Day 26

Israel Renews Their Covenant Commitment

from the Joshua reading plan

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

BY Patti Sauls

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.

Post Comments (48)

48 thoughts on "Israel Renews Their Covenant Commitment"

  1. 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.

  2. Esthera Cotoarba says:

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

  3. Bonnie Cochran says:


  4. 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.

  5. Melody Bates says:


  6. 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.

  7. Jennifer Ficklen says:


  8. 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.

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