We are studying select verses of Joshua 24 for Sunday, December 9, along with everyone else who is using the Uniform Series texts; specifically, we’re studying verses 1-3, 13-15, and 21-24. Here are a couple of questions we might want to consider in class as we study this text:
What does it mean to “serve other gods” (v2)? Or, “foreign gods” (23)? Who or what do we think of when we think of “other” or “foreign” gods? Where do these ideas of “other gods” come from? [More personal:] Are “other gods” ever a problem today? Why, or why not? What do we mean by “other gods” in this context? Do they seem to be a problem more for other people, or for us, personally? Why? What do we do about this? Why?
What does it mean to “serve”? What are a couple of concrete examples of “service.” [e.g., I think of waiting tables, or answering a computer IT line …] So, what does it mean to us to “serve God”? Again, can we think of a couple of concrete examples of “serving God”? What makes those examples of serving God, do we think? How are those related to other kinds of service?
[I don’t know about other people, but the challenge here for me is to get really concrete and specific. I like to keep this whole discussion as abstract and remote as possible: “being kind to people,” “being loving.” This is not nearly as concrete as, say, “washing the caked-on lasagna dishes without making a snarky comment about rinsing” or “taking your car to get its oil changed even though I would rather have stayed home and read a book.”]
In v24, the “people” say they will listen to God’s voice. What do we think they mean? What do we think it means today to “listen to God’s voice”? Why? When/if we listen to God’s voice, what do we hear? What makes listening to God’s voice clearer, or less clear? What makes listening to God’s voice easier, or more difficult? Why is that, do we think?
In v24, the NRSV translates “to his voice we will listen” as “him we will obey.” Does this feel like the same thing to us, or like two different things? Why is that, do we think? If they are different, how are they different? Do we have a preference? Why is that, do we think?