Serving (Joshua 24:1-15) // Sunday, August 20, 2023

Serving (Joshua 24:1-15) // Sunday, August 20, 2023

You, your family and friends may connect to our worship service in person in the Sanctuary (masks required) on Zoom by clicking HERE or you can join us on YouTube at!

Grace UMC prepares for Sunday worship by reading the scripture for the coming Sunday’s sermon. Below, you fill find questions that can be used for Bible Study, small groups or personal devotion. Let the scripture speak into your life! Expect great things!

Guest Preacher: Nona Pittman

Nona Pittman is a community organizer at LA Voice, a multi-faith. multi-ethnic non-profit in Los Angeles that seeks to foster justice for vulnerable and marginalized communities. She was raised in the American Baptist tradition and has the intention of completing her master’s in divinity. A recent graduate from Loyola Marymount University, she studied Communications, African American studies, and Gender studies.

Preparation for 12th Sunday After Pentecost

Gathering Prayer

Your love has brought us together, O Lord, and it is your love that sustains us through each day.
We pray that you will keep us faithful.
Even as we watch for signs of your kingdom,
strengthen us to work with you to bring about, here and now, your reign on earth.
Give us the courage to witness to your presence in the world, today, tomorrow, and into the future.
We pray in the name of the One who comes, Christ our Savior. Amen.

Gathering Time (5-10 minutes)

  1. Share one word to describe how it is with your soul today.
  2. In pairs of 2 share the first time you realized that one major tenant of our faith is service to God and the world.

Group Dialogue: Read Joshua 24:1-15 (Common English Bible)

What God has done

24 Joshua gathered all the tribes of Israel at Shechem. He summoned the elders of Israel, its leaders, judges, and officers. They presented themselves before God. Then Joshua said to the entire people, “This is what the Lord, the God of Israel, says: Long ago your ancestors lived on the other side of the Euphrates. They served other gods. Among them was Terah the father of Abraham and Nahor. I took Abraham your ancestor from the other side of the Euphrates. I led him around through the whole land of Canaan. I added to his descendants and gave him Isaac. To Isaac I gave Jacob and Esau. I gave Mount Seir to Esau to take over. But Jacob and his sons went down to Egypt. Then I sent Moses and Aaron. I plagued Egypt with what I did to them. After that I brought you out. I brought your ancestors out of Egypt, and you came to the sea. The Egyptians chased your ancestors with chariots and horses to the Reed Sea.[a] Then they cried for help to the Lord. So he set darkness between you and the Egyptians. He brought the sea down on them, and it covered them. With your own eyes you saw what I did to the Egyptians. You lived in the desert for a long time.

“Then I brought you into the land of the Amorites who lived on the other side of the Jordan. They attacked you, but I gave them into your power, and you took over their land. I wiped them out before you. Then Moab’s King Balak, Zippor’s son, set out to attack Israel. He summoned Balaam, Beor’s son, to curse you. 10 But I wasn’t willing to listen to Balaam, so he actually blessed you. I rescued you from his power. 11 Then you crossed over the Jordan. You came to Jericho, and the citizens of Jericho attacked you. They were Amorites, Perizzites, Canaanites, Hittites, Girgashites, Hivites, and Jebusites. But I gave them into your power. 12 I sent the hornet[b] before you. It drove them out before you and did the same to the two kings of the Amorites. It wasn’t your sword or bow that did this. 13 I gave you land on which you hadn’t toiled and cities that you hadn’t built. You settled in them and are enjoying produce from vineyards and olive groves that you didn’t plant.

Challenge to be faithful

14 “So now, revere the Lord. Serve him honestly and faithfully. Put aside the gods that your ancestors served beyond the Euphrates and in Egypt and serve the Lord. 15 But if it seems wrong in your opinion to serve the Lord, then choose today whom you will serve. Choose the gods whom your ancestors served beyond the Euphrates or the gods of the Amorites in whose land you live. But my family and I will serve the Lord.”


The people have now settled and prospered. But “settled and prospered” can be its own roadblock. We begin to forget how we needed God’s help before when things weren’t so rosy. Joshua gathers up all the tribes and reminds them of all the ways God has served them well and encourages them to joyfully choose to serve God. We know that we have arrived at an important milestone in our journey, living the kind of life that we were created to live, when we can look back over all the struggles that have come before us and affirm that we would endure “the good, the bad, and the ugly” all over again in order to be in the place to which God has led us.

Reflection Questions

  1.  What is a word or a phrase or an image that comes to your mind when you read or hear the text?
  2. Based upon what you heard God is communicating in our what seems to be  going  with people of God?
  3. What does Joshua mean in verse 19 when he says, “You will not be able to serve the Lord…?”
  4. What would be the consequence of turning away from the Lord?
  5. What did they have to do to show their obedience to the Lord over and above just saying they would serve Him?
  6. What was the covenant that was made?

Closing Prayer

Loving Father, we begin to understand more and more that we can’t be divided in our loyalty, for You alone have the words of eternal life. Today, Lord, we choose to go deeper into You, for we desire to serve You with our whole heart. Keep us and our families serving you in humility of heart and help us to keep walking in Your light and truth every moment of the day, and looking to Jesus, in Whose name I pray, AMEN.