Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Joshua 23

Joshua's first sermon (vs. 1-16)--The "long time" of verse 1 was about 13 or 14 years after the initial entrance into the land of Canaan. Joshua was near death now, and had lived a righteous, dedicated life to the Lord. The last two chapters of his book record two "sermons" he preached to the people. He mentions in verses 3-5 what the Lord’s involvement in their lives—He had driven the nations of Canaan out of the land, given Israel their inheritance, and would continue to expel the natives peoples and fulfill His promises to His chidren. Keep in mind that there were still pockets of resistance in the land; that the conquest was piecemeal, not all at one time. Since the Lord had done--and will do--so much for Israel, they had responsibilities towards Him. Be "very courageous to keep and to do all that is written in the Book of the Law of Moses" (v. 6). Against it's very interesting to note, as I did in chapter one, that it takes great courage to be obedient to God's will. Joshua them urges them not to even mention the foreign gods of the land, much lest serve them (v. 7). Hold fast to the Lord; by doing so "no one has been able to stand against you to this day" (v. 9). Their victories would be solid and sure, "for the Lord your God is He who fights for you, as He promised you" (v 10).

However, if they do not take "careful heed" and "love the Lord your God" (v. 11), if they "cling to the remnant of these nations" and intermarry with them (v. 12), then "know for certain" that the Lord will not longer help them drive out the people. Indeed, those native peoples would cause great distress among the children of Israel. All that the Lord will do for them in the future is contingent upon their continued obedience to His will. It is no different with us today.

Joshua then closes this speech with a blessing and a cursing (vs. 14-16). Everything that the Lord had promised them so far had come to pass (v. 15). But just as those good things had happened to them (v. 15), they can rest assured that, "when you have transgressed the covenant," "the anger of the Lord will burn against you, and you shall perish quickly from the good land which He has given you" (v. 16). A clear a warning as could possibly be given.

No comments:

Post a Comment