The People's Choice By Theodore Epp
The people were decided and definite in their reaction to Joshua's admonition. They responded with a definite decision to follow the Lord.
Warning the people that they were making no light decision, Joshua said to them, "Ye cannot serve the Lord: for he is an holy God; he is a jealous God; he will not forgive your transgressions nor your sins" (Josh. 24:19).
They needed this reminder. God is holy and cannot coexist with sin. He is a jealous God and will not take a secondary place. We cannot serve God and live in sin.
The Israelites assured Joshua that they would obey the Lord, for they said (vv. 21,22), "Nay; but we will serve the Lord. And Joshua said unto the people, Ye are witnesses against yourselves that ye have chosen you the Lord, to serve him. And they said, We are witnesses."
There was even a covenant made, and Joshua took a great stone and placed it under an oak as a witness of the people's intention to serve God.
The generation that made the promise was true to its word. We learn in verse 31: "And Israel served the Lord all the days of Joshua, and all the days of the elders that overlived Joshua, and which had known all the works of the Lord, that he had done for Israel."
This was a good beginning, and what a different history we would have had if each succeeding generation of Israelites had reached the same decision and stayed with it.
"For the gate is small, and the way is narrow that leads to life, and there few that find it" (Matt. 7:14, NASB).