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 24:16-24
Adolph Harstad writes:
The assembly in Joshua 24:21 seems to cut off Joshua’s speech, unable to hold back shouting again their commitment to the LORD: “No! Certainly the LORD we shall serve!” They stick to their resolve first voiced in 24:18. They repeat it again in 24;24. Their emphatic no! says it all in one word. They will not forsake the LORD to serve foreign gods!
Joshua then accepts their commitment and says, “Witnesses are you against yourselves that you chose for yourselves the LORD, to serve Him.” The words “you chose for yourselves the LORD” show that while the choice Joshua had offered them in 24:14-15 was between two sets of idols, the broader option actually was between the LORD and idols. However, the choice here is not made by unbelievers who, by their own free will or power of reason, are electing the LORD to be their salvation. The choice is made by believers who, like Joshua himself, already are filled by the Holy Spirit and are determined not to abandon what God has already given them as a gift, namely, covenant faith in their Savior-God. While the Holy Spirit was poured out abundantly on all believers beginning at Pentecost, the OT affirms that various believers were filled with the Spirit, including Joshua, Caleb, Bezalel, Moses, and Israel’s elders.
By affirming their faith and pledging their future faithfulness in Joshua 24:21-22, the Israelites thereby show that the grace of God and His Holy Spirit are at work in them. Even so, God works in all believers to lead them to make such God-pleasing choices. … God Himself is always the author of the justified believer’s willing attitude and the works of sanctification that follow (Phil 2:13).
MEMORY WORK – Shorter Catechism Q/A 67
Q. 67. Which is the sixth commandment?
A. The sixth commandment is, Thou shalt not kill.