelings and empowers the words.
What’s a sacred place for you? No doubt there are many.
For me, it’s the farm on which I grew up. The church where Jesus’ words first felt real. The college dorm room. The place I proposed. The pulpits of the churches I’ve served. The list lengthens, but I don’t want to bore you.
It’s a holy exercise just listing such Shechems for yourself. A holier one is to pay a visit. Travel to one of them and linger a bit. Let the memories gently move through your soul. The faces, the words, the feelings.
What is Joshua saying?