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We Will Worship and Obey the Lord

24 Joshua called the tribes of Israel together for a meeting at Shechem. He had the leaders, including the old men, the judges, and the officials, come up and stand near the sacred tent.[a] Then Joshua told everyone to listen to this message from the Lord, the God of Israel:

Long ago your ancestors lived on the other side of the Euphrates River, and they worshiped other gods. This continued until the time of your ancestor Terah and his two sons, Abraham and Nahor. But I brought Abraham across the Euphrates River and led him through the land of Canaan. I blessed him by giving him Isaac, the first in a line of many descendants.

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Footnotes

  1. 24.1 near. . . tent: Or “in front of the sacred chest” ; Hebrew “in the presence of God.”

14 Then Joshua told the people:

Worship the Lord, obey him, and always be faithful. Get rid of the idols your ancestors worshiped when they lived on the other side of the Euphrates River and in Egypt. 15 But if you don’t want to worship the Lord, then choose right now! Will you worship the same idols your ancestors did? Or since you’re living on land that once belonged to the Amorites, maybe you’ll worship their gods. I won’t. My family and I are going to worship and obey the Lord!

16 The people answered:

We could never worship other gods or stop worshiping the Lord. 17 The Lord is our God. We were slaves in Egypt as our ancestors had been, but we saw the Lord work miracles to set our people free and to bring us out of Egypt. Even though other nations were all around us, the Lord protected us wherever we went. 18 And when we fought the Amorites and the other nations that lived in this land, the Lord made them run away. Yes, we will worship and obey the Lord, because the Lord is our God.

19 Joshua said:

The Lord is fearsome; he is the one true God, and I don’t think you are able to worship and obey him in the ways he demands. You would have to be completely faithful, and if you sin or rebel, he won’t let you get away with it. 20 If you turn your backs on the Lord and worship the gods of other nations, the Lord will turn against you. He will make terrible things happen to you and wipe you out, even though he had been good to you before.

21 But the people shouted, “We won’t worship any other gods. We will worship and obey only the Lord!”

22 Joshua said, “You have heard yourselves say that you will worship and obey the Lord. Isn’t that true?”

“Yes, it’s true,” they answered.

23 Joshua said, “But you still have some idols, like those the other nations worship. Get rid of your idols! You must decide once and for all that you really want to obey the Lord God of Israel.”

24 The people said, “The Lord is our God, and we will worship and obey only him.”

25 Joshua helped Israel make an agreement with the Lord that day at Shechem. Joshua made laws for Israel

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