Joshua 24:1-2,15-17, 18
Joshua is a man of action who has clearly placed his life and that of his family in the hands of the Lord. In speaking to the people, he presents them with a choice: either follow his example or not. The people decide to follow him and thus they move forward to inhabit the Promised Land. Sometimes all that it takes to bring major changes to the life of a community is one or a few people to stand up and lay their lives on the line and then challenge others to do the same. Good leadership, leadership by example, is very hard to beat when it comes to making a project a success.
1 Joshua gathered together all the tribes of Israel at Shechem, summoning their elders, their leaders, their judges and their officers. When they stood in ranks before God, 2 Joshua addressed all the people, ?Thus says the LORD, the God of Israel. In times past your fathers, down to Terah, father of Abraham and Nahor, dwelt beyond the River and served other gods. 15 If it does not please you to serve the LORD, decide today whom you will serve, the gods your fathers served beyond the River or the gods of the Amorites in whose country you are dwelling. As for me and my household, we will serve the LORD.? 16 But the people answered, ?Far be it from us to forsake the LORD for the service of other gods. 17 For it was the LORD, our God, who brought us and our fathers up out of the land of Egypt, out of a state of slavery. He performed those great miracles before our very eyes and protected us along our entire journey and among all the peoples through whom we passed. 18 At our approach the LORD drove out [all the peoples, including] the Amorites who dwelt in the land. Therefore we also will serve the LORD, for he is our God.?
P S A L M
Psalm 34:2-3, 16-17, 18-19, 20-21
R: Taste and see the goodness of the Lord.
1  I will bless the LORD at all times; his praise shall be ever in my mouth. 2  Let my soul glory in the LORD; the lowly will hear me and be glad. (R) 15  The LORD has eyes for the just, and ears for their cry. 16  The LORD confronts the evildoers, to destroy remembrance of them from the earth. (R) 17  When the just cry out, the LORD hears them, and from all their distress he rescues them. 18  The LORD is close to the brokenhearted; and those who are crushed in spirit he saves. (R) 19  Many are the troubles of the just one, but out of them all the LORD delivers him; 20  He watches over all his bones; not one of them shall be broken. (R)
Submission is a word that often evokes negative connotations in peoples? minds. It seems to be in direct opposition to freedom. However, understood and practiced properly, submission is in fact a means of bringing greater freedom to our lives, as it will ensure that the people who should be making the decisions will be making them. The truth of the matter is that there are some decisions that are ours to make and others to which we should submit. Submission is never something that takes power from the people. But will always empower them to make the decisions that are right.
21 Be subordinate to one another out of reverence for Christ. 22 Wives should be subordinate to their husbands as to the Lord. 23 For the husband is head of his wife just as Christ is head of the church, he himself the savior of the body. 24 As the church is subordinate to Christ, so wives should be subordinate to their husbands in everything. 25 Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ loved the church and handed himself over for her 26 to sanctify her, cleansing her by the bath of water with the word, 27 that he might present to himself the church in splendor, without spot or wrinkle or any such thing, that she might be holy and without blemish. 28 So [also] husbands should love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. 29 For no one hates his own flesh but rather nourishes and cherishes it, even as Christ does the church, 30 because we are members of his body. 31 ?For this reason a man shall leave [his] father and [his] mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh.? 32 This is a great mystery, but I speak in reference to Christ and the church.
G O S P E L
The struggle of the people is a very real one and I sympathize with them because this is a very difficult teaching of Jesus to understand. Do not forget that we have the benefit of nearly 2000 years of hindsight to help us in our understanding. This was probably the first time many, if not all, of these people had heard such a teaching. Let us seek not to judge them by the standards of today?s understanding. Give them the benefit of the doubt in their response and pray for the grace to live out the understanding that we have today. With Peter, let us cling to the Lord even when we do not understand, as we believe that Jesus? words, difficult though they may be, are indeed words that lead to everlasting life.
60 Then many of his disciples who were listening said, ?This saying is hard. Who can accept it?? 61 Since Jesus knew that his disciples were murmuring about this, he said to them, ?Does this shock you? 62 What if you were to see the Son of Man ascending to where he was before? 63 It is the spirit that gives life, while the flesh is of no avail. The words I have spoken to you are spirit and life. 64 But there are some of you who do not believe.? Jesus knew from the beginning the ones who would not believe and the one who would betray him. 65 And he said, ?For this reason I have told you that no one can come to me unless it is granted him by my Father.? 66 As a result of this, many [of] his disciples returned to their former way of life and no longer accompanied him. 67 Jesus then said to the Twelve, ?Do you also want to leave?? 68 Simon Peter answered him, ?Master, to whom s hall we go? You have the words of eternal life. 69 We have come to believe and are convinced that you are the Holy One of God.?
think: Sometimes all that it takes to bring major changes to the life of a community is one or a few people to stand up and lay their lives on the line and then challenge others to do the same.
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READ THE BIBLE IN ONE YEAR Ezekiel 15-18
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