Joshua 23:1

 

The Bible says in Joshua 23:1-6, “And it came to pass a long time after that the LORD had given rest unto Israel from all their enemies round about, that Joshua waxed old and stricken in age.[2] And Joshua called for all Israel, and for their elders, and for their heads, and for their judges, and for their officers, and said unto them, I am old and stricken in age:[3] And ye have seen all that the LORD your God hath done unto all these nations because of you; for the LORD your God is he that hath fought for you.[4] Behold, I have divided unto you by lot these nations that remain, to be an inheritance for your tribes, from Jordan, with all the nations that I have cut off, even unto the great sea westward.[5] And the LORD your God, he shall expel them from before you, and drive them from out of your sight; and ye shall possess their land, as the LORD your God hath promised unto you.[6] Be ye therefore very courageous to keep and to do all that is written in the book of the law of Moses, that ye turn not aside therefrom to the right hand or to the left;” Like all of us, if the rapture does not happen soon, we will grow old and die. Joshua had become old, and so he wanted his ministry that the Lord had given to him to continue on; and Joshua mace preparations to that end. The spiritual battles that you have been fighting will not end. Someone else will have to carry on the work after you are gone. Are you getting things prepared so that will happen? It will be a terrible loss if your work dies when you die. Joshua said inverse four, “Behold, I have divided unto you by lot these nations that remain, to be an inheritance for your tribes.” Joshua had things all ready for them. He set them up for success.

 

And then Joshua encouraged them and made sure that they had no undo pressure. He made sure that they knew that God was going to fight the battles for them. He said in verse five, “And the LORD your God, he shall expel them from before you, and drive them from out of your sight.” It is good to be reminded that God is in charge of all things and that He is all powerful. To see people converted to Christ and to see them grow and become strong Christians is an impossible task in face of the world, the flesh, and the devil. But it is not impossible for God. But just because God is going to give the victory does not mean that we have no responsibilities in it all. Joshua said in verse six. “Be ye therefore very courageous to keep and to do all that is written in the book of the law of Moses, that ye turn not aside therefrom to the right hand or to the left.” They were told first of all to be “very courageous.” That will happen if you put your faith in the Lord. If you do that consistently even for small things, you will learn as the Apostle Paul said, “I can do all things through Christ who strengtheneth me

 

The last part of verse six has implications both for the New Testament age in which we live and for the age of the Old Testament. The children of Israel were told “to keep and to do all that is written in the book of the law of Moses.” That should be our goal to read, the Word of God, to hear the Word of God at church, and to obey the Word of God. The problem for the Israelites is that no one can keep “all that is written in the book of the law of Moses.” The benefit that believer in Jesus have is that He kept the law for us, and because we believe in Him, the righteousness of Christ is credited to our account.  

 

The Bible says in Joshua 23:7-11, “That ye come not among these nations, these that remain among you; neither make mention of the name of their gods, nor cause to swear by them, neither serve them, nor bow yourselves unto them:[8] But cleave unto the LORD your God, as ye have done unto this day.[9] For the LORD hath driven out from before you great nations and strong: but as for you, no man hath been able to stand before you unto this day.[10] One man of you shall chase a thousand: for the LORD your God, he it is that fighteth for you, as he hath promised you.[11] Take good heed therefore unto yourselves, that ye love the LORD your God.” It is interesting in verse seven that the Lord told the Israelites to not even mention the names of the false gods of the heathen unbelieving people around them. That is because we are supposed to have good thoughts about all the positive truths about the Lord. Instead of talking about the bad things in the world, talk about the good things. There are a lot of good things everywhere because God is good, and God is everywhere.

 

In verse eight the children of Israel are told to “cleave unto the LORD your God.” Draw nigh to God and He will draw nigh to you. Desire greatly to walk in fellowship with Jesus. That is what will make the difference. If you do not want to walk with Jesus, then you will not seek Him, and therefore you will not cleave to Him and you will not serve Him. What do you want? You will get what you want. Jesus said, “Seek and ye shall find.” If you do not seek, then you will not find.

 

In Joshua 23:9 the children of Israel are reminded of what God had already done for them. They had won many victories up to this point with the help of the leadership of Moses and Joshua. And now Joshua is about to die soon. There will be new battles to face because that is the way that life is. After you have had some experience in the Christian life and have seen what the Lord can do to protect and to provide, you will be even better equipped to face new challenges as long as you keep remembering what God has already done for you. It says, “For the LORD hath driven out from before you great nations and strong…” The gave them the victories that they already had, and so they already know that He will do the same types of things for them in the future. To be a good Christian, you must have a good memory. God does not change. The good things that He has done for you in the past, He will repeat and do them again.

 

Joshua 23:10 is such a great verse. It says, “One man of you shall chase a thousand: for the LORD your God, he it is that fighteth for you, as he hath promised you.” The amount of winning that God can give to one believer is staggering. We certainly need this kind of victory because the unbelievers are many. They have a lot of power and they will use their power. But they have no power compared to God. One of the reasons that we do not need to take vengeance on our enemies is because of the truth of this Bible verse. God will fight for us. That is one of the many benefits of being a Christian. If you really believe this, then it should affect your attitude when enemies come against you. By the way, God “hath promised you.” God always keeps His promises.

 

Why does God make such promises to His children? Look at verse eleven: “Take good heed therefore unto yourselves, that ye love the LORD your God.” God simply wants us to love Him. One of the reasons that the Lord does so many things for us is to prove how much He loves us. The greatest thing that He did was to die on the cross for us. We should be able to love Him for that reasons alone.

 

The Bible says in Joshua 23:12-16, “Else if ye do in any wise go back, and cleave unto the remnant of these nations, even these that remain among you, and shall make marriages with them, and go in unto them, and they to you:[13] Know for a certainty that the LORD your God will no more drive out any of these nations from before you; but they shall be snares and traps unto you, and scourges in your sides, and thorns in your eyes, until ye perish from off this good land which the LORD your God hath given you.[14] And, behold, this day I am going the way of all the earth: and ye know in all your hearts and in all your souls, that not one thing hath failed of all the good things which the LORD your God spake concerning you; all are come to pass unto you, and not one thing hath failed thereof.[15] Therefore it shall come to pass, that as all good things are come upon you, which the LORD your God promised you; so shall the LORD bring upon you all evil things, until he have destroyed you from off this good land which the LORD your God hath given you.[16] When ye have transgressed the covenant of the LORD your God, which he commanded you, and have gone and served other gods, and bowed yourselves to them; then shall the anger of the LORD be kindled against you, and ye shall perish quickly from off the good land which he hath given unto you.” The purpose of these verses is to remind the children of Israel what things will lead to their downfall. The first thing mentioned is becoming intermixed with unbelievers. They were told to drive out the unbelievers. If they did not do that, the unbelievers would influence them in the wrong way to go away from God. If they got too involved with unbelievers, something else would start happening: believers would marry unbelievers. This will lead to spiritual disasters. Christians are told the same thing in Second Corinthians 6:14-15, “Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? and what communion hath light with darkness?[15] And what concord hath Christ with Belial? or what part hath he that believeth with an infidel?” If you are a Christian who wants to serve the Lord Jesus with everything in your life, then make sure that you look for a soulmate who also is a Christian and who also wants to serve the Lord Jesus with everything in their life. Pray about it often. Keep this Biblical standard.  

 

In verse fourteen Joshua tells the Israelites to remember what God has done for them: “ye know in all your hearts and in all your souls, that not one thing hath failed of all the good things which the LORD your God spake concerning you; all are come to pass unto you, and not one thing hath failed thereof.” God does not change. Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, and today, and forever. Remember what God has done for you in the past, and make sure that you stay on the same path going forward. If you get off that narrow path of following Christ, obviously you will not have the same results.

 

In verse fifteen the warning is very clear that if they stop following the Lord, “so shall the LORD bring upon you all evil things, until he have destroyed you from off this good land which the LORD your God hath given you.” Notice that God says that He shall bring upon you “all evil things.” Because God is all powerful, He controls all things, even the evil things. God can hold them back or He can let them loose; and He can let them loose upon you. The same is true about the whole world. The reason that the antichrist cannot take power now is because God is holding him back. That is why it says in Second Thessalonians 2:6-11, “And now ye know what withholdeth that he might be revealed in his time.[7] For the mystery of iniquity doth already work: only he who now letteth will let, until he be taken out of the way.[8] And then shall that Wicked be revealed, whom the Lord shall consume with the spirit of his mouth, and shall destroy with the brightness of his coming:[9] Even him, whose coming is after the working of Satan with all power and signs and lying wonders,[10] And with all deceivableness of unrighteousness in them that perish; because they received not the love of the truth, that they might be saved.[11] And for this cause God shall send them strong delusion, that they should believe a lie:” The word “letteth” means to “hold fast” or to “restrain.” The Holy Spirit is keeping the power of evil from taking hold ion the person of the antichrist. Once the Holy Spirit is taken out of the way, probably at the rapture, then the restraint on the antichrist will be removed.  

 

According to Joshua 23:16, the problem will come, “When ye have transgressed the covenant of the LORD your God.” For the Israelites that was the Old Testament covenant which is made of many commandments and especially the Ten Commandments. One of those commandments is referred to in the last part of verse sixteen. That commandments is found in Exodus 20:3, “Thou shalt have no other gods before me.” This is the first of the ten. It is probably first for a reason. In effect God is saying, “I want you to love me and have no other lovers.” The problem with the Old Testament covenant is that it required faithfulness on the part of the Israelites. But people are not faithful. We are all extremely sinful. What hope do we have then? We have the New Testament covenant that is based upon what Jesus did on the cross, and not based upon what we do for the Lord. It says in Ephesians 2:8-9, “For by grace are ye saved through faith, and that not of your selves. It is the gift of God. Not of works, lest any man should boast

 

 

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Copyright; 2019 by Charles F. (Rick) Creech
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