Israel Renews Their Covenant Commitment

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Joshua 24:1-33, Deuteronomy 7:9, Romans 8:28

They had walked the aisle before, but this time the bride and groom had twenty years of marriage under their belts. As they held intimately familiar hands, the couple promised to stick together for better or worse, for richer or poorer, in sickness and in health, to love and to cherish till death would part them. They declared, “I do…again” as an affirmation of vows made years ago and as a recommitment to keep these vows for years to come. 

Publicly declaring and doubling down on unconditional love and faithfulness is no small thing. To say that marriage is hard is a colossal understatement. Renewing vows can be a bold celebration of victory in the face of opposition, as well as a humble agreement to continue the arduous journey, one day at a time. 

It was no small thing for Joshua to conduct a covenant renewal ceremony between God and His people either. All seemed well as Israel settled down in the promised land, finally free from battle. But Joshua knew the people needed to double down on their commitment to the Lord because they were surrounded by nations worshiping false gods. It would be so tempting to cheat on God by adopting the idolatry around them, to put their hope in their new land and homes, forgetting and forsaking the one, true God.

In his final act of leadership, Joshua gathered Israel’s leaders in the city of Shechem for a vow renewal ceremony. This spot was no accident. Hundreds of years earlier, Abraham faithfully left his homeland and followed the Lord to Shechem (Genesis 12:6). Under the well-known oak of Shechem, Jacob buried his family’s idols in obedience and commitment to God (Genesis 35:4). Here once again, Joshua calls God’s people to remember and recommit, to demolish idols and turn toward the Lord. 

“Fear the LORD and worship him in sincerity and truth. 
Get rid of the gods your fathers worshiped beyond the Euphrates River and in Egypt, 
and worship the LORD” (Joshua 24:14). 

Once again, God’s people promised, “We will” (v.16).

But then a surprising correction from Joshua threatened to derail the ceremony: “You will not be able to worship the LORD, because he is a holy God” (Joshua 24:19). God is perfect, and Israel was not. Neither are we. “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23). Despite our promises and best intentions, we cannot keep our vows to God. We will stray. We will forget. We will forsake. But God has not forsaken us. “The righteousness of God is through faith in Jesus Christ to all who believe” (v.22). Through Jesus, our unfaithfulness—our sin—is forgiven, so that we can be in right relationship with God. He completes the ceremony, saves a colossally hard union, and fulfills all the vows—both His and ours. 

What God has joined together, no one can separate.

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48 thoughts on "Israel Renews Their Covenant Commitment"

  1. Brandy Deruso says:

    Lord i will seek you!

  2. Paula Strong says:

    “As for me and my family, we will serve the Lord” – one of my favorite verses. This verses hangs in my dining room and reminds me daily how I get through each day and why I am here on Earth. I e been married over 30 years and it’s been hard hard at times but the Lord is always there to remind me he’s in the center of our marriage.

  3. Sarah Edwards says:


  4. Christina TagueMcIllwain says:

    Joshua was nearly perfect! What a picture of complete obedience.

  5. Kate Condran says:

    Have so appreciated reading through and reflecting on Joshua’s faithful obedience and humble leadership.

  6. Bianca HarrisPerine says:

    I love the verse Joshua 24:15. “Which will you worship?” Reminds me that God always gives us a choice.

  7. Kelly says:

    He keeps all vows, His and our own since we cannot. I love the end of Joshua with the reminder of all God has done for Israel from the very beginning. It is a reminder for me to always remember that God is faithful to His promises always and is always there. And also that we too need how He was faithful to Israel and the ways He shows that to us now.

  8. Esthera Cotoarba says:

    I’m going to miss Joshua so much. This has been such a sweet, tough, soul searching and healing time ❤

  9. Bonnie Cochran says:


  10. Mercy says:

    We are His bride and He is our husband. Our walk with God is the marriage blessed from Heaven. May I bring honor and purity to this union with faithfulness. For better or for worse, I will be loyal to you Lord.

  11. Melody Bates says:


  12. Melody Bates says:

    I love how God brings all the studies I do together. Just this week, through Bible Study Fellowship, we study Genesis 35. To bring full circle Jacob’s calling to bury foreign gods with his ancestors call to do the same, helps me to better understand the history I’m reading.

  13. Jennifer Ficklen says:


  14. Mari V says:

    @KJ Johnson. I am one that used to run early (sun wasn’t up yet) morning. But when I noticed that my quiet time was rushed, I trained myself to get up earlier. It was hard at first but I made it work. I knew that if I didn’t have quiet time in the morning, I never got to it later. My quiet time became (and is) my lifeline and I cannot go without it. Things changed for me again and although I still get up very early I now walk to work and walk home. And that’s how I get my exercise. I’m glad that God made a way for me because I know that he knows it’s important to me. It’s during my early morning walk to work which is only about 1 1/2 miles. I use this time to reflect on what we read, pray and talk to God. I’m loving it.

  15. Saile Guzman says:

    Amazing amazing study. Thank you, SRT!!!

  16. Maura says:

    Angela Sutherland your daughter’s words brought tears. Indeed kids get it with a faith we all need. Love that you shared such a beautiful moment. Praising God with you! After reading this scripture and Joshua’s admonition that they would fail, and some of your postings about marriage and God’s faithfulness it brought the book of Hosea to mind. Our God is faithful and knew we could not obey the law, that Israel would be a harlot like Hosea’s wife and would turn away time and again. That I would be the same turning to sin even though my God is so faithful.. And so Jesus, the grace, forgiveness, the one who came to set us free. God knew Israel and our hearts would wander that we in our human state would turn to idols, many times the idol of self instead of our true Hope and Savior. But God made a way for us, and calls us in to His holy, redeeming, merciful Love. Amazing love indeed! Hugs Sisters, He is faithful and loves us each one as His lamb.

  17. Renee Kosted says:

    Churchmouse, this brought tears. Thank you!!!! I needed this encouragement today, this week, this month, this year. Your words encourage and bless! ❤️❤️❤️

  18. Crysta says:

    @angela s.

    your story gave me goosebumps. Amen to God’s glory. I’m so happy for you.

    Thank you SRT team indeed for putting together this amazing plan, and for today’s devotional. Today’s reading was so profound for me. I love how woven everything was. I honestly forgot about Abraham burying his own idols in the exact place the Israelites recommitted to God in today’s reading. That was a welcoming reminder for me personally. God isn’t a God that allows ‘loose ends,’ because everything has a connected purpose.

    I’ve been trying to mull over why certain things played out how they did in my own life. I have honestly have been struggling with negative thoughts, and a lot of self-doubt. Today’s reading was very encouraging that I’m walking in these exact shoes for a connected purpose that I can’t see yet. That gives me hope, and I can remember how faithful God is. I don’t remember who said it, but they were spot on: we all fall short, and we will all forget.

    Thank God for Jesus. Thank God for the cross. Thank God he’s in Heaven interceding on our behalf. Thank God the veil was torn because Jesus stayed focus on his assignment. Jesus didn’t want to die on the cross, but He submitted to God’s will being done. Where would we all be if Jesus didn’t submit to God’s authority? That’s a reminder for me, that sometime’s we’ll walk in seasons we don’t want to, but it’s for a purpose that we can’t see yet.

    We’re all interconnected. That’s scary and beautiful at the same time. We’re all wired differently, and we all have very different upbringings that are apart of our stories. Only God knows the details for all of us, and only God can interconnect our stories. The same way God interconnected Abraham’s commitment in Genesis, is the same place as the Israelites recommitment to God in today’s reading. Same commitment, different timelines, same weaknesses, different generations.

    Yet the generations are all connected to Abraham. Abraham’s act of obedience created a ripple affect of abundant life in OT (Old Testament.) It’s similar to Jesus’s act of obedience to the cross that created a ripple affect of abundant life for all of us… in NT (New Testament.) That’s so deep for me. There’s so much to unpack here. I didn’t go to Bible school, but I love the Bible so much. Writing all of this reminded me of that. I haven’t done a Bible study like this in almost four years. It’s like revival to my soul or something. I’m so grateful.

    I’m believing today’s going to be a faith filled Friday for all of us. ❤️

    Have a wonderful day y’all, and thank you so much for this platform SRT!

  19. Taylor says:

    Heidi I echo your prayer that the Lord would shape my heart to choose Him right back in every situation and circumstance. Ceegee, I also like your takeaway idea from this study! For me, it has been God’s incredible faithfulness, how he requires obedience of us, and His promises to all believers that are Yes and Amen in Christ. I have been so blessed by this study and this community! So excited to dive into Mark together :)
    I hope everyone has a great weekend! <3

  20. Heidi says:

    Laura- praying for your marriage and thanking God for the courage you both have in fighting the enemy for ownership of that relationship. God is for relationship and God is for you and God is for your husband. If God is for you/your man- who can be against it? If you are laying claim to His resurrected power over your relationship- it’s a bad day in Hell for your enemy.. ;)

    Michelle P- that’s amazing! I’m praying for truth to rewrite your mind and heart through the study of His word..!! I’d love so much to keep hearing how you’re doing..!! :) :)

  21. Mariah Hollifield says:

    We do this so easily! We fight through a hard season, have a psalm 63 moment, then think we’re good. Then in our comfort we find other things to secure ourselves to, find our comfort in, or place our identity in. Like: people, social media, a place, a feeling, a TV show, food, or just a shift in our priorities. Then the next thing in life hits, whether big or small, and we crumble because we began to worship and prioritize other things over God. We get in the same cycle we see the old testament Israelites in. The difference being, we have the Spirit of God, with all His power to break that cycle dwelling inside of us.
    So, what does it look like to break this cycle? To steward well the rest and the blessing of a new season?

    1. Buffy Rennie says:

      So good and truthful. Thank you.

  22. CeeGee says:

    THANK YOU, SRT staff for this powerful study and for the opportunity to gather in this place to learn and share. What a blessing!
    Takeaway: Be strong/ courageous, worship the LORD in sincerity and truth, remember how the LORD fights for you, honor your commitment to the one TRUE GOD.
    As for me and my family, we will serve the LORD!

  23. Jos ByHisGrace says:

    A reminder for me to fear the Lord only ,and not fearing other things. My fears show my idols that I worshipped…..

  24. Gloria Penner says:

    Praying for you Laura & your marriage that you will have passion for one another again. Maybe you already do, but this is my prayer for my marriage so it’s where my heart is for you. You’re right on track, Laura! Early in our marriage, my hubby told me i was too Christian. He’d like me better if i wasn’t so fanatical. I tried it, thinking God commanded me to submit to my husband’s wishes. Within a year, we were enemies in love and I’d grown very sick. I gave my heart back to God alone and he saved our marriage. Actually, for awhile my husband envied God because my love belonged to Him. Once he caught on that it was God who was for our marriage, who saved our marriage, who gave me passion for him, my husband finally turned to God himself fully. I agree wholeheartedly with you, Laura, giving God your whole heart will save the marriage.

  25. E _ says:

    Angela, that filled my heart with joy! Praise the Lord!

  26. Bridgette says:

    Today’s reading plan reminds me that in order to fully recommit to God, I must examine myself and allow God to change those things in me, my life, that are not of Him. Too often in the past I have told God, “You can only go this far, I’ll take it from here”, and of course disaster followed. But God’s grace gave me a second chance time and time again. Today I searched my heart ❤️ and found it to be imperfect but fully committed to God. Fully covered by His grace.

    2 Corinthians 13:5
    Examine yourselves to see whether you are in the faith; test yourselves. Do you not realize that Christ Jesus is in you—unless, of course, you fail the test?

  27. Mari V says:

    No one and nothing will separate me from my God. I’ve said it before, I have no other place to go but to my God, my Jesus. And there’s no other place I’d rather be. Jesus is my everything! I also depend on him a lot. To guide me. To parent. To be that friend. Mainly in my current situation as I still parent my daughter and guide my son when he asks for it.

  28. Jeunesse says:

    Churchmouse, there is so much truth to what you have said. So much. Wonderful reminder to encourage others in the Lord along our journey. Also, thank you for saying it out loud, for those living through it right now❤️

  29. Karen Johansen says:

    Rejoicing with you, Angela!

  30. Julia Artbauer says:

    Thank you ladies for putting together this beautiful reading plan of Gods love and faithfulness during Lent. Being reminded that Gods people were protected and fought for by our God makes the blessing of Jesus Christ so sweet and precious. Joshua is not an easy ‘read’. I treasure my time in the word AND your podcasts as they not only take me more in depth in Gods word but expand my understanding! Thank you SRT and praise to the Lord our God for providing this ministry!

  31. Erika Hodgens says:

    Personalize this and it becomes even more clear and powerful : God is perfect. I am not. Despite my best intentions I will stray, I will forget, I will forsake. But God has not forsaken me. Through Jesus, my unfaithfulness is forgiven so that I can be in right relationship with God. He completes the ceremony, saves the colossally hard union snd FULFILLS ALL THE VOWS- both His and mine. What God has joined together, no one can separate.

  32. Angela Sutherland says:

    The last few weeks have been such a good call to remember the faithfulness of God. I’m realizing how important it is to take a spiritual inventory and remember what God has done and look for areas where I’ve allowed “idols” to creep in. It’s not a one time thing, but a practice I need to make a daily part of my walk with Jesus. He truly has been, is and will continue to be faithful!!! I have a HUGE praise this morning, where God has been so faithful….my daughter Jorina (she will be 5 in a few months) asked Jesus to be her Lord and Savior last night!! after months of reading about how sin entered the world in the Garden, and following through scripture, seeing God’s great Rescue plan in every story, we read about the death and resurrection of Jesus. I could tell by her questions and observations that she was ready to talk about what salvation is and how to receive it. She wanted to have Jesus come live in her heart and wash her sin away so she can see God face to face someday. So we prayed together and my heart is so full!! She was excited to tell her big brother about the party in Heaven for her and how her name is now written in the Book of Life. She also insists that Mary and Jospeh, and my Dad are having a party too. I love that! I heard her whisper to Jase as she settled in on her bed “I can feel God’s Spirit now”….don’t try to tell me kids don’t get it. They do! Jesus knew it too and He is still welcoming them to come to Him! Just like our Jorina Beanie!! PRAISE THE LORD!!!

  33. Audrey Kennedy says:

    Faithful throughout my lifetime and so so so much more. It’s amazing — our God and all He has done …. took, led, multiplied, gave, defeated, brought, handed, rescued, gave, handed. He is a provider. He is a shield. And all because He loves.

  34. Mom to many says:

    Thank you churchmouse and Laura for your replies.

    I agree we need to celebrate faithfulness regardless of time. Marriage is beautiful and hard. I never dreamed as a newlywed we would struggle a few short years later with infertility and the strain that places on marriage. So many unknowns at the outset of life together and I needed to constantly be reminded to always put Jesus first in my heart. I love my husband but he can never take Jesus place.

  35. Michelle P. says:


    I will pray for you. God, please bless Laura with your wisdom and healing. Help her to restore what was broken- in both people and in this marriage. Please tend to their wounds and bring them your loving healing. Thank you for keeping Laura’s faith alive and I pray it continues to grow stronger, in the days to come. Please surround her with your love and mercy. In Jesus’s name.

  36. Michelle P. says:

    What a beautiful reminder of the significance of renewing our commitments. I notice that Israel is very fond of setting up symbolic memorials. God has asked them to do so, too, in crossing the Jordan River. I wonder on the question, what memorials do I have in my life? Are they helpful in reminding me of God’s work in my life?

    I wanted to thank all of you who prayed for me, yesterday, concerning what I wrote about the ED I struggle with. I def felt the peace of God with me, yesterday. Thank you for your kind words!! I am seeking professional help, as I have in the past. But I pray this time it is more than just a band-aid but true freedom. To Heidi- I just ordered the Breaking Free study by Beth Moore. I’m praying it is fruitful! ❤️

    Praying God’s peace be with you all. Love and blessings!

  37. Churchmouse says:

    Ok so here’s a pet peeve of mine, triggered by today’s devotion. First, I do not disparage those who have met the milestone of being married for 50 years and I don’t begrudge them a party in celebration. My pet peeve is that we don’t also celebrate those who have stayed married but don’t have that many years under their belt. Some folks who have been married for far fewer years have soldiered through tremendous difficulties and hung in their, honoring their vows. Let’s celebrate those couples too and not wait until they get to the 50 year milestone. One year can seem like 50 when you’re spending it at the bedside of your child in Children’s Hospital. 19 years can seem like 50 when you’re admitting your teenager for drug rehab again. You get the picture. Marriage is a daily renewal of vows. If every couple set up memorial stones for when they stayed faithful in the face of what threatened their union, we’d see stone towers everywhere. Today let’s encourage all those who are staying the course, who are keeping their vows “til death do us part” every single day. Let’s celebrate faithfulness despite the longevity. Because it is God’s faithful presence through these dark valleys that makes a spouse able to keep being faithful as well. We celebrate His vow to us every time we keep vows to each other. Regardless of the anniversary number.

  38. Laura says:

    I have been married for almost 35 years, and at year 30, I found out that my husband was unfaithful. It devastated me and it has taken almost 5 years to put the pieces of our marriage back together. When you get married, you only see commitment, love. You can’t imagine ever cheating on this person. But hearts do stray, first loves do fade. Our hearts are so fickle and easily turned. God knows this, which is why He warns over and over to put aside other loves and love only HIM. I know the devastation of someone turning from me, and I don’t ever want to do that to God. I must keep my eyes on Him, and remind my heart daily that it belongs to God and no one else.

  39. Anne says:

    I am reminded of Romans 8 this morning: Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? We have a binding union, a covenant not dependant on either my own strength or fallibility, but on the unshakeable, unbreakable love of Christ.

    “For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord”
    Romans 8:38‭-‬39. Thank God.

  40. Angie says:

    Joshua gathered the people. They gathered together to remember all that God had done and to make a choice whom they would serve. The remembering and choosing altogether fostered both community and accountability. Before the pandemic, we gathered, but was it to remember, worship and chose to follow our Lord? My gatherings were not. I realize we hung out with Christian friends, where it felt good, comfortable, and safe. We had each other’s backs, but we didn’t spend the bulk of our time on what really mattered, remembering and choosing our faithful God, His past and present blessings, and His promises for the future. Weirdly,… blessedly,… gatherings during this pandemic remember, honor, and chose Him more as their focus. I praise God for that.

    Joshua’s bluntly honest response that they would be unable to serve the Lord, because He is a Holy God served as a warning (you want to, but you will fail, be on guard), and a reminder that our God is Holy, and how much bigger that is than we could even comprehend. He then stated the facts: If you, (worship a foreign god), Then, (there will be consequences). You don’t get God and sin.

    One other thing I noticed: Joshua was buried in Shechem, specifically on land purchased from Hamor. Thank you Patti for reminding us that this is the place they laid down their idols earlier, under the oak tree. Isn’t it also the place where Dinah was raped and her brothers took revenge? And I was reminded once again about the precious and exceedingly beautiful grace of our God who is able to take evil, and turn it too good. As He does daily for us. We remember His HIM and choose to follow, through the redemptive power of our precious Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, the Son of God, we are His. Amazing love.

  41. Kasey Stringer says:

    I agree, Tracy. I found myself recalling all of the moments God has worked in my life. We should constantly remind ourselves and others of how God has been faithful, through the good and tough times. He’s so faithful to teach us through the tough times.

  42. Tracy Mattison Brandon says:

    I love how the people were reminded of what God did for them- how He protected, sustained and loved them. It is good for us to testify, remember, share with our kids and grandkids how God delivered, healed, provided, protected and loved us, lest we forget, fall away and fail to serve the Lord.

  43. Heidi says:

    I’m beyond grateful that my God, through Christ, allows me to recommit to Him over and over and over. That HE is the one who has proclaimed over me- “Sweet Girl, NOTHING & NO ONE can ever remove you from My hands… not even YOU.” He’s stuck with me- for better or worse. He chooses me every single day and I pray right now, dearest God, continue to shape my heart to choose You right back, in every moment and circumstance I face. Your perfect plans go before me, Your goodness and mercy follow me. Keep me centered in that space to enjoy your fellowship and peace and joy every step of this journey. ☀️

    1. Melody Bates says:

      Beautiful prayer!

  44. Erin Hudgins says:

    But Jesus, because of Jesus, I am accepted even though my human self gets in the way on a daily basis.

  45. Tina says:

    Patti Saul this is beautiful and so good. The analogy perfect!

    I still wait to say vows the first time, let alone a second recommitting to a life partner, lover,friend. I so look forward to it. I maybe over 100years old by then…

    But God..


    I would love to say, I renew my vows/promises to God daily, but alas I would be lying! I do however try, by His grace, to be the best, my human self can be.. I do kick myself for something each day..

    But God..

    Dear faithful, forgiving, “never will I forsake you” God, picks me up, dusts me down, and gives me a new day, a new canvas, a new beginning each day, to start again.


    I just remembered my baptism, that sealed it for me.. My, to have and to hold, my promise giving to God.. My, I BELIEVE in you. My, I put my FAITH in you. My HOPE is in you. My LIFE, I place in your hands, my life I give to you..

    Renewing those promises and words this morning, with you dear sisters, as my witnesses..

    I do.

    I believe.

    I trust.

    I hope.

    I am.

    Absolutely, what God has joined together, nothing and no one can come between or separate..

    I love you Lord God..

    Thank you.
    Thank you.
    Thank you for this new day to Renew. Rejoice.


    Blessed Friday dear hearts.. wrapped in love and BIG hugs.❤

  46. Dana says:

    You are a good, good Father. Thank You for everything.