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Joshua 23




 SCRIPTURE: Joshua 23

Most commentators believe that 10-20 years had passed from the end of chapter 22 to the beginning of this chapter.  The nation of Israel had experienced a lengthy time of peace in their new land.  And Joshua was now an old man.

In verse 2, Joshua called the people together.  Most believe that this would have happened at Shiloh where the Tabernacle had been set up.  The nation gathered to hear from their great chief.

It is important to notice that throughout this chapter, Joshua takes no credit for what had happened.  He knew the reason they were able to take the Promised Land and live there was because of what the Lord had done for them.  It takes a humble man to not take any credit for what had happened especially when what had happened was such a huge deal.

Joshua’s message in this chapter is basically two points.  Be courageous in the days ahead.  Be obedient in the days ahead.  It takes courage to fight battles.  But it also takes courage to live in peace.  When there is peace it is easy to back off and make compromises.  After great battles, not fighting little battles seems very attractive.  So, Joshua challenged them to be courageous.

The second thing he told them was be obedient.  This obedience was to be to the Law of Moses.  And that obedience would result in faithfulness to the Lord.  Joshua warned them about intermingling with the Canaanite people or getting involved with their false gods.  When our obedience to God’s Word wavers it is very easy to get sucked into the lifestyle of the culture around us.

Three different times in this chapter, Joshua repeats these basic two points.  As he does that, he tells the people that their courage and obedience will lead to continued blessing from God.  He also warns them that cowardice and disobedience would lead to a removal of the blessing and to living under a curse.

We should remember this as well.  There is much that God does for us that flows from His grace.  In other words, there is much that He does for us that is unmerited on our part.  We didn’t do anything to earn it and we can’t do anything to keep it.  But there is also much of what He wants to do for us that is dependent upon our obedience. 

Think about it this way.  If we live according to the way God said we are supposed to live, we should rightfully expect God to bless us.  If we living in opposition to the way God said we are supposed to live, we should rightfully expect God not to bless us.  In fact, we should even anticipate not good things happening.

God is good.  One of the proofs of His goodness is He tells us the way things should be and warns us of the way things shouldn’t be.  If He didn’t do that He would be capricious at best and we would be scrambling around trying to figure out what to do next.  But instead He is clear and direct about how we are to live.  The decision then is will we obey or not.

Posted by Joe Ligon with

Joshua 22




SCRIPTURE: Joshua 22

As the book of Joshua begins to wind down, we encounter the story of the two and one-half tribes that had asked Moses for permission to live on the wilderness side of the Jordan and not move into Canaan with the rest of the nation.  Moses had granted them permission to do that but with the stipulation that armies from those two and one-half tribes would cross the Jordan and help the rest of the nation defeat the Canaanites.

As they were getting ready to head back to their families that they had not seen in at least seven years, Joshua gives them a charge on how to live when they got back home.  They were to obey the Law of God given through Moses.  They were to love God, walk in His ways, cling to Him, and serve Him.  Although their military responsibilities had been taken care of, they still had some spiritual things to continue to take care of.

They were given substantial spoils of war.  Joshua told them to share that with those who did come over to fight.  On one hand, it might seem unfair that those who stayed home and didn’t join the fight should get anything from the battles that were won.  On the other hand, the fact that they were to get a portion of the spoils was one way of recognizing their contributions on the home front.

When the armies of the two and one-half tribes got to the Jordan River, they decided to build a huge altar.  By their own admission they did not intend on sacrificing there.  It was to be a reminder to them and the following generations.  However, when the tribes that had taken up residence in Canaan heard about this, they assumed the worst and decided to go to war against their fellow Israelites.

Thankfully, the priest took some men to find out what was going on before the fight started.  That’s when they heard that the intention was not to make a place of sacrifice but a memorial or future generations to see and remember.

So, why was this such a big deal?  One reason is there was one thing that bound all of Israel together and that was their worship of Yahweh.  And that worship was to take place where the Tabernacle was.  Anything else would be false worship and would separate the tribes of Israel.  That brings us to some lessons we can learn from this episode:

One, it is commendable for believers to be zealous for the purity of the faith.  Compromise in this arena never works out.  Never.  Two, it is wrong to judge people’s motives.  We should always get the facts and give others the opportunity to explain their motivation.  Three, it is good to have honest, open conversation to resolve differences and bring about reconciliation.  Four, when wrongly accused it is good to remember Proverbs 15:11 – “A gentle answer turns away wrath but a harsh word stirs up anger.”

Posted by Joe Ligon with

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