TUESDAY, FEBRUARY 27
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.