Jos 24:14-29; Ps 16:1-2,5,7-8,11; Mt 19:13-15
It is one thing to take refuge in the Lord; to find a secure shelter in the Living God, but how is it that the Lord God is our portion? How can we possess the Lord? How can we contain the mystery of the Lord God? Are our hearts pure enough? Are we holy? The only way Our Lord can hold fast our lot is because The Lord himself is our portion and our cup. The Lord God is both the abundant blessing poured out into our hearts, and The Lord God is the container into which He pours himself. He has made us in his own image and likeness and when he chooses to give himself to us he remakes us and renews us in his love so that we can contain love itself. With all who pray Psalm 16, we set the Lord ever before our eyes. We do not take our eyes off the Lord Our God. Nothing distracts us from the glory. His beauty and majesty have attracted our hearts, and we do not want to turn away and seek any other god. Such is the fullness of joy in His presence and the delights at The Lord’s right hand forever. This was the kind of commitment that Joshua tried to elicit from the tribes of Israel. This is the kind of total reliance and absolute dependence that the Lord Jesus saw in the faces of children. That is why we must become like children if the Kingdom of heaven is to belong to us.
Again we are taken by the liturgy to the assembly of Israel at Shechem. Here we can hear the words of Joshua to all the tribes gathered for a renewal of the Covenant. Cast out all the gods your ancestors served in Ur of the Chaldeans and in Egypt. Old habits are hard to break, and even after all the people had seen the Lord God do on their behalf still some of them clung to the old gods, to the old security. Joshua knew the people and their habits. Joshua does not hold back on his warning, “You may not be able to serve the LORD, for he is a holy God; he is a jealous God who will not forgive your transgressions or your sins.” This kind of severity is also found in the New Testament when the Lord Jesus warns us about the unforgivable sin against the Holy Spirit. No sin can be forgiven if you resist God’s mercy. If you are not humble enough to accept the Lord’s mercy, you will wallow in your self-pity forever. Israel, don’t try to play games with the Lord God. After all the Lord has done for you, now is your chance to be completely sincere with the Lord God. Joshua goes on to repeat his warning, “put away the strange gods that are among you and turn your hearts to the Lord, our God, and obey his voice.” Why is this second warning? What is so hard to understand about this covenant? Perhaps, Joshua knew well the human heart. He knew that he could not make any commitment for anyone else. Joshua gave himself and his family to the Lord, and every other household had to do the same. Their journey is coming to and end. Joshua is about to die at the age of a hundred and ten. This is his final plea: choose the One who has chosen you! Then and only then will you walk on the path of life and know the fullness of joy in God’s presence, the delights at His right hand forever.
The Lord Jesus has come to offer the whole human race a New Covenant. He has come that we might have life and have it in abundance. Such a serious offer is not for children, so the disciples thought. They tried to keep the children away from the Master, and he rebuked them. The Lord Jesus put them in their place. He was severe with the disciples, and with the children he was tender. Perhaps, the disciples of today still have to learn how to be like children and find their delight only in Jesus the Christ. Perhaps, they still need to put away any other god.