Belfast Telegraph

Thought for the weekend

Rev Gareth Burke, Stranmillis Evangelical Presbyterian Church, Belfast

Like me, I'm pretty sure that you will be utterly fed up with all the media coverage and discussion of Brexit. Every day without fail we have to listen to so much talk about Brexit that, regardless of your political convictions, you're probably beginning to go crazy with it all. Someone told me that a news channel has been developed in which Brexit is not to be mentioned - a Brexit-free zone.

I've lost track of the number of times I've heard it said that today is a "historic", "memorable" or "momentous" day.

Amazingly, these days that were meant to be so significant have fizzled out beneath a fog of procedural confusion and lost votes.

Confusion, uncertainty and fear has gripped the nation.

Long ago, when Joshua was leader of the children of Israel, a confused and mixed-up situation existed among God's chosen people.

The context of course was different, but nevertheless there was great uncertainty about how they were going to go forward as a people.

Some within their ranks wanted to continue following the one true God, but others were more syncretistic in their outlook. They wanted to worship God but to also take on board some of the practices of the other religions within the land of Canaan.

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Eventually, Joshua took decisive action and told them to make up their minds.

He wasn't in favour of mixing up the worship of God with worship practices from other religions, so he told them:

"Now therefore fear the Lord and serve him in sincerity and in faithfulness," he said.

"Put away the gods that your fathers served beyond the river and in Egypt, and serve the Lord.

"And if it is evil in your eyes to serve the Lord, choose this day whom you will serve, whether the gods your fathers served in the region beyond the river, or the gods of the Amorites in whose land you dwell. But as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord" (Joshua 24:14-15).

Here was not only clear leadership but leadership by example. He was putting God first, declaring that God alone was to be worshipped and calling on the people to make the same choice as himself.

What about you? Are you following God? Are you totally committed to Him? Is he Lord of your life?

Belfast Telegraph

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