By: Duncan Robinson
There is a moment right at the end of Joshua when he calls the team together. He details the history of everything that has gone on until this point. He highlights the leading and work of God and then before Israel says, “But as for me and my household, we will serve the Lord.” (Joshua 24:15b)
It’s a powerful moment because the nation stands on the verge of something profoundly great. Joshua also realises the significance of this moment and before the crew, he affirms who he is backing – Yahweh the God who has been with them from the beginning.
The Peregrine Falcon
Peregrine Falcons are incredible birds that can reach speeds of up to 250 km/h. They are agile raptors and you can use them to hunt pigeons, ducks, pheasant and various other birds. Juveniles though can have real issues hunting. The problem is many young Peregrine Falcons see the prey and fly directly towards it.
In a horizontal line, a Peregrine isn’t very quick. Sure they have a chance of catching an unsuspecting bird, but most birds stand a good chance of getting away. Horizontally, a Peregrine Falcon has little chance of catching a bird.
A good Falconer will teach the bird to circle up. Essentially ignore all the other birds, find a hot air current and rise high up into the sky. A good hunting Peregrine when it is released will fly in search of a warm column of air and rise up, almost out of sight into the sky.
Once in the air a Peregrine Falcon can now hunt vertical. It can use its strengths which are incredible eyesight and the ability to fall out of the sky at epic speeds. Once a prey bird is spotted or flushed out of the scrub, it will tuck its wings and fall like a comet towards the prey.
The importance of learning the ability to ignore distraction and circle up is essential for a Peregrine Falcon, without it they will hunt incorrectly and most likely starve.
Joshua has a similar moment with Israel. The hard work is done, we are moving into a time of relative peace and blessing. Distractions will come, so let’s circle up before the Lord, ignore the distractions and make Him the priority. I love this moment because it reminds me of the need to fight the distractions and circle up. To find some perspective and peace so I can locate and focus on what is really important.
“Now fear the Lord and serve him with all faithfulness. Throw away the gods your ancestors worshiped beyond the Euphrates River and in Egypt, and serve the Lord. But if serving the Lord seems undesirable to you, then choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve, whether the gods your ancestors served beyond the Euphrates, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land you are living. But as for me and my household, we will serve the Lord.”
Then the people answered, “Far be it from us to forsake the Lord to serve other gods! It was the Lord our God himself who brought us and our parents up out of Egypt, from that land of slavery, and performed those great signs before our eyes. He protected us on our entire journey and among all the nations through which we traveled. And the Lord drove out before us all the nations, including the Amorites, who lived in the land. We too will serve the Lord, because he is our God.”
Joshua said to the people, “You are not able to serve the Lord. He is a holy God; he is a jealous God. He will not forgive your rebellion and your sins. If you forsake the Lord and serve foreign gods, he will turn and bring disaster on you and make an end of you, after he has been good to you.”
But the people said to Joshua, “No! We will serve the Lord.”
Then Joshua said, “You are witnesses against yourselves that you have chosen to serve the Lord.”
“Yes, we are witnesses,” they replied.
“Now then,” said Joshua, “throw away the foreign gods that are among you and yield your hearts to the Lord, the God of Israel.”
And the people said to Joshua, “We will serve the Lord our God and obey him.”
– Joshua 24:14-21
Article supplied with thanks to Duncan Robinson.