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Joshua 24




 SCRIPTURE: Joshua 24

We have finally made it to the last chapter of this incredible book.  I have enjoyed this journey.  I hope you have as well.

As we come to the end of this book we are actually coming to the end of Joshua’s life on this earth.  In his final effort, he called the people of Israel together one last time.  He had two purposes for this.  One, to rehearse what God had done.  Two, to prepare for the days ahead.

Beginning in verse 2, the Lord spoke through Joshua a quick history of the nation of Israel.  This history actually began with the father of Abraham and ended with the Hebrew people living in the Promised Land. 

As God recaps this story, He uses the personal pronoun “I” almost 20 times.  If that were one of us doing that, it would be seen as ego or pride or something worse.  But because it is God, this is seen as a way of reminding the Israelites of His undeniable role in their history.  Joshua takes no credit for any of this.  And the people of Israel got no credit for any of this.  This was the work of God in their midst on their behalf.

It is important even today that we be reminded of the past.  But we can’t live in the past.  History provides great lessons for all of us that we must learn and use to keep from repeating mistakes.  But we can’t live in the past.  We have to use the past as a ladder to help us climb into the future.

And that’s what happens in verse 14.  Joshua challenges the people about how they were to live in the days ahead.  This is the point that we discover one of the great challenges of Scripture.  Joshua basically tells them to choose who they are going to serve but (at the end of verse 15), he and his house were going to serve the Lord.

In verse 16, the people made a quick commitment to serving the Lord.  In verse 19, Joshua makes a staggering statement.  He tells the people they are not able to serve the Lord.  He goes on to say that the Lord will not forgive them.  So, what is this about?

Joshua knew his people well.  He knew it was easy for them to make a quick verbal commitment to the Lord but he also know it would be very difficult for them to follow through.  So, he is basically saying that their words by themselves were not sufficient.  And that if they remained in idolatry, God would not forgive them while they were intentionally serving idols.

The people made another verbal commitment.  Then Joshua told them to do away with their idols.  The confession of our mouths must be followed by a change in our lives or it may very well be a false confession.

The chapter ends with three burials.  Obviously these burials marked the end of an era but the chapter ends with a sense of anticipation of what is to come.  If you are familiar with the Book of Judges, you know the next phase of Israel’s history is not real good.  But it is obvious that God has not abandoned His people.  That, by the way, is true today.  God has not abandoned His people.

Posted by Joe Ligon with

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

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