The Jesse Tree
Second Tuesday of Advent: Joshua
A Reading from the Book of Joshua (24:1-18):
“Joshua gathered together all the tribes of Israel at Shechem, summoning the elders, leaders, judges, and officers of Israel. When they stood in ranks before God, Joshua addressed all the people: ‘Thus says the LORD the God of Israel: In times past your ancestors, down to Terah, father of Abraham and Nahor, lived beyond the River and served other gods. But I brought your father Abraham from the region beyond the River and led him through the entire land of Canaan. I made his descendants numerous, and gave him Isaac. To Isaac I gave Jacob and Esau. To Esau I assigned the mountain region of Seir to possess, while Jacob and his children went down to Egypt.
“Then I sent Moses and Aaron, and struck Egypt with the plagues and wonders that I wrought in their midst. Afterward I led you out. And when I led your ancestors out of Egypt, you came to the sea, and the Egyptians pursued your ancestors to the Red Sea with chariots and charioteers. When they cried out to the LORD, he put darkness between you and the Egyptians, upon whom he brought the sea so that it covered them. Your eyes saw what I did to Egypt. After you dwelt a long time in the wilderness, I brought you into the land of the Amorites who lived east of the Jordan. They fought against you, but I delivered them into your power. You took possession of their land, and I destroyed them at your approach. Then Balak, son of Zippor, king of Moab, prepared to war against Israel. He summoned Balaam, son of Beor, to curse you, but I would not listen to Balaam. Instead, he had to bless you, and I delivered you from his power. Once you crossed the Jordan and came to Jericho, the citizens of Jericho fought against you, but I delivered them also into your power. And I sent the hornets ahead of you which drove them — the Amorites, Perizzites, Canaanites, Hittites, Girgashites, Hivites, and Jebusites — out of your way; it was not your sword or your bow. I gave you a land you did not till and cities you did not build, to dwell in; you ate of vineyards and olive groves you did not plant.
“Now, therefore, fear the LORD and serve him completely and sincerely. Cast out the gods your ancestors served beyond the River and in Egypt, and serve the LORD. If it is displeasing to you to serve the LORD, choose today whom you will serve, the gods your ancestors 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.’
“But the people answered, ‘Far be it from us to forsake the LORD to serve other gods. For it was the LORD, our God, who brought us and our ancestors up out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of slavery. He performed those great signs before our very eyes and protected us along our entire journey and among all the peoples through whom we passed. 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.'”
Lord, God of our ancestors, You saved Israel from slavery and guided and protected them along the way to the land You had prepared for them. You called Joshua to lead Your people through their conquest of the Promised Land, fighting for them and delivering into their power all who stood against them. Now come and fight for us against the onslaught of the devil, and deliver us from evil, that we may journey to the Advent of our Lord with hearts renewed in our commitment to serve you and free from any attachment to the false gods of comfort, treasure, pleasure, convenience, or anything else that may tempt us away from You. Come, Lord Jesus! Amen.
Be Christ for all. Bring Christ to all. See Christ in all.