Joshua 24

1 This appears to have been a different gathering held shortly after the previous one described in chapter 23. This occasion was held where Abraham first settled in Canaan. Since Joshua is about to recount Israel's history, it is fitting that the story be told where Abraham first dwelt in the Promised Land. He had no permanent place, but his descendants now lived in the land as God had promised (Gen 12:6-7).
2 Abraham's immediate family is described in Gen 11:27. Abraham was raised in a pagan home, but at some point he heard God's call and followed Him.
3 God promised Abraham that he would become the father of many nations. He eventually had several children, but only Isaac is mentioned here because he was the son through whom the promises would be fulfilled.
4 Esau would become the father of the Edomite nation. They received a land within Esau's lifetime. Jacob was the son through whom the promises would be fulfilled, but his descendants, the Israelites did not receive the land immediately. In fact, it was not until this very generation of Israel now listening to Joshua that the Promised Land became a reality for Abraham's descendants.
7 Some of the people listening to Joshua had been young when they witnessed the miracles that God did through Moses, yet the events were still vivid in their minds. They saw how God could save them, and they knew why the nation was punished for their parents' disobedience.
14 God demonstrated His divine power and care to Israel from the day they left Egypt until this day. He had proven that He was the only God and that He was worthy of all worship. Joshua encouraged the people to look at the evidence and then destroy the idols from among themselves; least they suffer the consequences from God, who would not tolerate and substitutes for Him. To "fear" God means to revere and obey Him.
15 The world often labels God as evil or undesirable because He is intolerant of false worship and denies that there are any other divine beings. They focus on His judgement of people who do not worship Him alone and feel that He could not be a God they would like to server. Joshua, however, focused on God's great blessings and love to those who follow Him. He also saw that none of the so-called gods of the surrounding nations had the ability to aid the most powerful people in the world. Joshua had a personal experience with God and he was convinced of God's unique sovereignty over the universe. Joshua would serve no other, and he encouraged all of Israel to follow his lead.

The Israelites had real options to choose from, and Joshua wanted them to commit to the only option that would really benefit them. Abraham had left the gods of his father to serve the only living God. God had demonstrated before Israel's eyes that the so-called gods of the Egyptians and Canaanites were no match for Him. God visibly demonstrated His power and love to the Israelites, so the best choice was obvious to them.

The choice to serve God or not is always immediate. When people hear and see what God has done they decide instantly whether to believe it or not. Even delaying the choice is a decision not to follow God until something "more convincing" happens. If a person is to serve God, it is better for him to choose to do so as soon as he can. One might fool himself into thinking he can serve God later in life, but he may not have the time or ability to choose God on his deathbed. Once a person has dies, he can no longer choose to serve God. Therefore, it is imperative for those reading to "choose this day" whether to serve God or turn away.

16 Israel promised to serve God alone based on the works He had done in their lifetimes. He had certainly earned their respect, and the people were eternally grateful.
17 One of the keys to "not forsaking" God is remembering what He has done. This is why it is emphasized in other places to build monuments and read the Law in public. Once people start forgetting what God has done, it is easier for them to give the credit to someone or something else.
18 Another key to "not forsaking" God is establishing a personal relationship with Him. The Israel claimed Him as "our God." This was not just the God of Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Moses, or Joshua. He was their God, too. The same is still true today. Each person must commit to God as his God. Only then will he not be tempted to serve others.
19 Instead of congratulating the Israelites for their decision, Joshua challenges them with this interesting statement. The Israelites have many rules and regulations to tell them how to please God, and yet Joshua here says it is not possible to serve Him. This statement probably refers to the divide between people and God that has existed since Adam and Eve sinned. The interaction between the living God and spiritually dead people is limited by its very nature. God's perfection makes it impossible for Him to compromise His purity to interact on a spiritual level with sinful people.

Fortunately, Jesus died for our sins and made it possible for us to be "born again" -- that is, attain a spiritual birth. It is then possible for "Christians" before and after Jesus to serve God and relate to Him as He desires.

20 God had been very good to Israel and would continue to do so. However, because of their covenant relationship with Him, if they later turn from Him they would suffer punishment for their broken vow. The blessing would become a curse.
21 The people affirm that they will continue to follow God and abide by their covenant with Him.
22 Whether they enjoyed the blessings or suffered the curses, no one could deny that these were the terms of their agreement. They would not have a right to complain if they later broke the covenant and suffered the consequences.
23 If anyone did happen to pick up any idols during their various battles or found any left behind in the towns and houses in which they lived, Joshua commands them to be disposed of immediately. If they kept the idols, they might eventually be tempted to worship them. The customs of the people they defeated were not to become Israel's custom. What would make Israel unique was that they listened to and obeyed the true living God.
26 The people were witnesses to the covenant, but Joshua also made a written record of the event so that future generations would remember that they were also obligated by this covenant.
27 The monument would also be a visual reminder for them. As with other monuments that were set up, this would be a reminder to the people and could be used as an educational tool when children asked their parents what the monument meant.
31 Israel was faithful to God as long as there were eyewitnesses of His work. Once all the eyewitnesses were dead, Israel would have to base their faith on the written records and the teaching of their parents. This kind of faith is more difficult, and the implication is that Israel's faith faltered. This trend continued to Jesus' day (e.g., John 6:30-31). However, God should not have to constantly proving Himself to keep our attention. Faith based on the trustworthy record of the Scriptures is pleasing to God (John 20:29, 2 Cor 5:7).
32 Joseph had died in Egypt, and his bones were left there as a testimony to the Egyptians and the Israelites of how God had worked through him. He requested that his bones be buried in Canaan when Israel, as a nation, moved back to that land (Gen 50:25). Moses made sure that Joseph's bones were brought from Egypt (Exo 13:19), and Joshua buried them in the family burial cave (Gen 23).
33 Finally, Aaron's son, the second high priest, died.