I love the Word of God; it’s about people, real people!
The children of Israel were just like us! They were people with every day issues and faults that are familiar to us.
Every time the people were confronted with their sin, they repented and promised to serve the one true God with all of their heart. Then, just like we do sometimes, they went right back to ‘life as usual’.
God knew this and kept reminding them of the rewards and victories that accompany acknowledgement of who He is. At the same time, He told them there would be hard consequences if they turned away. (Deuteronomy and I & II Kings)
God repeatedly cautioned the Israelites of the outcome if they chose to turn away from Him. God even had Moses write a song and sing it for the people as a lasting reminder to them that He knew what they would do and that their actions would have consequences. (Deuteronomy 31:14–Deuteronomy 32)
As a reminder to the people of God’s mercy, Joshua set a stone before the people. The stone would be a reminder, a “witness” of their own decision to NOT serve God. A reminder of how patient their God was.
It was not a declaration of punishment but a reminder of what would happen when they turned away—again. It was a symbol of covenant and a reminder of God’s mercy to forgive them. (Joshua 24:25-27)
Jesus, God’s son, died to set us free from the bondage of repeated sin. The Word says when we turn away, we nail the Son of God to the cross, again. (Hebrews 6:4-6) The only difference between us and the Israelites is that it isn’t a stone that is witness to our rebellion today; it’s a cross.
Joshua 24:24 And the people said to Joshua, “We will serve the LORD our God and obey him.”