As a kid, I wasn’t very good at sports. When I was in the eighth grade, my parents insisted I play basketball. Two things came out of my short-lived basketball career:
I spent most of my time on the bench.
I fell and broke my arm the first time I was put into the game!
But there’s another thing I remember…the coach’s pep talks in the locker room at half-time. These talks were always the same…reminding us of what we had learned, challenging us to totally commit to the task before us, and sending us out to prove ourselves.
In Joshua chapters 23 and 24, God is using Joshua to give a similar pep talk to the Israelites. Joshua reminds them of all God has done for them, and how every resource, accomplishment, and victory has come, not from themselves, but from God. Then, he calls them to follow God’s instructions obediently and completely; clearly reminding them of what will happen if they don’t exercise such allegiance and obedience.
And then, the people of Israel declare that they will serve the Lord alone, forever. Three times they affirm this…as if they are all putting their hands in a circle before they break. Then they leave the locker room and go out into the land to prove it. (v. 28.)
In the end, the old leaders pass away, leaving Israel out on the court to prove themselves.
Like Israel, we’ve heard the pep talk. We know the plays. We’ve made the promises. Now we need to prove ourselves by doing everything we’ve been instructed to do. And we need to do this out of complete allegiance to our Coach..our God.