Encourage * Scripture * Prayer * Next Steps
Week 9 Scripture: Joshua 23
As his life was coming to an end, Joshua’s heart was burdened for the future of the children of Israel: God’s unfailing faithfulness and their responsibility to be faithful to Him. Perhaps he could see into the future. Joshua had led Israel diligently according to God’s instructions and they still had enemies to defeat. He did not want Israel to forget all that God had done for them—that it was Yahweh Himself who fought for them (Read 2 Chronicles 20:15 and Psalm 44:3). Joshua challenged the people to be faithful to the one true living God. Joshua had the right to challenge them, not only as their leader, but because he himself had been faithful to God. Joshua’s command to them was to remain true to God. Joshua had been the example to Israel, as Moses had been to him.
Joshua wanted to hear a solid commitment from the people that they would not compromise by following or mixing with other religions. He did not want them to lose any physical or spiritual ground. He spoke to them about God’s faithfulness in their journey. Joshua 23:14 “…and you know in your hearts and souls that not one thing has failed of all the good things which the Lord your God spoke concerning you. All have come to pass for you. Not one word of them has failed.”
Some of God’s promises are conditional. “If you…., then I will….” Joshua reminded the people that God himself was the one who fought for them and for their inheritance, and would continue to fight for them if they were faithful to love God and follow His ways. “One man of you puts to flight a thousand, since it is the Lord your God who fights for you. Be very careful therefore to love the Lord your God (Joshua 23:10-11).”
Remain True to God
How do we remain true to God and stay on His path and receive our promised inheritance? Love Him and obey His words. Simply by living His Word and following His commands we continue to grow spiritually, not straying from his instructions or the truth. God’s laws are walls of protection for us from the enemy. Joshua warned the people about the danger of embracing other gods. With spiritual strength and obedience they could resist and withstand the enticement and seduction. If we make a personal choice to deviate from God’s path and walk back into bondage, it is harder to get back on the right path. Read 2 Peter 2:20-22.
Look at your own Heart
What is the condition of your heart? Have you allowed testing, circumstances, disappointments, or certain attitudes to harden your heart and cause you to stray from His path (read Psalm 95:7-11)? We need correction in our life, whether it comes through the word, a sermon, a worship song, a spouse, a friend, God’s voice, so we don’t run off course. God’s word is the compass that keeps us on the right path. We know that correction is for our own good, even though it might hurt. We frequently see God’s correction in the Bible. His motive is love. Remember his goodness and his good deeds. For example: Celebrating the Lord’s Supper each week is our way to remember Christ’s sacrifice and love for us. Scripture reminds us of how to live our life. The word ‘remember’ is used 234 times in the Bible. Don’t forget!
May we follow the advice of Joshua to be very careful to love the Lord our God. Let us not accommodate our enemy, but drive him out completely from the territory that God has given us.
Joshua Week 9 Discussion Questions:
- What were the potential results if Israel yielded to the temptation to cleave to and intermarry with the people of Canaan? (See Joshua 23:15-16)
- What are some of the “other gods” we might be tempted to serve in our nation? And how can we tell if we are “serving” those gods? What does it mean to serve two masters (Matthew 6:24)?
- How do we pass on God’s praiseworthy deeds to the next generation?
- How do you respond to God’s correction, whether it comes from the Bible, a friend, or a family member?
- On your own time, read Judges chapters 1 and 2.