But Joshua said to the people, “You are not able to serve the LORD, for he is a holy God. He is a jealous God; he will not forgive your transgressions or your sins.” Joshua 24:15 (ESV)
This has been referred to by scholars as “the most shocking statement in all of Scripture!” Why would Joshua, in his final speech before his death, urge Israel to follow the Lord only to answer their promise to follow the Lord with, “You can’t!” In order to better understand this, you have to listen to their “commitment.”
Then the people answered, “Far be it from us that we should forsake the LORD to serve other gods, for it is the LORD our God who brought us and our fathers up from the land of Egypt, out of the house of slavery, and who did those great signs in our sight and preserved us in all the way that we went, and among all the peoples through whom we passed. And the LORD drove out before us all the peoples, the Amorites who lived in the land. Therefore we also will serve the LORD, for he is our God.” (Joshua 24:16-18)
Notice their motivation for following God. They are following God for what he has done for them! If the only reason you’re following God is for good health, a good job, a great retirement, as soon as the trial comes you’ll be done with following God. When he doesn’t give you the spouse you thought you should’ve had, when someone fails you, you’ll blame God. Joshua knew this. He called them to task.
So what is Joshua’s motivation? God is holy. God is jealous. God is not a capricious killjoy. Neither is he a pushover. He is the holy creator of the universe. I’m convinced that music can bring us to places of seeing who God is when nothing else can. After all, the largest book of the Bible is a book of songs.
So again, in this blog, is a song. Take a few minutes to worship God for who he is. Pay close attention to these words. Do you still want to follow that God?