Ellen G. White Writings

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Patriarchs and Prophets, Page 524

called forth the unhesitating response, “God forbid that we should forsake Jehovah, to serve other gods.”

“Ye cannot serve the Lord,” said Joshua: “for He is a holy God; ... He will not forgive your transgressions nor your sins.” Before there could be any permanent reformation the people must be led to feel their utter inability in themselves to render obedience to God. They had broken His law, it condemned them as transgressors, and it provided no way of escape. While they trusted in their own strength and righteousness, it was impossible for them to secure the pardon of their sins; they could not meet the claims of God's perfect law, and it was in vain that they pledged themselves to serve God. It was only by faith in Christ that they could secure pardon of sin and receive strength to obey God's law. They must cease to rely upon their own efforts for salvation, they must trust wholly in the merits of the promised Saviour, if they would be accepted of God.

Joshua endeavored to lead his hearers to weigh well their words, and refrain from vows which they would be unprepared to fulfill. With deep earnestness they repeated the declaration: “Nay; but we will serve the Lord.” Solemnly consenting to the witness against themselves that they had chosen Jehovah, they once more reiterated their pledge of loyalty: “The Lord our God will we serve, and His voice will we obey.

“So Joshua made a covenant with the people that day, and set them a statute and an ordinance in Shechem.” Having written an account of this solemn transaction, he placed it, with the book of the law, in the side of the ark. And he set up a pillar as a memorial, saying, “Behold, this stone shall be a witness unto us; for it hath heard all the words of the Lord which He spake unto us; it shall be therefore a witness unto you, lest ye deny your God. So Joshua let the people depart, every man unto his inheritance.”

Joshua's work for Israel was done. He had “wholly followed the Lord;” and in the book of God he is written, “The servant of Jehovah.” The noblest testimony to his character as a public leader is the history of the generation that had enjoyed his labors: “Israel served the Lord all the days of Joshua, and all the days of the elders that overlived Joshua.”

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