In Joshua’s farewell speech to the Israelites, he took the people through their story with God. Since Abraham, God had been with the people and protected them. They were His people, and He was their God. Joshua warned them that God is a jealous God and would not tolerate their flirtations and worship of other gods; that if they continued to do so, God would remove His protection and take their land and their prosperity. Three times the people promised to serve God, and they did for a long time.
While they kept their word, God kept His. When they broke their word, they were exiled from their land. This exile continued, and the Jews had no homeland until the founding of the State of Israel in 1948. However, they still do not know peace.
On this weekend that we celebrate our declaration of independence from England, we need to think about how we are like the Israelites. Have we, like the people of the church at Ephesus, left our first love? If so, it is time to turn back to God and recommit ourselves to serving Him.