Joshua the Faithful Servant
Sermon: Joshua the Faithful Servant Mar.18, 2007
Joshua 1:6-9 "Be strong & courageous, because you will lead these people to inherit the land I swore to their forefathers to give them. 7 Be strong & very courageous. Be careful to obey all the law my servant Moses gave you; do not turn from it to the right or to the left, that you may be successful wherever you go. 8 Do not let this Book of the Law depart from your mouth; meditate on it day & night, so that you may be careful to do everything written in it. Then you will be prosperous & successful. 9 Have I not commanded you? Be strong & courageous. Do not be terrified; do not be discouraged, for the LORD your God will be with you wherever you go."
Josh 1:18 Whoever rebels against your word and does not obey your words, whatever you may command them, will be put to death. Only be strong and courageous!"
Josh.8:1 Then the LORD said to Joshua, "Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged. Take the whole army with you, and go up and attack Ai. For I have delivered into your hands the king of Ai, his people, his city and his land.
Josh.10:8 The LORD said to Joshua, "Do not be afraid of them; I have given them into your hand. Not one of them will be able to withstand you."
Josh.10:25 Joshua said to them, "Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged. Be strong and courageous. This is what the LORD will do to all the enemies you are going to fight."
Josh.11:6 The LORD said to Joshua, "Do not be afraid of them, because by this time tomorrow I will hand all of them over to Israel, slain. You are to hamstring their horses and burn their chariots."
Dt 1:38 But your assistant, Joshua son of Nun, will enter it. Encourage him, because he will lead Israel to inherit it
Deut.3:28 But commission Joshua, and encourage and strengthen him, for he will lead this people across and will cause them to inherit the land that you will see.”
Deut.31:7 Then Moses summoned Joshua and said to him in the presence of all Israel, “Be strong and courageous, for you must go with this people into the land that the Lord swore to their forefathers to give them, and you must divide it among them as their inheritance.
Deut.31:23 The Lord gave this command to Joshua son of Nun: “Be strong and courageous, for you will bring the Israelites into the land I promised them on oath, and I myself will be with you
APPLICATION: Josh 23:6 (Joshua said) "Be very strong; be careful to obey all that is written in the Book of the Law of Moses, without turning aside to the right or to the left.
Sermón: Josué el Siervo Fiel
Josué 1:6-9 "Sé fuerte y valiente, porque tú darás a este pueblo posesión de la tierra que juré a sus padres que les daría. 7 "Solamente sé fuerte y muy valiente. Cuídate de cumplir toda la ley que Moisés mi siervo te mandó. No te desvíes de ella ni a la derecha ni a la izquierda, para que tengas éxito dondequiera que vayas. 8 "Este Libro de la Ley no se apartará de tu boca, sino que meditarás en él día y noche, para que cuides de hacer todo lo que en él está escrito. Porque entonces harás prosperar tu camino y tendrás éxito. 9 "¿No te lo he ordenado Yo? ¡Sé fuerte y valiente! No temas ni te acobardes, porque el SEÑOR tu Dios estará contigo dondequiera que vayas."
Josué 1:18 "Cualquiera que se rebele contra tu mandato y no obedezca tus palabras en todo lo que le mandes, se le dará muerte. Solamente sé fuerte y valiente."
Josué 8:1 Entonces el SEÑOR dijo a Josué: "No temas ni te acobardes [no tengas miedo nit e desamimes]. Toma contigo a todo el pueblo de guerra y levántate, sube a Hai. Mira, he entregado en tu mano al rey de Hai, su pueblo, su ciudad y su tierra.
Josué 10:8 Y el SEÑOR dijo a Josué: "No les tengas miedo [temor, no tiembles], porque los he entregado en tus manos. Ninguno de ellos te podrá resistir."
Josué 10:25 Entonces Josué les dijo: "No teman ni se acobarden. Sean fuertes y valientes, porque así hará el SEÑOR a todos los enemigos con los que ustedes luchen."
Josué 11:6 Entonces el SEÑOR dijo a Josué: "No temas [no tengas miedo] a causa de ellos, porque mañana a esta hora Yo los entregaré a todos ellos muertos delante de Israel. Desjarretarás sus caballos y les quemarás sus carros."
Dt 1:38 'Josué, hijo de Nun, que está delante de ti, él entrará allá; anímale [infúndele ánimo], porque él hará que Israel la posea.
Dt.3:28 'Pero encarga a Josué, y anímalo y fortalécelo [y dale valor], porque él pasará a la cabeza de este pueblo, y él les dará por heredad la tierra que tú verás.'
Dt.31:7 Entonces Moisés llamó a Josué y le dijo en presencia de todo Israel: "Sé firme y valiente [esfuérzate y animate; ten valor y firmeza], porque tú entrarás con este pueblo en la tierra que el SEÑOR ha jurado a sus padres que les daría, y se la darás en heredad.
Dt.31:23 Entonces el SEÑOR nombró a Josué, hijo de Nun, y le dijo: "Sé fuerte y valiente [esfuérzate y animate; ten valor y firmeza], pues tú llevarás a los Israelitas a la tierra que les he jurado, y Yo estaré contigo."
APLICACION: Josué 23:6 "Esfuércense, pues, en guardar y en hacer todo lo que está escrito en el Libro de la Ley de Moisés, para que no se aparten de ella ni a la derecha ni a la izquierda, [leen capítulos 23 y 24)
1:6-9 "Be strong & courageous, because you will lead these people to inherit the land I swore to their forefathers to give them. 7 Be strong & very courageous. Be careful to obey all the law my servant Moses gave you; do not turn from it to the right or to the left, that you may be successful wherever you go. 8 Do not let this Book of the Law depart from your mouth; meditate on it day & night, so that you may be careful to do everything written in it. Then you will be prosperous & successful. 9 Have I not commanded you? Be strong & courageous. Do not be terrified; do not be discouraged, for the LORD your God will be with you wherever you go." NBLH "Sé fuerte y valiente, porque tú darás a este pueblo posesión de la tierra que juré a sus padres que les daría. 7 "Solamente sé fuerte y muy valiente. Cuídate de cumplir toda la ley que Moisés mi siervo te mandó. No te desvíes de ella ni a la derecha ni a la izquierda, para que tengas éxito dondequiera que vayas. 8 "Este Libro de la Ley no se apartará de tu boca, sino que meditarás en él día y noche, para que cuides de hacer todo lo que en él está escrito. Porque entonces harás prosperar tu camino y tendrás éxito. 9 "¿No te lo he ordenado Yo? ¡Sé fuerte y valiente! No temas ni te acobardes, porque el SEÑOR tu Dios estará contigo dondequiera que vayas."
1:18 [Rueben, Gadites, ½ Manasseh] Whoever rebels against your word & does not obey your words, whatever you may command them, will be put to death. Only be strong & courageous! NBLH Cualquiera que se rebele contra tu mandato y no obedezca tus palabras en todo lo que le mandes, se le dará muerte. Solamente sé fuerte y valiente
8:1 Then the LORD said to Joshua, "Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged. Take the whole army with you & go up & attack Ai. For I have delivered into your hands the king of Ai, his people, his city & his land. NBLH Entonces el SEÑOR dijo a Josué: No temas ni te acobardes [no tengas miedo ni te desamimes]. Toma contigo a todo el pueblo de guerra y levántate, sube a Hai. Mira, he entregado en tu mano al rey de Hai, su pueblo, su ciudad y su tierra
10:8 The LORD said to Joshua, "Do not be afraid of them; I have given them into your hand. Not one of them will be able to withstand you." (NBLH) Y el SEÑOR dijo a Josué: "No les tengas miedo [temor, no tiembles], porque los he entregado en tus manos. Ninguno de ellos te podrá resistir."
***10:25 Joshua said to them, "Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged. Be strong and courageous. This is what the LORD will do to all the enemies you are going to fight." (NBLH) Entonces Josué les dijo: "No teman ni se acobarden. Sean fuertes y valientes, porque así hará el SEÑOR a todos los enemigos con los que ustedes luchen."
11:6 The LORD said to Joshua, "Do not be afraid of them, because by this time tomorrow I will hand all of them over to Israel, slain…..(NBLH) Entonces el SEÑOR dijo a Josué: "No temas [no tengas miedo] a causa de ellos, porque mañana a esta hora Yo los entregaré a todos ellos muertos delante de Israel. Desjarretarás sus caballos y les quemarás sus carros."
Dt 1:38 But your assistant, Joshua son of Nun, will enter it. Encourage him, because he will lead Israel to inherit it. (NBLH) 'Josué, hijo de Nun, que está delante de ti, él entrará allá; anímale [infúndele ánimo], porque él hará que Israel la posea.
Dt.3:21 At that time I commanded Joshua: "You have seen with your own eyes all that the LORD your God has done to these two kings. The LORD will do the same to all the kingdoms over there where you are going. 22 Do not be afraid of them; the LORD your God himself will fight for you." VP - A Josué le di esta orden: 'Con tus propios ojos has vistotodo lo que el Señor tu Dios ha hecho con esos dos reyes; y lomismo hará con todos los reinos por los que vas a pasar. 22 No les tengas miedo, porque el Señor tu Dios peleará enfavor de ustedes
Dt.3:28 But commission Joshua, and encourage and strengthen him, for he will lead this people across and will cause them to inherit the land that you will see.” (NBLH) 'Pero encarga a Josué, y anímalo y fortalécelo [y dale valor], porque él pasará a la cabeza de este pueblo, y él les dará por heredad la tierra que tú verás.'
Dt.31:7 [see v.6] Then Moses summoned Joshua and said to him in the presence of all Israel, “Be strong and courageous, for you must go with this people into the land that the Lord swore to their forefathers to give them, and you must divide it among them as their inheritance. (NBLH) Entonces Moisés llamó a Josué y le dijo en presencia de todo Israel: "Sé firme y valiente [esfuérzate y animate; ten valor y firmeza], porque tú entrarás con este pueblo en la tierra que el SEÑOR ha jurado a sus padres que les daría, y se la darás en heredad.
Dt.31:23 The Lord gave this command to Joshua son of Nun: “Be strong and courageous, for you will bring the Israelites into the land I promised them on oath, and I myself will be with you.” (NBLH) Entonces el SEÑOR nombró a Josué, hijo de Nun, y le dijo: "Sé fuerte y valiente [esfuérzate y animate; ten valor y firmeza], pues tú llevarás a los Israelitas a la tierra que les he jurado, y Yo estaré contigo."
APP: [read chaps 23-24] Josh 23:6 "Be very strong; be careful to obey all that is written in the Book of the Law of Moses, without turning aside to the right or to the left. (NBLH) "Esfuércense, pues, en guardar y en hacer todo lo que está escrito en el Libro de la Ley de Moisés, para que no se aparten de ella ni a la derecha ni a la izquierda,
2Thes.2:16-17 May our LJC himself & God our Fr, who loved us & by his grace gave us eternal encouragement & good hope, 17 encourage your hearts & strengthen you in every good deed & word. (NBLH) Y que nuestro S JC mismo, y Dios nuestro Padre, que nos amó y nos dio consuelo eterno y buena esperanza por gracia, 17 consuele sus corazones y los afirme en toda obra y palabra buena.
1:1-9 After the death of Moses the servant of the LORD, the LORD said to Joshua son of Nun, Moses' aide: 2 "Moses my servant is dead. Now then, you and all these people, get ready to cross the Jordan River into the land I am about to give to them--to the Israelites. 3 I will give you every place where you set your foot, as I promised Moses. 4 Your territory will extend from the desert to Lebanon, and from the great river, the Euphrates--all the Hittite country--to the Great Sea on the west. 5 No one will be able to stand up against you all the days of your life. As I was with Moses, so I will be with you; I will never leave you nor forsake you. 6 "BE STRONG AND COURAGEOUS, because you will lead these people to inherit the land I swore to their forefathers to give them. 7 Be strong and very courageous. Be careful to obey all the law my servant Moses gave you; do not turn from it to the right or to the left, that you may be successful wherever you go. 8 Do not let this Book of the Law depart from your mouth; meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do everything written in it. Then you will be prosperous and successful. 9 Have I not commanded you? BE STRONG AND COURAGEOUS. DO NOT BE TERRIFIED; DO NOT BE DISCOURAGED, for the LORD your God will be w/ you wherever you go
1:10 So Joshua ordered the officers of the people: 11"Go through the camp and tell the people, `Get your supplies ready. Three days from now you will cross the Jordan here to go in and take possession of the land the LORD your God is giving you for your own.'"
1:12 But to the Reubenites, the Gadites and the half-tribe of Manasseh, Joshua said, 13 "Remember the command that Moses the servant of the LORD gave you: `The LORD your God is giving you rest and has granted you this land.' 14 Your wives, your children and your livestock may stay in the land that Moses gave you east of the Jordan, but all your fighting men, fully armed, must cross over ahead of your brothers. You are to help your brothers 15 until the LORD gives them rest, as he has done for you, and until they too have taken possession of the land that the LORD your God is giving them. After that, you may go back and occupy your own land, which Moses the servant of the LORD gave you east of the Jordan toward the sunrise." 16 Then they answered Joshua, "Whatever you have commanded us we will do, and wherever you send us we will go. 17 Just as we fully obeyed Moses, so we will obey you. Only may the LORD your God be with you as he was with Moses. 18 Whoever rebels against your word and does not obey your words, whatever you may command them, will be put to death. Only BE STRONG AND COURAGEOUS!"
2:1 Then Joshua son of Nun secretly sent two spies from Shittim. "Go, look over the land," he said, "especially Jericho." So they went and entered the house of a prostitute named Rahab and stayed there.
2:9 [Rahab] and said to them, "I know that the LORD has given this land to you and that a great fear of you has fallen on us, so that all who live in this country are melting in fear because of you. 10 We have heard how the LORD dried up the water of the Red Sea for you when you came out of Egypt, and what you did to Sihon and Og, the two kings of the Amorites east of the Jordan, whom you completely destroyed. 11 When we heard of it, our hearts melted and everyone's courage failed because of you, for the LORD your God is God in heaven above and on the earth below.
2:24 They said to Joshua, "The LORD has surely given the whole land into our hands; all the people are melting in fear because of us."
3:1 Early in the morning Joshua and all the Israelites set out from Shittim and went to the Jordan, where they camped before crossing over. 2 After three days the officers went throughout the camp, 3 giving orders to the people: "When you see the ark of the covenant of the LORD your God, and the priests, who are Levites, carrying it, you are to move out from your positions and follow it. 4 Then you will know which way to go, since you have never been this way before. But keep a distance of about a 1000 yards between you and the ark; do not go near it
3:5 Joshua told the people, "Consecrate yourselves, for tomorrow the LORD will do amazing things among you."
3:6 Joshua said to the priests, "Take up the ark of the covenant and pass on ahead of the people." So they took it up and went ahead of them.
3:7 And the LORD said to Joshua, "Today I will begin to exalt you in the eyes of all Israel, so they may know that I am with you as I was with Moses. 8 Tell the priests who carry the ark of the covenant: `When you reach the edge of the Jordan's waters, go and stand in the river.'"
3: 9 Joshua said to the Israelites, "Come here and listen to the words of the LORD your God. 10 This is how you will know that the living God is among you and that he will certainly drive out before you the Canaanites, Hittites, Hivites, Perizzites, Girgashites, Amorites and Jebusites. 11 See, the ark of the covenant of the Lord of all the earth will go into the Jordan ahead of you. 12 Now then, choose twelve men from the tribes of Israel, one from each tribe. 13 And as soon as the priests who carry the ark of the LORD--the Lord of all the earth--set foot in the Jordan, its waters flowing downstream will be cut off and stand up in a heap."
3:14 So when the people broke camp to cross the Jordan, the priests carrying the ark of the covenant went ahead of them. 15 Now the Jordan is at flood stage all during harvest. Yet as soon as the priests who carried the ark reached the Jordan and their feet touched the water's edge, 16 the water from upstream stopped flowing. It piled up in a heap a great distance away, at a town called Adam in the vicinity of Zarethan, while the water flowing down to the Sea of the Arabah (the Salt Sea) was completely cut off. So the people crossed over opposite Jericho. 17 The priests who carried the ark of the covenant of the LORD stood firm on dry ground in the middle of the Jordan, while all Israel passed by until the whole nation had completed the crossing on dry ground.
4:1 When the whole nation had finished crossing the Jordan, the LORD said to Joshua, 2 "Choose 12 men from among the people, one from each tribe, 3 and tell them to take up 12 stones from the middle of the Jordan from right where the priests stood & to carry them over with you & put them down at the place where you stay tonight."
4:4 So Joshua called together the twelve men he had appointed from the Israelites, one from each tribe
4:5 and said to them, "Go over before the ark of the LORD your God into the middle of the Jordan. Each of you is to take up a stone on his shoulder, according to the number of the tribes of the Israelites, 6 to serve as a sign among you. In the future, when your children ask you, `What do these stones mean?' 7 tell them that the flow of the Jordan was cut off before the ark of the covenant of the LORD. When it crossed the Jordan, the waters of the Jordan were cut off. These stones are to be a memorial to the people of Israel forever."
4:8 So the Israelites did as Joshua commanded them. They took twelve stones from the middle of the Jordan, according to the number of the tribes of the Israelites, as the LORD had told Joshua; and they carried them over with them to their camp, where they put them down. 9 Joshua set up the twelve stones that had been in the middle of the Jordan at the spot where the priests who carried the ark of the covenant had stood. And they are there to this day. 10 Now the priests who carried the ark remained standing in the middle of the Jordan until everything the LORD had commanded Joshua was done by the people, just as Moses had directed Joshua. The people hurried over, 11 and as soon as all of them had crossed, the ark of the LORD and the priests came to the other side while the people watched. 12 The men of Reuben, Gad and the half-tribe of Manasseh crossed over, armed, in front of the Israelites, as Moses had directed them. 13 About forty thousand armed for battle crossed over before the LORD to the plains of Jericho for war.
4:14 That day the LORD exalted Joshua in the sight of all Israel; and they revered him all the days of his life, just as they had revered Moses.
4:15 Then the LORD said to Joshua, 16 "Command the priests carrying the ark of the Testimony to come up out of the Jordan."
4:17 So Joshua commanded the priests, "Come up out of the Jordan." 18 And the priests came up out of the river carrying the ark of the covenant of the LORD. No sooner had they set their feet on the dry ground than the waters of the Jordan returned to their place and ran at flood stage as before. 19 On the tenth day of the first month the people went up from the Jordan and camped at Gilgal on the eastern border of Jericho.
4:20 And Joshua set up at Gilgal the twelve stones they had taken out of the Jordan.
4:21 He said to the Israelites, "In the future when your descendants ask their fathers, `What do these stones mean?' 22 tell them, `Israel crossed the Jordan on dry ground.' 23 For the LORD your God dried up the Jordan before you until you had crossed over. The LORD your God did to the Jordan just what he had done to the Red Sea when he dried it up before us until we had crossed over. 24 He did this so that all the peoples of the earth might know that the hand of the LORD is powerful and so that you might always fear the LORD your God."
5:1 Now when all the Amorite kings west of the Jordan and all the Canaanite kings along the coast heard how the LORD had dried up the Jordan before the Israelites until we had crossed over, their hearts melted and they no longer had the courage to face the Israelites.
5:2 At that time the LORD said to Joshua, "Make flint knives and circumcise the Israelites again."
5:3 So Joshua made flint knives and circumcised the Israelites at Gibeath Haaraloth. 4 Now this is why he did so: All those who came out of Egypt--all the men of military age--died in the desert on the way after leaving Egypt. 5 All the people that came out had been circumcised, but all the people born in the desert during the journey from Egypt had not. 6 The Israelites had moved about in the desert forty years until all the men who were of military age when they left Egypt had died, since they had not obeyed the LORD. For the LORD had sworn to them that they would not see the land that he had solemnly promised their fathers to give us, a land flowing with milk and honey. 7 So he raised up their sons in their place, and these were the ones Joshua circumcised. They were still uncircumcised because they had not been circumcised on the way. 8 And after the whole nation had been circumcised, they remained where they were in camp until they were healed.
5:9 Then the LORD said to Joshua, "Today I have rolled away the reproach of Egypt from you." So the place has been called Gilgal to this day.10 On the evening of the fourteenth day of the month, while camped at Gilgal on the plains of Jericho, the Israelites celebrated the Passover. 11 The day after the Passover, that very day, they ate some of the produce of the land: unleavened bread and roasted grain.
5:12 The manna stopped the day after they ate this food from the land; there was no longer any manna for the Israelites, but that year they ate of the produce of Canaan.
5:13 Now when Joshua was near Jericho, he looked up and saw a man standing in front of him with a drawn sword in his hand. Joshua went up to him and asked, "Are you for us or for our enemies?" 14 "Neither," he replied, "but as commander of the army of the LORD I have now come." Then Joshua fell facedown to the ground in reverence, and asked him, "What message does my Lord have for his servant?"
5:15 The commander of the LORD's army replied, "Take off your sandals, for the place where you are standing is holy." And Joshua did so.
6:1-5 Now Jericho was tightly shut up because of the Israelites. No one went out and no one came in. 2 Then the LORD said to Joshua, "See, I have delivered Jericho into your hands, along with its king and its fighting men. 3 March around the city once with all the armed men. Do this for six days. 4 Have seven priests carry trumpets of rams' horns in front of the ark. On the seventh day, march around the city seven times, with the priests blowing the trumpets. 5 When you hear them sound a long blast on the trumpets, have all the people give a loud shout; then the wall of the city will collapse and the people will go up, every man straight in." 6 So Joshua son of Nun called the priests and said to them, "Take up the ark of the covenant of the LORD and have seven priests carry trumpets in front of it." 7 And he ordered the people, "Advance! March around the city, with the armed guard going ahead of the ark of the LORD." 8 When Joshua had spoken to the people, the seven priests carrying the seven trumpets before the LORD went forward, blowing their trumpets, and the ark of the LORD's covenant followed them. 9 The armed guard marched ahead of the priests who blew the trumpets, and the rear guard followed the ark. All this time the trumpets were sounding.
6:10 But Joshua had commanded the people, "Do not give a war cry, do not raise your voices, do not say a word until the day I tell you to shout. Then shout!" 17 The city and all that is in it are to be devoted to the LORD. Only Rahab the prostitute and all who are with her in her house shall be spared, because she hid the spies we sent. 18 But keep away from the devoted things, so that you will not bring about your own destruction by taking any of them. Otherwise you will make the camp of Israel liable to destruction and bring trouble on it. 19 All the silver and gold and the articles of bronze and iron are sacred to the LORD and must go into his treasury." 20 When the trumpets sounded, the people shouted, and at the sound of the trumpet, when the people gave a loud shout, the wall collapsed; so every man charged straight in, and they took the city 21 They devoted the city to the LORD and destroyed with the sword every living thing in it--men and women, young and old, cattle, sheep and donkeys. 22 Joshua said to the two men who had spied out the land, "Go into the prostitute's house and bring her out and all who belong to her, in accordance with your oath to her." 23 So the young men who had done the spying went in and brought out Rahab, her father and mother and brothers and all who belonged to her. They brought out her entire family and put them in a place outside the camp of Israel. 24 Then they burned the whole city and everything in it, but they put the silver and gold and the articles of bronze and iron into the treasury of the LORD's house.
6:25 But Joshua spared Rahab the prostitute, with her family and all who belonged to her, because she hid the men Joshua had sent as spies to Jericho--and she lives among the Israelites to this day.
6:26 At that time Joshua pronounced this solemn oath: "Cursed before the LORD is the man who undertakes to rebuild this city, Jericho: "At the cost of his firstborn son will he lay its foundations; at the cost of his youngest will he set up its gates."
6:27 So the LORD was with Joshua, and his fame spread throughout the land.
7:1 But the Israelites acted unfaithfully in regard to the devoted things; Achan son of Carmi, the son of Zimri, the son of Zerah, of the tribe of Judah, took some of them. So the LORD's anger burned against Israel.
7:2 Now Joshua sent men from Jericho to Ai, which is near Beth Aven to the east of Bethel, and told them, "Go up and spy out the region." So the men went up and spied out Ai. 3 When they returned to Joshua, they said, "Not all the people will have to go up against Ai. Send two or three thousand men to take it and do not weary all the people, for only a few men are there." 4 So about three thousand men went up; but they were routed by the men of Ai, 5 who killed about thirty-six of them. They chased the Israelites from the city gate as far as the stone quarries and struck them down on the slopes. At this the hearts of the people melted and became like water. 6 Then Joshua tore his clothes and fell facedown to the ground before the ark of the LORD, remaining there till evening. The elders of Israel did the same, and sprinkled dust on their heads.
7:7 And Joshua said, "Ah, Sovereign LORD, why did you ever bring this people across the Jordan to deliver us into the hands of the Amorites to destroy us? If only we had been content to stay on the other side of the Jordan! 8 O Lord, what can I say, now that Israel has been routed by its enemies? 9 The Canaanites and the other people of the country will hear about this and they will surround us and wipe out our name from the earth. What then will you do for your own great name?"
7:10 The LORD said to Joshua, "Stand up! What are you doing down on your face? 11 Israel has sinned; they have violated my covenant, which I commanded them to keep. They have taken some of the devoted things; they have stolen, they have lied, they have put them with their own possessions. 12 That is why the Israelites cannot stand against their enemies; they turn their backs and run because they have been made liable to destruction. I will not be with you anymore unless you destroy whatever among you is devoted to destruction. 13 "Go, consecrate the people. Tell them, `Consecrate yourselves in preparation for tomorrow; for this is what the LORD, the God of Israel, says: That which is devoted is among you, O Israel. You cannot stand against your enemies until you remove it. 14"`In the morning, present yourselves tribe by tribe. The tribe that the LORD takes shall come forward clan by clan; the clan that the LORD takes shall come forward family by family; and the family that the LORD takes shall come forward man by man. 15 He who is caught with the devoted things shall be destroyed by fire, along with all that belongs to him. He has violated the covenant of the LORD and has done a disgraceful thing in Israel!'" 16 Early the next morning Joshua had Israel come forward by tribes, and Judah was taken. 17 The clans of Judah came forward, and he took the Zerahites. He had the clan of the Zerahites come forward by families, and Zimri was taken. 18 Joshua had his family come forward man by man, and Achan son of Carmi, the son of Zimri, the son of Zerah, of the tribe of Judah, was taken.
7:19 Then Joshua said to Achan, "My son, give glory to the LORD, the God of Israel, and give him the praise. Tell me what you have done; do not hide it from me." 20 Achan replied, "It is true! I have sinned against the LORD, the God of Israel. This is what I have done: 21 When I saw in the plunder a beautiful robe from Babylonia, two hundred shekels of silver and a wedge of gold weighing fifty shekels, I coveted them and took them. They are hidden in the ground inside my tent, with the silver underneath."
7:22 So Joshua sent messengers, and they ran to the tent, and there it was, hidden in his tent, with the silver underneath. 23 They took the things from the tent, brought them to Joshua and all the Israelites and spread them out before the LORD. 24 Then Joshua, together with all Israel, took Achan son of Zerah, the silver, the robe, the gold wedge, his sons and daughters, his cattle, donkeys and sheep, his tent and all that he had, to the Valley of Achor.
7:25 Joshua said, "Why have you brought this trouble on us? The LORD will bring trouble on you today." Then all Israel stoned him, and after they had stoned the rest, they burned them. 26 Over Achan they heaped up a large pile of rocks, which remains to this day. Then the LORD turned from his fierce anger. Therefore that place has been called the Valley of Achor ever since.
8:1 Then the LORD said to Joshua, "DO NOT BE AFRAID; DO NOT BE DISCOURAGED. Take the whole army with you, and go up and attack Ai. For I have delivered into your hands the king of Ai, his people, his city and his land. 2 You shall do to Ai and its king as you did to Jericho and its king, except that you may carry off their plunder and livestock for yourselves. Set an ambush behind the city."
8:3 So Joshua and the whole army moved out to attack Ai. He chose thirty thousand of his best fighting men and sent them out at night
8:4 with these orders: "Listen carefully. You are to set an ambush behind the city. Don't go very far from it. All of you be on the alert. 5 I and all those with me will advance on the city, and when the men come out against us, as they did before, we will flee from them. 6 They will pursue us until we have lured them away from the city, for they will say, `They are running away from us as they did before.' So when we flee from them, 7 you are to rise up from ambush and take the city. The LORD your God will give it into your hand. 8 When you have taken the city, set it on fire. Do what the LORD has commanded. See to it; you have my orders."
8:18 Then the LORD said to Joshua, "Hold out toward Ai the javelin that is in your hand, for into your hand I will deliver the city." So Joshua held out his javelin toward Ai.
8:26 For Joshua did not draw back the hand that held out his javelin until he had destroyed all who lived in Ai. 27 But Israel did carry off for themselves the livestock and plunder of this city, as the LORD had instructed Joshua. 29 He hung the king of Ai on a tree and left him there until evening. At sunset, Joshua ordered them to take his body from the tree and throw it down at the entrance of the city gate. And they raised a large pile of rocks over it, which remains to this day.
8:30 Then Joshua built on Mount Ebal an altar to the LORD, the God of Israel, 31 as Moses the servant of the LORD had commanded the Israelites. He built it according to what is written in the Book of the Law of Moses--an altar of uncut stones, on which no iron tool had been used. On it they offered to the LORD burnt offerings and sacrificed fellowship offerings. 32 There, in the presence of the Israelites, Joshua copied on stones the law of Moses, which he had written. 33 All Israel, aliens and citizens alike, with their elders, officials and judges, were standing on both sides of the ark of the covenant of the LORD, facing those who carried it--the priests, who were Levites. Half of the people stood in front of Mount Gerizim and half of them in front of Mount Ebal, as Moses the servant of the LORD had formerly commanded when he gave instructions to bless the people of Israel. 34 Afterward, Joshua read all the words of the law--the blessings and the curses--just as it is written in the Book of the Law. 35 There was not a word of all that Moses had commanded that Joshua did not read to the whole assembly of Israel, including the women and children, and the aliens who lived among them.
9:1 Now when all the kings west of the Jordan heard about these things--those in the hill country, in the western foothills, and along the entire coast of the Great Sea as far as Lebanon (the kings of the Hittites, Amorites, Canaanites, Perizzites, Hivites and Jebusites)-- 2 they came together to make war against Joshua and Israel. 3 However, when the people of Gibeon heard what Joshua had done to Jericho and Ai, 4 they resorted to a ruse:…..
9:8 "We are your servants," they said to Joshua. But Joshua asked, "Who are you and where do you come from?" 9 They answered: "Your servants have come from a very distant country because of the fame of the LORD your God. For we have heard reports of him: all that he did in Egypt, 10 and all that he did to the two kings of the Amorites east of the Jordan--Sihon king of Heshbon, and Og king of Bashan, who reigned in Ashtaroth. 11 And our elders and all those living in our country said to us, `Take provisions for your journey; go and meet them and say to them, "We are your servants; make a treaty with us." ' 12 This bread of ours was warm when we packed it at home on the day we left to come to you. But now see how dry and moldy it is. 13 And these wineskins that we filled were new, but see how cracked they are. And our clothes and sandals are worn out by the very long journey."
9:14 The men of Israel sampled their provisions but did not inquire of the LORD.
9:15 Then Joshua made a treaty of peace with them to let them live, and the leaders of the assembly ratified it by oath. 16 Three days after they made the treaty with the Gibeonites, the Israelites heard that they were neighbors, living near them. 17 So the Israelites set out and on the third day came to their cities: Gibeon, Kephirah, Beeroth and Kiriath Jearim. 18 But the Israelites did not attack them, because the leaders of the assembly had sworn an oath to them by the LORD, the God of Israel. The whole assembly grumbled against the leaders, 19 but all the leaders answered, "We have given them our oath by the LORD, the God of Israel, and we cannot touch them now. 20 This is what we will do to them: We will let them live, so that wrath will not fall on us for breaking the oath we swore to them." 21 They continued, "Let them live, but let them be woodcutters and water carriers for the entire community." So the leaders' promise to them was kept. 22 Then Joshua summoned the Gibeonites and said, "Why did you deceive us by saying, `We live a long way from you,' while actually you live near us? 23 You are now under a curse: You will never cease to serve as woodcutters and water carriers for the house of my God." 24 They answered Joshua, "Your servants were clearly told how the LORD your God had commanded his servant Moses to give you the whole land and to wipe out all its inhabitants from before you. So we feared for our lives because of you, and that is why we did this. 25 We are now in your hands. Do to us whatever seems good and right to you." 26 So Joshua saved them from the Israelites, and they did not kill them. 27 That day he made the Gibeonites woodcutters and water carriers for the community and for the altar of the LORD at the place the LORD would choose. And that is what they are to this day.
10:1-5 Now Adoni-Zedek king of Jerusalem heard that Joshua had taken Ai and totally destroyed it, doing to Ai and its king as he had done to Jericho and its king, and that the people of Gibeon had made a treaty of peace with Israel and were living near them. 2 He and his people were very much alarmed at this, because Gibeon was an important city, like one of the royal cities; it was larger than Ai, and all its men were good fighters. 3 So Adoni-Zedek king of Jerusalem appealed to Hoham king of Hebron, Piram king of Jarmuth, Japhia king of Lachish and Debir king of Eglon. 4 "Come up and help me attack Gibeon," he said, "because it has made peace with Joshua and the Israelites." Then the five kings of the Amorites--the kings of Jerusalem, Hebron, Jarmuth, Lachish and Eglon--joined forces. They moved up with all their troops and took up positions against Gibeon and attacked it.
10:8 The LORD said to Joshua, "DO NOT BE AFRAID of them; I have given them into your hand. Not one of them will be able to withstand you."
10:9 After an all-night march from Gilgal, Joshua took them by surprise.
10:10 The LORD threw them into confusion before Israel, who defeated them in a great victory at Gibeon. Israel pursued them along the road going up to Beth Horon and cut them down all the way to Azekah and Makkedah. 11 As they fled before Israel on the road down from Beth Horon to Azekah, the LORD hurled large hailstones down on them from the sky, and more of them died from the hailstones than were killed by the swords of the Israelites.
10:12 On the day the LORD gave the Amorites over to Israel, Joshua said to the LORD in the presence of Israel: "O sun, stand still over Gibeon, O moon, over the Valley of Aijalon." 13 So the sun stood still, and the moon stopped, till the nation avenged itself on its enemies, as it is written in the Book of Jashar. The sun stopped in the middle of the sky and delayed going down about a full day.
10:14 There has never been a day like it before or since, a day when the LORD listened to a man. Surely the LORD was fighting for Israel! 15 Then Joshua returned with all Israel to the camp at Gilgal. 16 Now the five kings had fled and hidden in the cave at Makkedah. 17 When Joshua was told that the five kings had been found hiding in the cave at Makkedah, 18 he said, "Roll large rocks up to the mouth of the cave, and post some men there to guard it. 19 But don't stop! Pursue your enemies, attack them from the rear and don't let them reach their cities, for the LORD your God has given them into your hand." 20 So Joshua and the Israelites destroyed them completely--almost to a man--but the few who were left reached their fortified cities. 21 The whole army then returned safely to Joshua in the camp at Makkedah, and no one uttered a word against the Israelites. 22 Joshua said, "Open the mouth of the cave and bring those five kings out to me." 23 So they brought the five kings out of the cave--the kings of Jerusalem, Hebron, Jarmuth, Lachish and Eglon.
10:24 When they had brought these kings to Joshua, he summoned all the men of Israel and said to the army commanders who had come with him, "Come here and put your feet on the necks of these kings." So they came forward and placed their feet on their necks.
10:25 Joshua said to them, "DO NOT BE AFRAID; DO NOT BE DISCOURAGED. BE STRONG AND COURAGEOUS. This is what the LORD will do to all the enemies you are going to fight." 26 Then Joshua struck and killed the kings and hung them on five trees, and they were left hanging on the trees until evening.
10:30 The LORD also gave that city [Libnah] and its king into Israel's hand. The city and everyone in it Joshua put to the sword. He left no survivors there. And he did to its king as he had done to the king of Jericho. 32 The LORD handed Lachish over to Israel, and Joshua took it on the second day. The city and everyone in it he put to the sword, just as he had done to Libnah.
10:35 They captured it that same day and put it to the sword and totally destroyed everyone in it, just as they had done to Lachish. 36 Then Joshua and all Israel with him went up from Eglon to Hebron and attacked it. 37 They took the city and put it to the sword, together with its king, its villages and everyone in it. They left no survivors. Just as at Eglon, they totally destroyed it and everyone in it. 38 Then Joshua and all Israel with him turned around and attacked Debir. 39 They took the city, its king and its villages, and put them to the sword. Everyone in it they totally destroyed. They left no survivors. They did to Debir and its king as they had done to Libnah and its king and to Hebron. 40 So Joshua subdued the whole region, including the hill country, the Negev, the western foothills and the mountain slopes, together with all their kings. He left no survivors. He totally destroyed all who breathed, just as the LORD, the God of Israel, had commanded. 41 Joshua subdued them from Kadesh Barnea to Gaza and from the whole region of Goshen to Gibeon.
10:42 All these kings and their lands Joshua conquered in one campaign, because the LORD, the God of Israel, fought for Israel.
11:1 When Jabin king of Hazor heard of this, he sent word to Jobab king of Madon, to the kings of Shimron and Acshaph, 2 and to the northern kings who were in the mountains, in the Arabah south of Kinnereth, in the western foothills and in Naphoth Dor on the west; 3 to the Canaanites in the east and west; to the Amorites, Hittites, Perizzites and Jebusites in the hill country; and to the Hivites below Hermon in the region of Mizpah. 4 They came out with all their troops and a large number of horses and chariots--a huge army, as numerous as the sand on the seashore. 5 All these kings joined forces and made camp together at the Waters of Merom, to fight against Israel.
11:6 The LORD said to Joshua, "DO NOT BE AFRAID of them, because by this time tomorrow I will hand all of them over to Israel, slain. You are to hamstring their horses and burn their chariots." 11:7 So Joshua and his whole army came against them suddenly at the Waters of Merom and attacked them,
11:8 and the LORD gave them into the hand of Israel. They defeated them and pursued them all the way to Greater Sidon, to Misrephoth Maim, and to the Valley of Mizpah on the east, until no survivors were left. 9 Joshua did to them as the LORD had directed: He hamstrung their horses and burned their chariots. 10 At that time Joshua turned back and captured Hazor and put its king to the sword. (Hazor had been the head of all these kingdoms.) 11 Everyone in it they put to the sword. They totally destroyed them, not sparing anything that breathed, and he burned up Hazor itself.
11:12 Joshua took all these royal cities and their kings and put them to the sword. He totally destroyed them, as Moses the servant of the LORD had commanded.
11:15 As the LORD commanded his servant Moses, so Moses commanded Joshua, and Joshua did it; he left nothing undone of all that the LORD commanded Moses.
11:16 So Joshua took this entire land: the hill country, all the Negev, the whole region of Goshen, the western foothills, the Arabah and the mountains of Israel with their foothills, 17 from Mount Halak, which rises toward Seir, to Baal Gad in the Valley of Lebanon below Mount Hermon. He captured all their kings and struck them down, putting them to death. 18 Joshua waged war against all these kings for a long time.
11:20 For it was the LORD himself who hardened their hearts to wage war against Israel, so that he might destroy them totally, exterminating them without mercy, as the LORD had commanded Moses
11:23 So Joshua took the entire land, just as the LORD had directed Moses, and he gave it as an inheritance to Israel according to their tribal divisions. Then the land had rest from war. 12:1 These are the kings of the land whom the Israelites had defeated and whose territory they took over east of the Jordan, from the Arnon Gorge to Mount Hermon, including all the eastern side of the Arabah:
12:7 These are the kings of the land that Joshua and the Israelites conquered on the west side of the Jordan, from Baal Gad in the Valley of Lebanon to Mount Halak, which rises toward Seir (their lands Joshua gave as an inheritance to the tribes of Israel according to their tribal divisions
13:1 When Joshua was old and well advanced in years, the LORD said to him, "You are very old, and there are still very large areas of land to be taken over.
13:6 "As for all the inhabitants of the mountain regions from Lebanon to Misrephoth Maim, that is, all the Sidonians, I myself will drive them out before the Israelites. Be sure to allocate this land to Israel for an inheritance, as I have instructed you,
14:1 Now these are the areas the Israelites received as an inheritance in the land of Canaan, which Eleazar the priest, Joshua son of Nun and the heads of the tribal clans of Israel allotted to them. 2 Their inheritances were assigned by lot to the 9 ½ tribes, as the LORD had commanded through Moses
14:6 Now the men of Judah approached Joshua at Gilgal, and Caleb son of Jephunneh the Kenizzite said to him, "You know what the LORD said to Moses the man of God at Kadesh Barnea about you and me. 12 Now give me this hill country that the LORD promised me that day. You yourself heard then that the Anakites were there and their cities were large and fortified, but, the LORD helping me, I will drive them out just as he said."
14:13 Then Joshua blessed Caleb son of Jephunneh and gave him Hebron as his inheritance.
17:17 But Joshua said to the house of Joseph--to Ephraim and Manasseh--"You are numerous and very powerful. You will have not only one allotment 18 but the forested hill country as well. Clear it, and its farthest limits will be yours; though the Canaanites have iron chariots and though they are strong, you can drive them out."
18:3 So Joshua said to the Israelites: "How long will you wait before you begin to take possession of the land that the LORD, the God of your fathers, has given you?
18:8 As the men started on their way to map out the land, Joshua instructed them, "Go and make a survey of the land and write a description of it. Then return to me, and I will cast lots for you here at Shiloh in the presence of the LORD."
19:49 When they had finished dividing the land into its allotted portions, the Israelites gave Joshua son of Nun an inheritance among them, 50 as the LORD had commanded. They gave him the town he asked for--Timnath Serah in the hill country of Ephraim. And he built up the town and settled there.
19:51 These are the territories that Eleazar the priest, Joshua son of Nun and the heads of the tribal clans of Israel assigned by lot at Shiloh in the presence of the LORD at the entrance to the Tent of Meeting. And so they finished dividing the land.
20:1 Then the LORD said to Joshua: 2 "Tell the Israelites to designate the cities of refuge, as I instructed you through Moses,
22:1 Then Joshua summoned the Reubenites, the Gadites and the half-tribe of Manasseh 2 and said to them, "You have done all that Moses the servant of the LORD commanded, and you have obeyed me in everything I commanded. 3 For a long time now--to this very day--you have not deserted your brothers but have carried out the mission the LORD your God gave you. 4 Now that the LORD your God has given your brothers rest as he promised, return to your homes in the land that Moses the servant of the LORD gave you on the other side of the Jordan. 5 But be very careful to keep the commandment and the law that Moses the servant of the LORD gave you: to love the LORD your God, to walk in all his ways, to obey his commands, to hold fast to him and to serve him with all your heart and all your soul." 6 Then Joshua blessed them and sent them away, and they went to their homes.
23:1 After a long time had passed and the LORD had given Israel rest from all their enemies around them, Joshua, by then old and well advanced in years,
23:2 summoned all Israel--their elders, leaders, judges and officials--and said to them: "I am old and well advanced in years.
23:6 (Joshua said) "Be very strong; be careful to obey all that is written in the Book of the Law of Moses, without turning aside to the right or to the left.
24:1 Then Joshua assembled all the tribes of Israel at Shechem. He summoned the elders, leaders, judges and officials of Israel, and they presented themselves before God.
24:2 Joshua said to all the people, "This is what the LORD, the God of Israel, says: `Long ago your forefathers, including Terah the father of Abraham and Nahor, lived beyond the River and worshiped other gods.
24:14-15 "Now fear the LORD and serve him with all faithfulness. Throw away the gods your forefathers worshiped beyond the River and in Egypt, and serve the LORD. 15 But if serving the LORD seems undesirable to you, then choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve, whether the gods your forefathers served beyond the River, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land you are living. But as for me and my household, we will serve the LORD."
24:23 "Now then," said Joshua, "throw away the foreign gods that are among you and yield your hearts to the LORD, the God of Israel."
24:29 After these things, Joshua son of Nun, the servant of the LORD, died at the age of a hundred and ten.
24:31 Israel served the LORD throughout the lifetime of Joshua and of the elders who outlived him and who had experienced everything the LORD had done for Israel.
APPLICATION: How to Encourage Others
Chap.22: Five ways to Encourage Others
1 [acknowledged their faithful obedience and service] Then Joshua summoned the Reubenites, the Gadites and the half-tribe of Manasseh
2 and said to them, "You have done all that Moses the servant of the LORD commanded,
2 and you have obeyed me in everything I commanded.
3 For a long time now--to this very day--you have not deserted your brothers but have carried out the mission the LORD your God gave you. 4 Now that the LORD your God has given your brothers rest as he promised, return to your homes in the land that Moses the servant of the LORD gave you on the other side of the Jordan.
5 But be very careful to keep the commandment and the law that Moses the servant of the LORD gave you: to love the LORD your God, to walk in all his ways, to obey his commands, to hold fast to him and to serve him with all your heart and all your soul."
6 Then Joshua blessed them and sent them away, and they went to their homes.
Chap.23: Ten Ways to Encourage Others
3 You yourselves have seen everything the LORD your God has done to all these nations for your sake; it was the LORD your God who fought for you.
5 The LORD your God himself will drive them out of your way. He will push them out before you, and you will take possession of their land, as the LORD your God promised you.
6 "Be very strong; be careful to obey all that is written in the Book of the Law of Moses, without turning aside to the right or to the left.
7 Do not associate with these nations that remain among you; do not invoke the names of their gods or swear by them. You must not serve them or bow down to them.
8 But you are to hold fast to the LORD your God, as you have until now.
9 "The LORD has driven out before you great and powerful nations; to this day no one has been able to withstand you. 10 One of you routs a thousand, because the LORD your God fights for you, just as he promised.
11 So be very careful to love the LORD your God.
12 "But if you turn away and ally yourselves with the survivors of these nations that remain among you and if you intermarry with them and associate with them, 13 then you may be sure that the LORD your God will no longer drive out these nations before you. Instead, they will become snares and traps for you, whips on your backs and thorns in your eyes, until you perish from this good land, which the LORD your God has given you.
14 "Now I am about to go the way of all the earth. You know with all your heart and soul that not one of all the good promises the LORD your God gave you has failed. Every promise has been fulfilled; not one has failed.
15 But just as every good promise of the LORD your God has come true, so the LORD will bring on you all the evil he has threatened, until he has destroyed you from this good land he has given you. 16 If you violate the covenant of the LORD your God, which he commanded you, and go and serve other gods and bow down to them, the LORD's anger will burn against you, and you will quickly perish from the good land he has given you."
Chapter 24: Seven Ways to Encourage
God’s History of “I” (20) on behalf to the Israelites
3-13 But I took your father Abraham from the land beyond the River and led him throughout Canaan and gave him many descendants. I gave him Isaac, 4 and to Isaac I gave Jacob and Esau. I assigned the hill country of Seir to Esau, but Jacob and his sons went down to Egypt. 5 "`Then I sent Moses and Aaron, and I afflicted the Egyptians by what I did there, and I brought you out. 6 When I brought your fathers out of Egypt, you came to the sea, and the Egyptians pursued them with chariots and horsemen as far as the Red Sea. 7 But they cried to the LORD for help, and he [I] put darkness between you and the Egyptians; he [I] brought the sea over them and covered them. You saw with your own eyes what I did to the Egyptians. Then you lived in the desert for a long time. 8 "` I brought you to the land of the Amorites who lived east of the Jordan. They fought against you, but I gave them into your hands. I destroyed them from before you, and you took possession of their land. 9 When Balak son of Zippor, the king of Moab, prepared to fight against Israel, he sent for Balaam son of Beor to put a curse on you. 10 But I would not listen to Balaam, so he blessed you again and again, and I delivered you out of his hand. 11 "`Then you crossed the Jordan and came to Jericho. The citizens of Jericho fought against you, as did also the Amorites, Perizzites, Canaanites, Hittites, Girgashites, Hivites and Jebusites, but I gave them into your hands. 12 I sent the hornet ahead of you, which drove them out before you--also the two Amorite kings. You did not do it with your own sword and bow. 13 So I gave you a land on which you did not toil and cities you did not build; & you live in them & eat from vineyards and olive groves that you did not plant.'
14 "Now fear the LORD and serve him with all faithfulness.
14 Throw away the gods your forefathers worshiped beyond the River and in Egypt, and serve the LORD.
15 But if serving the LORD seems undesirable to you, then choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve, whether the gods your forefathers served beyond the River, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land you are living. But as for me and my household, we will serve the LORD." 16 Then the people answered, "Far be it from us to forsake the LORD to serve other gods! 17 It was the LORD our God himself who brought us and our fathers up out of Egypt, from that land of slavery, and performed those great signs before our eyes. He protected us on our entire journey and among all the nations through which we traveled. 18 And the LORD drove out before us all the nations, including the Amorites, who lived in the land. We too will serve the LORD, because he is our God."
19 Joshua said to the people, "You are not able to serve the LORD. He is a holy God; he is a jealous God. He will not forgive your rebellion and your sins. 20 If you forsake the LORD and serve foreign gods, he will turn and bring disaster on you and make an end of you, after he has been good to you." 21 But the people said to Joshua, "No! We will serve the LORD." 22 Then Joshua said, "You are witnesses against yourselves that you have chosen to serve the LORD." "Yes, we are witnesses," they replied.
23 "Now then," said Joshua, "throw away the foreign gods that are among you and yield your hearts to the LORD, the God of Israel." 24 And the people said to Joshua, "We will serve the LORD our God and obey him."
25 On that day Joshua made a covenant for the people, and there at Shechem he drew up for them decrees and laws. 26 And Joshua recorded these things in the Book of the Law of God. Then he took a large stone and set it up there under the oak near the holy place of the LORD. 27 "See!" he said to all the people. "This stone will be a witness against us. It has heard all the words the LORD has said to us. It will be a witness against you if you are untrue to your God."
Exod 17:9 Moses said to Joshua, “Choose some of our men and go out to fight the Amalekites. Tomorrow I will stand on top of the hill with the staff of God in my hands.” 10 So Joshua fought the Amalekites as Moses had ordered, and Moses, Aaron and Hur went to the top of the hill. 13 So Joshua overcame the Amalekite army with the sword. 14 Then the Lord said to Moses, “Write this on a scroll as something to be remembered and make sure that Joshua hears it, because I will completely blot out the memory of Amalek from under heaven.”
Ex 24:13 Then Moses set out with Joshua his aide, and Moses went up on the mountain of God
Exod 32:17 When Joshua heard the noise of the people shouting, he said to Moses, “There is the sound of war in the camp.”
Exod 33:11 The Lord would speak to Moses face to face, as a man speaks with his friend. Then Moses would return to the camp, but his young aide Joshua son of Nun did not leave the tent.
Nu 11:28 Joshua son of Nun, who had been Moses’ aide since youth, spoke up & said, Moses, my lord, stop them
Num 13:16 These are the names of the men Moses sent to explore the land. (Moses gave Hoshea son of Nun the name Joshua.)
Num 14:6 Joshua son of Nun and Caleb son of Jephunneh, who were among those who had explored the land, tore their clothes 30 Not one of you will enter the land I swore with uplifted hand to make your home, except Caleb son of Jephunneh and Joshua son of Nun. 38 Of the men who went to explore the land, only Joshua son of Nun and Caleb son of Jephunneh survived.
Num 26:65 For the Lord had told those Israelites they would surely die in the desert, and not one of them was left except Caleb son of Jephunneh and Joshua son of Nun.
Num 27:18 So the Lord said to Moses, “Take Joshua son of Nun, a man in whom is the spirit, and lay your hand on him. 22 Moses did as the Lord commanded him. He took Joshua and had him stand before Eleazar the priest and the whole assembly.
Num 32:12 not one except Caleb son of Jephunneh the Kenizzite and Joshua son of Nun, for they followed the Lord wholeheartedly.’ 28 Then Moses gave orders about them to Eleazar the priest and Joshua son of Nun and to the family heads of the Israelite tribes.
Num 34:17 “These are the names of the men who are to assign the land for you as an inheritance: Eleazar the priest and Joshua son of Nun.
Dt 3:21 At that time I commanded Joshua: “You have seen with your own eyes all that the Lord your God has done to these two kings. The Lord will do the same to all the kingdoms over there where you are going.
Dt 31:3 The Lord your God himself will cross over ahead of you. He will destroy these nations before you, and you will take possession of their land. Joshua also will cross over ahead of you, as the Lord said.
Dt.31:14 The Lord said to Moses, “Now the day of your death is near. Call Joshua and present yourselves at the Tent of Meeting, where I will commission him.” So Moses and Joshua came and presented themselves at the Tent of Meeting.
Dt 32:44 Moses came with Joshua son of Nun and spoke all the words of this song in the hearing of the people.
Dt 34:9 Now Joshua son of Nun was filled with the spirit of wisdom because Moses had laid his hands on him. So the Israelites listened to him & did what the Lord had commanded Moses
Judg 1:1 After the death of Joshua, the Israelites asked the Lord, “Who will be the first to go up and fight for us against the Canaanites?”
Judg 2:6 After Joshua had dismissed the Israelites, they went to take possession of the land, each to his own inheritance. 7 The people served the Lord throughout the lifetime of Joshua and of the elders who outlived him and who had seen all the great things the Lord had done for Israel. 8 Joshua son of Nun, the servant of the Lord, died at the age of a hundred and ten.
Judg 2:21 I will no longer drive out before them any of the nations Joshua left when he died. 23 The Lord had allowed those nations to remain; he did not drive them out at once by giving them into the hands of Joshua.
1 Kings 16:34 In Ahab’s time, Hiel of Bethel rebuilt Jericho. He laid its foundations at the cost of his firstborn son Abiram, and he set up its gates at the cost of his youngest son Segub, in accordance with the word of the Lord spoken by Joshua son of Nun.
1 Chron 7:27 Nun his son and Joshua his son.
Neh 8:17 The whole company that had returned from exile built booths and lived in them. From the days of Joshua son of Nun until that day, the Israelites had not celebrated it like this. And their joy was very great.
Acts 7:45 Yrs later, when Joshua led our ancestors in battle against the nations that God drove out of this land, the Tabernacle was taken with them into their new territory & it stayed there until the X of King David NLT
Heb 4:8 For if Joshua had given them rest, God would not have spoken later about another day.
JOSHUA: THE PERSON FOR THE CALL
Son. Joshua was "the son of Nun" (Joshua 1:1). This role of a son was, of course, the first role Joshua had in life.
The mentions of his sonship. Thirty times in the Bible, Joshua is mentioned as a "son"—specifically the "son of Nun" (the KJV spells "Nun" with an "o" in 1Chron 7:27). Because of Joshua's character over the years, these thirty mentions of him as Nun's son are an honor for Nun. Joshua was the kind of person who brought honor, not disgrace, to his parents.
The meaning of his names. When Joshua was born, he was named Oshea (the KJV also spells it "Hoshea" in one reference to Joshua [Deut 32:44] The name means "salvation." Moses was the one who changed Joshua's name from Oshea to Joshua: "And Moses called Oshea the son of Nun Jehoshua" (Numb 13:16). "Jehoshua" is usually abbreviated "Joshua." This new name means "Jehovah is salvation." "It is very significant that the name 'Joshua' is the same as the name that our blessed Lord bore here on earth. Jesus is the anglicized Greek form of Joshua . . . and we may see in this Joshua of the OT, a type of the Jesus of the NT.
The matter of his birth order. The significance of Joshua's birth order which we particularly note here is its relationship to the final plague upon Egypt. According to 1 Chron 7:27, Joshua was the firstborn of Nun. This meant that on the first Passover night in Egypt, it was essential that Joshua be protected by the blood of the lamb. (Exod 12:13). Joshua was protected by the blood of the lamb that night or he would not have become Moses' successor. This emphasizes the fact that an important credential in any age for serving God and conquering the enemies of our soul is to be protected by the blood of the Lamb, Jesus Christ, in soul salvation.
Slave. Joshua was born in Egypt when Israel was suffering under the cruel Egyptian slavery. Hence, Joshua knew all about the crack of the taskmaster's whip and the weary bodies and the unjust and oppressive orders that were the continual lot of the Israeli slaves in Egypt. He saw the suffering Egypt inflicted upon the Jews and doubtless experienced much of it himself.
Soldier. The first appearance of Joshua in the Bible is about Joshua as a soldier. It had to do with Israel's war with Amalek near Mount Sinai. When Israel arrived at Rephidim near Mount Sinai a few months after their exodus from Egypt, the Amalekites attacked the Israelites. Moses then appointed Joshua as Israel's military leader to conduct the war against the Amalekites. "And Moses said unto Joshua, Choose us out men, and go out, fight with Amalek" (Exod 17:9).
A proven soldier. Moses would certainly not appoint Joshua to head up the military unless Joshua had already proven somewhere and at sometime that he could do the job.
A perceptive soldier. Moses ordered Joshua to "Choose" (Exodus 17:9) men for the army to fight Amalek. Hence, Joshua was in charge of the draft. He was responsible for putting the right men in the military. To choose the right men meant that he had to be perceptive. He had to be able to discern the military abilities and qualities of men. Lack of perception would have filled Israel's army with incompetent men which would have been disastrous for Israel in the battle against Amalek
A prompt soldier. Perhaps the most important trait of Joshua which we learn about him in this first mention of him in Scripture is that he knew how to obey orders. "Joshua did as Moses had said to him" (Exod 17:10). His obedience was prompt—which is true obedience. As soon as Moses commanded, Joshua obeyed as a good soldier does.
A promoted soldier. Joshua was very successful in his military work against the Amalekites (v. 13 As a result, Joshua and his troops were able to crush the army of Amalek]). His success, not surprisingly, was followed by a promotion. The promotion was from God. "And the Lord said unto Moses, Write this for a memorial in a book, and rehearse it in the ears of Joshua: for I will utterly put out the remembrance of Amalek from under heaven" (Exod 17:14). The fact that God ordered Moses to review this Amalek war with Joshua is a "plain hint of his [Joshua's] future work as an appointed instrument to execute Divine vengeance upon His foes" (Pink). While neither Moses nor Joshua realized at this time that this order from God was given because Joshua would replace Moses, we can still see the promotion from God in the order. Joshua did a faithful job as the appointed military leader in this battle with Amalek, so God began to promote him to a higher office. This promotion teaches us a lesson we have already seen in our study of Joshua. It says that if we are faithful in the lesser duties, we will be promoted to greater duties. Joshua was faithful in subduing the Amalekites; therefore, he was later given the job of subduing all of Canaan. Be faithful in the lesser duties and God will entrust you with greater duties.
Servant: In the first verse of the book of Joshua, Joshua is described as the "servant" of Moses. Three other times the same Hebrew word is used to describe the fact that Joshua was Moses' servant. Another place in Scripture describes Joshua's servant position as "which standeth before thee [Moses]" (Deut 1:38 Instead, your assistant, Joshua son of Nun, will lead the people into the land. Encourage him as he prepares to enter it.). That same description is used by Elijah to express his servant relationship with God— "before whom I stand" (1 Kings 17:1). It speaks of one's readiness to serve another. It says you are standing close by ready for orders. Joshua, like Elisha (1 Kings 19:21), was a servant to his successor for a number of years before he took over his successor's position. And in this position as Moses' servant, Joshua displayed some important character traits. All of these aspects of character are important credentials for promotion in God's service and for conquering the evils of Canaan.
Humility. The first mention of Joshua as Moses' servant is found in Exodus 24:13 So Moses and his assistant Joshua climbed up the mountain of God.. This comes shortly after Joshua, as Israel's military chief, led Israel to victory over Amalek. You would think that after being appointed to such a high position as the head of Israel's army and then being so successful in the appointment, that we would be reading about Joshua's servants, not about Joshua being a servant. But not so. Rather, we read of Joshua being a servant. This would require a great deal of humility for Joshua. But Joshua had that humility. It requires much character to perform well in the lowly after you have been in high position. Joshua passed the humility test with flying colors. We also must pass the humility test if we are going to serve God well and conquer the evils of Canaan. Pride brings defeat, not victory. But humility knows the way to victory.
Honesty. In his position as a servant, Joshua revealed well his trustworthiness. When Moses went up into Mount Sinai for the first forty-day stay, he took Joshua with him (Exodus 24:13). Somewhere on the way up the mount, Moses had to leave Joshua alone as Moses went on to be alone with God to receive the wonderful revelations from God. Thus Joshua was left alone on the mount for forty days. "What a testing of his . . . fidelity was that!" (Pink). Aaron and the children of Israel in the plain below the mount did not do so well when they were left alone, however. They ended up engaging in gross idolatry and the licentious conduct it produced. What we are when we are alone really reveals our true character. Joshua's conduct when he was left alone on the mount certainly proved that he could be trusted. God can and will use that kind. But if you lack fidelity, your service for God will be extremely limited.
Hearing. When Moses and Joshua descended from the mount after Moses' first forty-day session with God on Sinai, they heard the noise of the idolatrous revelry that was going on in Israel's camp. "When Joshua heard the noise of the people as they shouted, he said unto Moses, There is a noise of war in the camp" (Exodus 32:17). But Moses said, "It is not the voice of them that shout for mastery, neither is it the voice of them that cry for being overcome: but the noise of them that sing do I hear" (Exodus 32:18). Though Joshua did not hear as distinctly as Moses, He heard evil. His hearing could discern evil. Moses simply defined what kind of evil it was.
Holiness. We have already seen that Joshua had good spiritual qualities, but the holiness of his heart prior to his becoming Moses' successor is especially seen when he is in the position of a servant of Moses. Following the judgment of God upon the Israelites for their idolatrous venture, Moses moved the tent of meeting outside the camp where he went to speak with God. When Moses finished speaking with God at the tent, he left the tent to return to the camp where the Israelites were. "But his servant Joshua, the son of Nun . . . departed not out of the tabernacle [tent of meeting, not the great tabernacle described later in Exodus]" (Exodus 33:11 Inside the Tent of Meeting, the LORD would speak to Moses face to face, as a man speaks to his friend. Afterward Moses would return to the camp, but the young man who assisted him, Joshua son of Nun, stayed behind in the Tent of Meeting.). Remaining in the tabernacle said Joshua was not uncomfortable in the presence of God. He could tarry in the presence of God for a lengthy period of time without being bored. If you have little interest in holiness, God will have little interest in you serving in His vineyard.
Heroes. It was in his position as a servant of Moses that revealed who Joshua's heroes were. It came about when there was a serious problem in the camp during Israel's stay in the wilderness. The problem resulted in Moses being given seventy men to share the load with him. These men in evidencing their spiritual enduement for the job did some spontaneous prophesying (forthtelling more than foretelling, preaching more than predicting) in the camp. When several men (Eldad and Medad) whose new position Joshua was unaware of began to prophesy, Joshua protested to Moses: "Joshua . . . said, My lord Moses, forbid them" (Numbers 11:28). Joshua's protest, though unwarranted as he would soon discover, revealed that Joshua was very attached to Moses and, thus, protective of Moses' honor ("Enviest thou for my sake"-[Numbers 11:29 But Moses replied, "Are you jealous for my sake? I wish that all the LORD's people were prophets, and that the LORD would put his Spirit upon them all!"]). In today's terms we would say Moses was Joshua's hero and role model
Superior. When Moses selected the men to spy out Canaan, God told Moses the men were to be "every one a ruler" (Numbers 13:2 "Send men to explore the land of Canaan, the land I am giving to Israel. Send one leader from each of the twelve ancestral tribes."). Moses obeyed, and each of the twelve spies were "heads of the children of Israel" (Numbers 13:3). Since Joshua was one of the twelve men selected by Moses to spy out Canaan, it meant he had superior position in the camp. He was the head (or one of the heads) of the tribe of Ephraim (Numbers 13:8). Joshua's grandfather, Elishama, had been the chief of the tribe of Ephraim (Numb 10:22, 1 Chron 7:26,27) when Israel came out of Egypt and began their march in the wilderness. Whether he was still the chief and Joshua a subordinate ruler under him or whether Joshua was the chief now is incidental. The point here is that Joshua had a high position in his tribe—if not the top position at least one of the highest. Being a superior in the camp did not necessarily mean you were a good man as the ten unbelieving spies proved. But how well you handled that position did reveal what sort of man you were. Joshua handled the position well.
Spy. As mentioned above, Joshua was chosen to be one of the twelve men to spy out Canaan (Numbers 13:8). This duty revealed some more of Joshua's excellent character qualities. Stoutheartedness. To be willing to go into Canaan and spy out the land for forty days (Numbers 13:25) took a great deal of courage. The mission of the spies was dangerous. Each spy literally laid his life on the line to do this work. Joshua passed the courage test well. Thus, when he later sent the two men to spy out Jericho, he was not a hypocrite asking them to do something he did not have the courage to do. "All therefore whatsoever they bid you observe, that observe and do; but do not ye after their works: for they say, and do not" (Matthew 23:3).
Steadfastness. This excellent attribute of Joshua's character is probably the one that is most readily revealed from his spy work. When the twelve spies returned, ten of them gave "an evil report" (Numbers 13:32) to the people. But two of the spies, Joshua and Caleb, spoke the truth (Numbers 14:6–9). So Joshua, along with Caleb, demonstrated he would remain faithful to the truth. Later in the book of Numbers, this steadfastness is summed up as follows: "Caleb . . . and Joshua . . . have wholly followed the Lord" (Numbers 32:12). "Wholly followed the Lord" is a great commendation.
First, it was tested by popularity. Joshua and Caleb were in the minority. In the spy group they were outnumbered ten to two. Then, as we will see more about next, their report was not popular with the people, either. But in spite of that, Joshua and Caleb stood steadfast for the truth. Popularity was not the principle that guided him. He could stand alone—a prerequisite for being a Christian leader Second, it was tested by persecution. Because the congregation did not like the message of Joshua and Caleb, "all the congregation bade stone them with stones" (Numbers 14:10). Not only did Joshua and Caleb experience lack of popularity, but they also experienced some rough persecution. But that did not change them. They abode faithful in their commitment to the truth. Thankfully, God intervened and delivered Joshua and Caleb from being stoned. "The glory of the Lord appeared in the tabernacle of the congregation before all the children of Israel" and stopped the attempt to stone them. But had God not delivered them, it was evident they would have perished before they would have compromised. Seniority. Because of his faithfulness in the spying work, Joshua was one of the two oldest men of the Israelites to cross Jordan and enter the land of Canaan. When Joshua died, he was either the oldest man or second oldest man (if Caleb was alive and was older) then living in Israel. This came about because of the judgment of God upon the Israelites for giving honor to the evil report of the ten spies instead of to the good report of the two spies and thus refusing to enter Canaan as God commanded. God said to the rebellers, "Your carcases shall fall in this wilderness . . . from twenty years old and upward, which have murmured against me . . . ye shall not come into the land, concerning which I sware to make you dwell therein, save Caleb the son of Jephunneh, and Joshua the son of Nun" (Numbers 14:29,30). Longevity is not always an indication of godly living nor is dying young always an indication of ungodliness, but longevity was certainly a testimony of godliness in the case of Joshua (and also Caleb). Joshua's age was a living testimony to the Israelites of his obedience to God. His seniority spoke of sanctified living.
THE PARTICULARS OF THE CALL
Preparation. Before Joshua became Moses' successor, he was given some forty years of specific preparation. Of course, Joshua's whole life could be said to be a time of preparation for the task, for God guides all our lives in such a way that He is preparing us day by day for what's ahead in His service. But specific preparation began for Joshua at least as far back as the time Israel was in the Mount Sinai area. There Joshua got experience as the general of the army. There God ordered Moses to review the war facts with Joshua. And there Joshua became a servant of Moses, a task he had for over thirty-eight years. Being Moses' servant gave Joshua some good on-the-job training. It gave him a close view of the day-today work that faced Moses in his leadership position. The lengthy preparation given Joshua to be Moses' successor emphasizes that much preparation is often required for service for God. This, however, does not go over well with the flesh. The flesh does not like the day after day work, practice, instruction, and study that is necessary to prepare one adequately for a position or task ahead. But lengthy preparation is a must if we are to succeed in the task. When Joshua took over for Moses, Scripture says "Joshua . was full of the spirit of wisdom" (Deut 34:9). You do not become "full of the spirit of wisdom" overnight! And Joshua needed to be "full of the spirit of wisdom," for he was taking on a huge task. He had some enormous shoes to fill in taking Moses' place. No wonder he was given so much preparation for it. Moses himself was given such a lengthy preparation for his task that he was eighty before he took over the task of leading the Israelites. Joshua could easily have been the same age when he succeeded Moses. Putting people in spiritual positions too quickly hurts both them and God's work. Paul warns about putting a "novice [young convert]" (1 Timothy 3:6) in office in the church. Preparation is vital if we expect to serve God successfully.
Supplication. That which initiated the revealing of the fact that Joshua was indeed to be Moses' successor was the supplication of Moses to God for a successor: "And Moses spake unto the Lord, saying, Let the Lord, the God of the spirits of all flesh, set a man over the congregation, which may go out before them, and which may go in before them, and which may lead them out, and which may bring them in; that the congregation of the Lord be not as sheep which have no shepherd" (Numbers 27:15–17 Then Moses said to the LORD, 16 "O LORD, the God of the spirits of all living things, please appoint a new leader for the community. 17 Give them someone who will lead them into battle, so the people of the LORD will not be like sheep without a shepherd."). Moses made this supplication right after God had reaffirmed that Moses would not be permitted to lead the Israelites into the Promised Land which meant Israel was going to need a new leader. Moses' prayer indicated that he did not have Joshua particularly in mind before he prayed. This may surprise us, but it is not a bad reflection upon Moses. Joshua himself may not even have thought of himself as a candidate for Moses' successor. Being of a humble spirit, Joshua would doubtless think of others as more likely to take Moses' place. "Joshua may have joined [in Moses' prayer], thinking all the while that Caleb, the lion-hearted, or Phinehas the priest [his gallantry is recorded in Numbers 25], or one of the sons of Moses, might take his place" (F. B. Meyer).
Revelation After Moses prayed for a successor, (Numbers 27:18 The LORD replied, "Take Joshua son of Nun, who has the Spirit in him, and lay your hands on him.). The Word of God may not spell out the exact name or decision or calling you are to make or have as it did in the case of Moses and Joshua. But it will provide plenty of principles in both precepts and recorded experiences to give us an adequate guide for knowing the will of God in our lives. Be well acquainted with God's Word and you will be well acquainted with God's will.
Ordination. It is not necessary to have a formal public service to confirm the will of God in every situation or calling, but when the calling is a significant and public one, public services are wise and helpful and give due honor to the will of God. Thus in the case of Joshua, a public ceremony was understandably decreed by God to make known to the congregation in a solemn way that Joshua was to be Moses' successor when Moses died. God said, "Take thee Joshua the son of Nun, a man in whom is the spirit, and lay thine hand upon him; and set him before Eleazar the priest, and before all the congregation; and give him a charge in their sight. And thou shalt put some of thine honor upon him, that all the congregation of the children of Israel may be obedient . . . And Moses did as the Lord commanded him" (Numbers 27:18–20,22).
The laying on of the hands and The charge. In Joshua's ordination, both charges were given by Moses. Deut 31 records both the charge Moses gave the congregation and to the candidate.
First, the charge to the congregation. The message Moses gave to the congregation (which is repeated several times in Deut 31) had at least four points. (1) Moses spoke of the leader of the congregation. The congregation was informed that Joshua was to be their new leader (Deut 31:3). (2) Moses spoke of the land. He said God would give the land of Canaan to the Israelites under the leadership of Joshua. (3) Moses spoke of the life which the Israelites were to exhibit. He exhorted the people to "Be strong and of a good courage, fear not, nor be afraid of them" (Deut 31:6). Their life was not to be one of fear and weakness but one of courage and strength.
(4) Moses spoke of the Lord. "The Lord thy God, he it is that doth go with thee: he will not fail thee, nor forsake thee" (Deut 31:6). The message about the Lord was to help them have the kind of life he had just exhorted them to have.
Second, the charge to the candidate. After addressing the congregation, Moses then spoke to Joshua and "gave him a charge, as the Lord commanded" (Numbers 27:23). Much of this message to Joshua will be repeated by God Himself as we will see in our next chapter. We note three main points in Moses' message to Joshua. (1) Moses spoke of Joshua's attitude. "Moses called unto Joshua, and said unto him, in the sight of all Israel, Be strong and of a good courage . . . fear not, neither be dismayed" (Deut 31:7,8). This exhortation was much like what he told the Israelites their life should be like. Joshua was not to be weak and fearful, but strong, brave, and steadfast. (2) Moses spoke of Joshua's assignment. "Thou must go with this people [as their leader] unto the land which the Lord hath sworn unto their fathers . . and thou shalt cause them to inherit it" (Deut 31:7). Preachers need to be reminded of their duty when preached to at an ordination service. Many preachers evidence they do not know their duty today or else they do not want to do it. (3) Moses spoke of the assistance Joshua would have in doing his work: "The Lord, he it is that doth go before thee; he will be with thee, he will not fail thee, neither forsake thee" (Deut 31:8). Moses' message to Joshua did not minimize the difficulties ahead, but neither did it minimize the dynamic (God's power) at hand.
Commencement of Duty Joshua 1
The book of Joshua is a record of the conquering of Canaan by Israel under the leadership of Joshua, Moses' successor. It is not a history of Joshua's entire life as some may think because of the title of the book, but it is only a history of his leadership of Israel as Moses' successor in which he led Israel into possession of the Promised Land. Some of the history of Joshua's life will be found in the earlier books of the Bible, as well as in the book of Joshua, which we noted in our last chapter.
Joshua's task as Israel's leader was a very difficult task. Besides becoming Moses' successor, a giant task in itself, he had to lead Israel in conquering a land that was filled with strong, war-like nations who greatly outnumbered the Israelites. But as is seen even in our present day in Israel's conflicts with the Arabs, when God is with Israel, numbers do not matter. God can win as easily with one as with a million.
The commencement of Joshua's duty as Israel's leader and as the conqueror of Canaan opens the book of Joshua and comprises chapter one of this book named after Israel's great general.
A. THE MOMENT OF THE COMMENCEMENT
1. Sovereign Moment The moment when Joshua was to commence his duty was chosen by God. It is important to both recognize and respect that fact. He "spake" (v. 1) to get things started. "No work, however high and holy, should be undertaken without the express intimation that it is God's pleasure we should attempt it". We must honor God's sovereignty in our life. We are God's servants, not His master. He gives the orders; we do the orders—not vice versa. We should not procrastinate when the orders come, but neither should we presume before the orders come—a truth we emphasized in the first chapter of our book. Acting according to our own will, instead of God's will, makes fools of us and causes failure in our work. Wait till God commands; then wait no longer. Joseph Parker said, "Do not force the gate open that is closed: there is plenty to do upon this side of the way; in due time the gate will fall back as if an angel invisible had touched it, and by the falling back of the gate know of a surety your opportunity has come."
2. Sorrowful Moment The orders to Joshua to commence his duty came "after the death of Moses" (v. 1). God told Joshua, "Moses my servant is dead; now therefore arise, go over this Jordan" (v. 2). We note two important lessons from the fact that the moment of commencement was at a sorrowful moment.
Attitude about sorrow. After Moses died, a great void was left in the camp for Israel. For the Israelites, and especially for Joshua, losing Moses may have seemed like the end of the road. He was the only leader they had ever known. From the time they were born or from the time they were youngsters coming out of Canaan, Moses had always been with them. How could they survive without him? This attitude prevails among many of us. When some loved one or great one passes from the scene, we have a tendency to despair and think we are beyond repair. We often say (like many Israelites might have said and felt after Moses' death), "Can there be any 'after' under such a circumstance?" (Parker). But the call of Joshua to commence his duty at such a time gives us a much better attitude about sorrow. It tells us sorrow is not the end. It says sorrow does not mean we can go on no longer. "Moses the servant is dead, but God the Master is not" . God's workers may die, but that does not end God's work! In fact, "God will change hands, to show that whatever instruments he uses he is not tied to any".
Antidote for sorrow. With Moses dead, God did not tell Joshua, "Now therefore mourn (or disband, or return to Egypt)." Rather, God said, "Now therefore arise, go over this Jordan" (v. 2). One of the best antidotes for our sorrow is constructive activity. But if instead we continue to mourn about our losses and problems, we will only multiply our sorrow. Doing our duty "is God's Gospel to the dejected, it is God's medicine for those who suppose themselves to be wounded incurably" (Parker).
When we are in a state of sorrow, we certainly do not feel like getting up and getting busy with our work. But God's command is "arise and go" anyway. Do as He says, and you will discover that the energy will once again come back. But do not sit and stew continually over your loss, or you will soon have more reasons for sorrowing.
3. Strategic Moment. The order for Joshua to commence his duty of leading Israel into Canaan came at just the right moment. Israel was ready (finally), Canaan was ready (fear), and Jordan was ready (flooded). God had all the circumstances ready to display His power and glory for bringing Israel into the Promised Land.
Israel was ready. Nearly forty years earlier, God had ordered Israel to enter Canaan, but they rebelled then (Numbers 13,14). They were not ready to enter Canaan though they should have been. Therefore, God left them in the wilderness for a total of forty years until all the rebellers (except Joshua and Caleb) had died. Now that the rebellers were all dead, a much different attitude prevailed in the camp. Now the Israelites were ready to enter Canaan. They did not rebel when Joshua commanded them to move forward. With the rebels dead, the work could now move forward which it could not do nearly forty years earlier. Sometimes this same thing happens in church. People have to die before God can do a work in a church. Do not be one of those members who impedes progress in God's work. God may move up the date of your funeral to get you out of the way so He can do a work.
Canaan was ready. When Joshua sent two spies to Jericho (which he did shortly after God spoke to him about commencing his duty—see Joshua 2), the spies found out that fear possessed the heart of the Canaanites. Rahab, in whose house the spies hid, told the spies that "your terror is fallen upon us" (Joshua 2:9). God had promised that this would happen. He said He would "put the dread of thee and the fear of thee upon the nations" (Deut 2:25, Deut 11:25 and Ex 23:27). This fear would not stop the Canaanites from fighting, of course; but it would hinder their fighting. God had readied the Canaanites for Israel's invasion (and "it would put courage into the most cowardly Israelite to hear how their enemies were dispirited"-[Henry]). The time was ripe to engage the Canaanites in battle.
Jordan was ready. God instructed Joshua, "Go over this Jordan" (v. 2). The Jordan at that time was flooded (Joshua 3:15). But this difficult circumstance provided more opportunity for God to be glorified than a Jordan River with not much water in it. God sometimes waits for circumstances to become very adverse before He steps in to help us. He does this in order to enhance the greatness of the display of His power. This should encourage us when we see circumstances worsening. At such times God has not forsaken us, He is just waiting until He can display His power in a mighty way. Though a shallow Jordan appeals to us, for it can be waded across or forded, it is a flooded Jordan that will give more glory to God.
B. THE MANDATE FOR THE COMMENCEMENT The mandate for Joshua to commence his duty as Israel's leader and as the conqueror of Canaan came to him via the Word of God—the spoken Word of God in his case. The mandate was composed not only of precepts but also of promises. The promises were to encourage doing the precepts. Pink rightly said, "God's promises are not meant to set aside His precepts, but rather are given to encourage us to do [them] with all our hearts and might whatever He has bidden us." And another likewise said, "Every promise of Scripture is intended not as a sedative, but as a stimulus to exertion".
1. Precepts in the Mandate. There are at least seven different precepts in this mandate from God to Joshua to commence his duty as Israel's leader and as the conqueror of Canaan.
His moving. "Arise, go over this Jordan, thou, and all this people, unto the land which I do give to them" (v. 2). This first precept was certainly not an easy one; for the Jordan was flooded (as we just noted above), there were no bridges across the river, and Joshua had no boats to move several million people that God ordered Joshua to take across the Jordan with him. Furthermore, crossing Jordan in view of the watchful eyes of the enemy upon the other shore presented a real peril, for "to cross a stream in the face of the enemy is a ticklish operation, even for modern armies" (Maclaren). God's "commandments are not grievous [burdensome]" (1 John 5:3), but that does not mean they are easy. Rather, they are often very difficult. However, the difficulty of God's commands simply provides a good test to strengthen our faith. Thus the command to cross the Jordan to go to Canaan was "a trial to the faith of Joshua, whether he would give orders to make preparation for passing the river when there was no visible way of getting over it" (Henry). To Joshua's credit, he passed this test with flying colors. This precept illustrates that "at the outset of great spiritual undertakings, we are often confronted with difficulties far beyond our power to overcome" . At such a time, therefore, we need to be more concerned about the source of the command and the validity of it than about our own strength and skill to do the task; for if God is indeed commanding us, the ability to do the command will come when we need it. The difficulty of the command to move across the Jordan emphasizes the fact that when God promotes you to a high post in His army (as he did Joshua), He will give you work commensurate of your position. God gives big tasks to high positions. You may have more honor with a high position; but your responsibilities will be greater, too. Your response to your task will quickly expose the character of your faith. In Joshua's case, it only showed his great faith. He never flinched. He did not argue or protest. He simply prepared to do what God told him to do even though the task looked impossible. Such faith makes great leaders. It is what made Joshua such a great general for God's army.
His might. Three times God commanded Joshua, "Be strong" (Joshua 1:6,7,9). Does this mean that Joshua was weak? Sometimes when commands come from God like this, they do mean there is a problem. But this was not the case here with Joshua. He may have momentarily felt weak when taking over his new duties, but Joshua was a strong man spiritually—which the command is primarily talking about. He demonstrated his spiritual strength repeatedly in the previous forty years which we saw in our last chapter. But just because you are strong does not mean you should not be exhorted again to be strong. We all need to be continually exhorted to maintain our strength through daily exercise in the Word of God and prayer. Joshua was facing strong enemies in Canaan, and he needed to be strong to overcome them. In like manner we face strong enemies in our Christian walk and need the same exhortation. Paul gave this exhortation to the Ephesians when he said, "Be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might" (Ephesians 6:10).
This command to "be strong" and the command to "be courageous" are found together a number of times in Scripture. Moses gave the double command to the people (Deut 31:6) and to Joshua (Deut 31:7,23). In our text God gave it three times to Joshua, and the two and a half tribes gave it once to Joshua. Later Joshua gave it to Israel's men of war (Joshua 10:25), David gave it to Solomon several times (1 Chronicles 22:13; 28:20), and Hezekiah gave it to the war captains in their fight against Assyria (2 Chronicles 32:7). This double command is always a good exhortation to help us fight the enemies of our soul.
His manliness. God not only told Joshua three times to be strong; but, as we noted above, He also told him three times to be courageous (Joshua. 1:6,7,9). Two of those times, God said to be of "good" courage (Joshua 1:6,9), and one of those times He said to be "very courageous" (v. 7). You can actually say that God told Joshua four times to be courageous, for in a negative way God repeated the command to be courageous when He told Joshua "be not afraid" (v. 9). We need to be strong, but we also need to be courageous. It is possible to be strong and yet lack courage. "There may be a strong coward" (Maclaren). As with the "be strong" command, commanding Joshua to be of good courage did not indicate that Joshua was walking around with trembling knees because of fear about the task ahead. The text indicates just the opposite. But he still would be helped by exhortations to be courageous, for it is easy to lose courage when adverse circumstances confront you—and Joshua had some very adverse circumstances confronting him in the flooded Jordan and in the strong Canaanite enemies. When Peter took his eyes off the Lord and focused chiefly on the adverse circumstances confronting him, he went from being bold to being "afraid" in his experience of walking on water (Matt 14:28–30). So the command to be courageous was justified. The second of the commands to be courageous comes in a context that will especially stress moral courage. God told Joshua to be "very courageous that thou mayest observe to do according to all the law" (v. 7). Pink said, "There is a moral courage as well as a physical, and not all possessing the latter are endowed with the former. How many who flinched not in the face of the enemy's fire, were afraid to be seen reading God's Word!" We need courage not only for dangerous physical tasks but also to stand true to God.
His morale. The matter of morale was addressed in the precepts when God commanded Joshua, "Neither be thou dismayed" (v. 9). There would be times when the work would become depressing and discouraging and, as a result, one would want to give up and quit. No work or endeavor escapes such times, and it is when these times come that we need to remember the "neither be thou dismayed" command. Joshua faced this situation not long after crossing the Jordan and came close to losing his morale for going on. That experience occurred after Israel had suffered the humiliating and tragic defeat at Ai. Joshua cried to God and said, (Joshua 7:7 Then Joshua cried out, "Sovereign LORD, why did you bring us across the Jordan River if you are going to let the Amorites kill us? If only we had been content to stay on the other side!). Dismay characterized that prayer to God. But Joshua quickly recovered after God responded to Joshua's prayer. This tells us the important truth that dismay can be removed through prayer and through getting into the Word of God. Leave out prayer and the Word, and dismay will overcome you.
His manual. When Joshua commenced his duty as Moses' successor and conqueror of Canaan, he had a manual to guide his conduct, too. God told Joshua that the manual to guide his conduct was the "book of the law" (v. 8) which we know as the first five books of the Bible and which is sometimes called the books of Moses or the Pentateuch or the law of Moses or simply the law. Joshua's conduct was to conform to "all the law, which Moses my servant commanded thee" (v. 7) and in a wider sense to the "book of the law" (v. 8). Joshua was not to turn from it "to the right hand or to the left" (v. 7). Joshua was not above the law. "No man, however dignified his position, is above the Law of God" (Pink).
His mouth. "This book of the law shall not depart out of thy mouth" (v. 8). This means for one thing that Joshua was to have the Word of God on his lips in general conversation. The Word was to be so much a part of him that even his casual talk would be flavored by the Word of God. For another thing, it meant that "All his orders to the people, and his judgments upon appeals made to him, must be consonant [in agreement] to the law of God; upon all occasions he must speak according to this rule" (Henry). Many of Israel's leaders in later years did not abide by this command. Their mouth spewed forth orders and proclamations contrary to the Word of God.
His meditation. In this mandate we have another precept regarding the book of the law. This precept commanded Joshua to "meditate therein day and night" (v. 8). Matthew Henry noted that "If ever any man's business might have excused him from meditation, and other acts of devotion, one would think Joshua's might at this time." But, nevertheless, God gave the order. How well this illustrates the primacy which the Word of God is to have with all of us. We may say we are too busy to read and study the Word of God much. But you cannot be any busier or have any more important responsibilities than Joshua. Yet he was ordered to meditate on the Word "day and night." Some folk will accept the fact that they ought to read the Bible regularly, but they are satisfied to simply take a peek at the Bible each day. The five minute devotional is popular today, and books have even been written to accommodate this sort of thing. But such attitudes are a travesty of what God wants us to do. We are to be filled with the Scriptures. And we have such an advantage over Joshua in this matter, for Joshua only had the first five books of the Bible with which to fill his heart and mediate thereon—but we have sixty-six books. Few, however, capitalize on this great spiritual advantage. Psalm 1 says that if you want to be happy ("blessed") you will need to meditate with the Word of God "day and night" (Psalm 1:1,2). "The Christian who would conquer in his conflict with the powers of evil must be diligent in his study of God's Word, and careful to frame his life by its precepts" (Lias). Many preachers need to take to heart this command given Joshua. Of all people, the preacher ought to lead the way in meditating on the Word. But many preachers spend very little time in studying the Scriptures. They are so busy running here and there that they have little time to do what is most important in their life. That explains the barrenness of many pulpits today.
2. Promises in the Mandate. God frequently accompanies His commands with promises. And we need to note that it is promises not explanations that often accompany the command. Promises stimulate our faith more than explanations. Explanations appeal to the intellect, but they do not give as much opportunity to exercise our faith as promises do. There is nothing wrong in itself with intellectual achievements, and God does not exalt ignorance. But intellectualism without faith makes a mess of any life. And "without faith it is impossible to please him [God]" (Heb 11:6). Hence, the Divine emphasis is justifiably on faith. Some wonderful promises can be seen in this mandate God gave Joshua to commence his duty as Israel's leader and as the conqueror of Canaan. They are about the possession of the land, the power from the Lord, the presence of the Lord, the partitioning of the land, and the prosperity from the Lord.
The possession of the land. The first promise given Joshua in the mandate was about the possession of the land of Canaan. To examine this promise, we note five aspects of this promise and list them under the words free, folk, feet, faithfulness, and fullness.
Free. Twice this promise specifically stated that the land was a gift. "I do give" (v. 2) and "have I given" (v. 3). The land was free for the taking. This underscores the fact that Israel did not deserve the land. In like manner, soul salvation is also a gift; for we do not deserve it.
Folk. The possession of the land was for the folk who are called the Israelites. "I do give [the land] to them, even to the children of Israel" (v. 2). The Arabs have made their claim on the land and desire to move Israel off the land. But it is Israel's land! When Christ comes back as Israel's Messiah, all the world will not only know this truth but will unequivocally submit to it.
Feet. This speaks of responsibility. The promise said, "Every place that the sole of your foot shall tread upon, that have I given unto you" (v. 3). Though the land was a gift, Israel had some responsibility about obtaining the gift. "Assurances of Divine assistance must never be regarded as nullifying our accountability or as rendering needless the putting forth of our utmost endeavors . . . If our response to God's promises be that of sloth and carelessness, that is proof we have received them carnally and not spiritually" (Pink).
Faithfulness. This promise about the land emphasizes the faithfulness of God's Word. God said He was giving them the land "as I said unto Moses" (v. 3). God not only spoke the promise to Moses, but He also spoke it to the patriarchs Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. God keeps His Word! This is both an encouragement to the godly and a warning to the ungodly.
Fullness. The borders of the Promised Land are given so we can see the fullness of the promise of God about the land. "From the wilderness [south border] and this Lebanon [north border] even unto the great river, the river Euphrates [east border], all the land of the Hittites, and unto the great [Mediterranean] sea [west border] toward the going down of the sun, shall be your coast" (v. 4). These borders indicate that the land given Israel far exceeds the land west of the Jordan, for this promise also includes much land east of the Jordan—including some land of the present day nations of Iraq and Jordan. Because of sin, Israel has never yet possessed all of this territory. The most they possessed was during the reigns of David and Solomon when the borders touched part of the Euphrates (northeastern part). Under Christ, Israel will, however, possess all the land. Without Christ none of us can ever possess all God wants us to have.
The power from the Lord. The promise in the mandate that said Israel would possess the land looked great, but it was then possessed by strong nations. However, God addressed that problem by promising Joshua that "there shall not any man be able to stand before thee all the days of thy life" (v. 5). This promise of God's power to help Joshua and the Israelites is also seen in God's instructive question, "Have not I commanded thee?" (v. 9). This question is simply an indirect way of reminding Joshua that since God has commanded, He will, of course, provide the capability; for when God commands, God enables. If we are certain of God's precepts, we can be certain of God's power.
The presence of the Lord. Another blessed promise in the mandate was the one which promised God's presence with Joshua. "As I was with Moses, so I will be with thee: I will not fail thee, nor forsake thee . . . the Lord thy God is with thee whithersoever thou goest" (Joshua. 1:5,9). God's presence is such an encouragement. Therefore, when He promises us His presence, we are inspired to serve. Christ closed the great commission with, "Lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world" (Matthew 28:20). The great commission was a challenging one, but the promise of Christ's presence inspired the disciples to obey it. The value of God's presence was instructively emphasized by Moses when at Mount Sinai. There he said to God, "If thy presence go not with me, carry us not up hence" (Exodus 33:15). Moses had no interest in going anywhere without God being with him. What a noble attitude, for it wisely gives great value to God's presence. Value God's presence greatly. If God will not go with you, do not go; and stay away from those places where God's presence is not evidenced.
The partitioning of the land. God promised Joshua that "unto this people shalt thou divide for an inheritance the land, which I sware unto their fathers to give them" (v. 6). This promise was another assurance for conquering the land. It said Joshua would be successful in battle against the Canaanites, for he would divide the spoils of victory for the Israelites. To divide the land would be a fitting honor for Joshua. He had been faithful (unlike all the other spies except Caleb) some thirty-eight years earlier in giving a true report of the land and in urging the people to possess the land as God commanded. Those who are faithful in service to God will in due time be given fitting rewards for their service. Scripture helps us see in this dividing of the land by Joshua a foreshadowing of our Savior. The prophet Isaiah said of Christ, "Therefore will I divide him a portion with the great, and he shall divide the spoil with the strong; because he hath poured out his soul unto death; and he was numbered with the transgressors; and he bare the sin of many, and made intercession for the transgressors" (Isaiah 53:12).
The prosperity from the Lord. The promise in the mandate about prosperity is especially associated with faithfulness in obeying the Word and in meditating upon the Word. God said that obedience to the Word would mean that Joshua would "prosper whithersoever thou goest" (v. 7), and that if he faithfully meditated upon the Word and observed "to do according to all that is written therein . . . then thou shalt make thy way prosperous, and then thou shalt have good success" (v. 8). The word "prosperous" in verse 8 means Joshua would complete his task and assignment. The word "success" in verse 8, which is translated "prosper" in verse 7 (although it is a different word than the one translated "prosperous" in verse 8), means he will act prudently, wisely, skillfully, and hence successfully and prosperously in God's sight which is true prosperity. Calvin said, "Men never act skillfully except in so far as they allow themselves to be ruled by the Word of God." What inspiring promises God gave Joshua to accompany the precepts of the mandate. God is still doing that. When God gives us precepts, look for the promises to encourage the obeying of the precepts, for they are there. God's commandments come with God's commitment to bless the obedient soul.
C. THE MOBILIZING IN THE COMMENCEMENT After God gave Joshua the mandate to begin his work, Joshua "Then" (v. 10) began to implement the mandate by mobilizing the people to cross the Jordan River and enter Canaan. "Then" informs us of the promptness of Joshua's response to God's orders. Joshua could say with David, "I made haste, and delayed not to keep thy commandments" (Ps 119:60). This is the only way to obey. In fact, delay in obeying is disobedience. "Once a duty is discovered, it should be discharged. Peril attends the neglect of any acknowledged obligation" (Pink). Those who delay in obedience should not complain if God seems slow in answering their prayers. Many folk are so hypocritical in this matter. They expect God to act immediately when they give Him a request; but when He gives them a command, they think they can take their time about doing it. The action recorded in the last half of Joshua 1 which Joshua took to mobilize Israel for crossing Jordan and entering Canaan involved two messages. They are the message for the executive officers and the message for the eastern tribes.
1. The Message for the Executive Officers To examine Joshua's message to Israel's leaders, we will note the character and the contents of the message.
The character of the message. "Joshua commanded the officers" (v. 10). Joshua did not call the officers of the Israelites together to give them some advice or to seek their counsel or to have them vote on what to do. He called the leaders together to give them some orders. This does not make every Christian leader a dictator; but it does put them in a different category than just a negotiator or moderator. This truth needs more emphasis in our churches. If we are to have a disciplined church—and we need a disciplined church if we are going to have an effective church—there must be authority in the church. And that authority from a human standpoint begins with the pastor! He is God's Joshua in the church. To oppose a pastor's authority is to expose a rebellious heart. The command business is seen repeatedly in the first chapter of Joshua. God refers to Moses having earlier "commanded" Joshua (v. 7); God "commanded" Joshua (v. 9); Joshua "commanded" the officers (v. 10); the officers were to "command" the people (v. 11); the two and a half tribes were reminded about what Moses had earlier "commanded" them (v. 13); these same tribes promised they would do all that Joshua "commandest" them to do (v. 16); and they said that those who did not do as Joshua "commandest" (v. 18) should be put to death. With all its emphasis on commands, this chapter certainly will not encourage folk to leave out authority and orders and commands in the work of God. We cannot go to war against evil with a military that does not want commands and authority. But many in church oppose authority in church yet expect the church to war successfully against evil.
The contents of the message. The message Joshua gave the officers to give to the people was twofold in content. It spoke of preparation and it gave a promise.
First, the preparation. "Pass through the host, and command the people, saying, Prepare you victuals [game, meat]" (v. 11). The Israelites were to prepare a food supply. The word "victuals" in this text is a translation of a Hebrew word which means "Literally, game, the term being applied to meat obtained by hunting . . . Here it means food of any kind, but especially animal food" (Lias). This command indicated that the miraculous supplying of the manna was soon going to cease (which it did shortly after they had crossed the Jordan—see Joshua 5:12); and, therefore, Israel needed to have other supplies of food on hand.If the Israelites were to be strong to do their duty, they must have food to nourish their bodies. This is also very true spiritually. The Word of God is our spiritual food, and we must feed regularly on it if we are to be strong enough spiritually to successfully combat evil in our lives. The fact that the Israelites were to prepare food for their upcoming entrance of Canaan reminds us again that though God will work miracles for the Israelites in the crossing of Jordan and in some other ventures, yet He does not work miracles in things He has given us strength to do ourselves. God's miracles are not to make men lazy or irresponsible. The people could not part the Jordan to cross over to Canaan; but they most certainly could prepare food and, therefore, are ordered to do so.
Second, the promise. The command by Joshua was followed by a promise by Joshua which said, "For within three days ye shall pass over this Jordan, to go in to possess the land, which the Lord your God giveth you to possess it" (v. 11). We note three things about this promise.
(1) The promise exemplified God. We noted above that when God gave commandments, He often accompanied them with promises to encourage obedience to the commands. Joshua does the same with his promise. Would that we would all exemplify God in everything that we do.
(2) The promise exhibited faith in God. Joshua did not say they might cross over Jordan or they are to attempt to cross Jordan. No, Joshua said they "shall" cross over Jordan. This is the language of true faith.
(3) The promise also exalted God. Joshua said the land they were going to possess after they crossed over Jordan was given them by "the Lord your God." We must not lose sight of the source of our blessings lest we become proud and turn from God and His ways and defile ourselves.
2. The Message for the Eastern Tribes In mobilizing the Israelites to pass over the Jordan, Joshua had a special message for the two and a half tribes (Reuben, Gad, and the half tribe of Manasseh) who had already received their inheritance on the east side of Jordan. We will look at the reason for the message and the response to the message.
The reason for the message. The reason Joshua spoke to the two and a half tribes was to remind them of their obligation to help the other tribes conquer the land west of the Jordan. This reminder would, of course, inspire their mobilization for passing over the Jordan into Canaan. This reminder involved the obtainment of the land east of the Jordan by the two and a half tribes. Earlier Israel had in war defeated the inhabitants of Gilead on the east side of Jordan when Moses was still alive (Numb 21:10–35). The two and a half tribes saw the land was good for their needs so asked Moses if it could be their land. Moses approved their request but on the condition that they would help the other tribes fight for the land on the west side of Jordan (Numbers 32). Here Joshua reminds these two and a half tribes of "the word which Moses the servant of the Lord commanded" (v. 13) them concerning their land east of the Jordan and their obligation if they wanted to keep that land. The obligation the two and a half tribes had was to help conquer Canaan. They were obligated in at least three ways to help conquer Canaan: by agreement, assistance, and advantage.
First, they were obligated by agreement. They had agreed to Moses' commandment about their helping the other tribes fight for their land on the west side of Jordan (Numbers 32:17,18). They had, in fact, volunteered to help the other tribes (Numbers 32:16–18), and Moses made it into a command. When people make an agreement, they are to keep their word.
Second, they were obligated by assistance. The other Israelites had assisted the two and a half tribes in obtaining land on the east side of Jordan; therefore, it is only fair that the two and a half tribes give assistance to the rest of the Israelites in obtaining land on the west side of Jordan. Favor obligates. When someone has done you a favor, you are obligated to at least thank them, and also to return the favor when you can. Especially do we need to see this truth in regards to our relationship with God. How great have been His blessings to us. Therefore, how great is our obligation to be of service to Him.
Third, they were obligated by advantage. Because they were settled in their allotted land, they could easily help the other Israelites. "When God by his providence has given us rest, we ought to consider how we may honor him with the advantages of it, and what service we may do to our brethren who are unsettled, or not so well settled as we are" (Henry). God does not bless us so we can just sit and do nothing. He blesses us so we can be of service. Therefore, "when God has given us rest, we must take heed [beware] of slothfulness and of settling upon our lees"
The response to the message. The two and a half tribes' response to Joshua was a great one (some believe this response was by all the officers of all the tribes, but it is hard to make that interpretation without breaking the continuity of the text; but even if it did refer to all the officers, the message is going to be the same). The response from the two and a half tribes included a promise of obedience, a punishment for disobedience, a prayer for Divine help, and a precept of encouragement.
First, promise of obedience. The leaders of the two and a half tribes promised, "All that thou commandest us we will do, and whithersoever thou sendest us, we will go. According as we hearkened unto Moses in all things, so will we hearken unto thee" (vv. 16, 17). This was an excellent, encouraging, exceptional, and exemplary promise. (1) It was excellent in that they promised to obey completely. (2) It was encouraging, particularly to Joshua, in that Joshua had just taken over as Moses' successor and was issuing his first orders as Israel's new leader. The promise said Joshua could expect full cooperation. This would encourage any leader. (3) It was exceptional in that many Christian leaders experience just the opposite when they have come to the place of leadership. Many pastors, as an example, run into this problem soon after taking a new pastorate. The church says they want new leadership, but when the pastor comes on the field to provide that new leadership, the people often resist his every attempt to lead the church. This promise of obedience in our text says Joshua's experience was a blessed exception. (4) It was exemplary in that this promise is one we need to make to our Lord. We need to promise that we will obey Him completely. And we need to make the promise something more than just words. We, like the two and a half tribes, need to put the promise into deeds (Joshua 22:1–3).
Second, punishment for disobedience. The leaders of the two and a half tribes emphasized the importance of following Joshua's leadership by declaring judgment upon the disobedient. They said, "Whosoever he be that doth rebel against thy commandment, and will not hearken unto thy words in all that thou commandest him, he shall be put to death" (v. 18). This punishment is too strict for many, but it was a fitting one anyway. The strictness of it is justified by the military situation in which it was made. Israel was going to war, and in war it is always necessary that discipline be more severe. Life and death are involved in commands in war, so disobedience is more serious. Achan's disobedience resulted in his death, but it was a proper judgment for his disobedience caused a number of Israelites to die in battle. Of course, those who protest capital punishment will not understand the reasoning behind Achan's death. But they do not understand much about any moral reasoning.
Third, prayer for Divine help. The prayer of these leaders is found in verse 17 where they are recorded as saying to Joshua, "Only the Lord thy God be with thee, as he was with Moses" (v. 17). Their desire was that Joshua would experience the presence of God with him. This was something God had already promised to Joshua (v. 9), so the prayer of the two and a half tribes was in accord with God. "Prayers and supplications are to be made for all in authority [1 Tim 2:1,2]. And the best thing we can ask of God for our magistrates is that they may have the presence of God with them". If church members would pray like this for their pastor instead of "prey" on him, they would have a much better pastor.
Fourth, precept of encouragement. The leaders ended their message to Joshua with a precept to encourage him. "Only be strong and of good courage" (v. 18). We have already looked in detail at the meaning of these words when we studied the mandate God gave Joshua. In the manner in which they are given here, they constitute a pat on the back with a "go to it" encouragement. Their words were not a rebuke for Joshua for his not being strong or for his lacking courage. Neither were these words hypocritical speech. It "was advice in full accordance with their actions. They had gone the right way to strengthen Joshua by their instant submission to His will. They did not try to cheer him with words after having previously knocked the breath out of him with their deeds. Speech and conduct were in harmony, and lent each other force" (Adeney). Many Christian leaders know what it is to have people oppose them in every way then with a pious sounding voice tell them to cheer up and be faithful to the Lord. That was not the case here, however. It was simply a closing exhortation of encouragement to Joshua. It is commendable that some of the Israelites here encouraged Joshua. Earlier Moses had been exhorted by God to also "encourage him" (Deut 1:38) in his work of leading Israel into Canaan. We need more encouragers in the church today. We have too many of the other kind. Pastors, no matter how good they might be, still need encouragement. The battle never lets up; the flesh grows weary at times even in the best of men. Hence, they need to be encouraged. Try being an encourager of your pastor. You will be surprised at what good it will do for the pastor, the church, and even for you. And do not limit your encouraging to your pastor. Try encouraging others in the service of God, too. The results will be most gratifying. "Marvelous is the effect of an encouraging word!" .
XIII. Counsel for Israel Joshua 22–24 At the end of Joshua's life, he gave some excellent counsel to the Israelites which is recorded in the last three chapters of the book of Joshua. With his knowledge of God and his many years of experience in walking with God and communing with God, Joshua was a man very qualified to give counsel. Israel was much blessed to have him as their counselor and needed to heed his counseling. If you need counsel, seek out men of God like Joshua, whose life is a testimony of faithful, godly living and whose knowledge of the Word of God excels. In the last three chapters of the book of Joshua, three specific counseling sessions are recorded in which Joshua gave counsel to Israel. In the first of these three counseling sessions, Joshua counsels the soldiers of the two and a half tribes who settled east of the Jordan. In the other two counseling sessions, Joshua counsels the whole congregation of Israel. The first counseling session commemorates the soldiers (Joshua 22:1–8), the second session concerns apostasy (23), and the third session is a challenge for service (24).
A. THE COMMEMORATING OF SOLDIERS When the major fighting was over, Joshua called the soldiers of "the Reubenites, and the Gadites, and the half tribe of Manasseh" (Joshua 22:1) together to counsel them. These two and a half tribes had their inheritance on the east side of Jordan and had obtained it before Israel had crossed over the Jordan into Canaan. However, Moses had insisted that these two and a half tribes give aid to the other nine and a half tribes in conquering the land east of Jordan. This the two and a half tribes did. They sent some forty thousand troops (Joshua 4:12,13) to help fight in the conquering of the land west of Jordan. Now that the major warring is over and the land has been brought under Israel's control, the obligation of these two and a half tribes to fight in Canaan is over; and it is time for the forty thousand troops to return home. To send them home, Joshua called them together and gave them a short "mustering-out" speech which provided some good counsel for them. He dealt with four things in his counsel for them: the recognition of their performance, the release from their obligations, the rules for their life, and the rewards for their service
1. The Recognition of Their Performance. Joshua begins his counsel for these soldiers of the two and a half tribes by recognizing the excellence of their performance. Counsel can come in the form of praise, for praise of good things counsels what is good and worthy. Joshua's comments indicate that the soldiers of these eastern tribes performed their duties extremely well. Joshua's praise for them is so high that it is as if Joshua was presenting these soldiers with some very significant medals after battle. His praise is like Christ's "Well done, thou good and faithful servant" (Matthew 25:21), a compliment every saint should seek in their service for Jesus Christ.
Joshua praised the soldiers' performance in four specific areas. He praised their performance concerning their conformity to Moses, their compliance to Joshua, their commitment to their brethren, and their consecration to God.
Their conformity to Moses. "Ye have kept all that Moses the servant of the Lord commanded you" (Josh 22:2). Their obligation in helping the other tribes conquer Canaan was first stated by Moses (Numb 32:20–22). To the credit of the soldiers of the eastern tribes, they obeyed Moses' commands to the letter. They did "all" that Moses decreed. They conformed completely to his orders. Hence, they were men of their word; for they had told Moses, "Thy servants will do as my lord commandeth" (Numb 32:25). Oh, for more people whose word could be so trusted. But, alas, very few can be trusted today. Even professing Christians are not especially known for keeping their word. They make many promises, sign contracts, and speak marriage vows; but they do not keep them. We expect the world to be untrusting in their word, but it is a shame to God that one cannot trust the word of many who claim to be Christian.
Their compliance to Joshua. Joshua not only commended them for obeying Moses, but he also commended them for obeying Joshua. He said, "Ye . . . have obeyed my voice in all that I commanded you" (Joshua 22:2). This compliance to Joshua's commands shows the respect which the troops of the eastern tribes had for authority. They could have argued with Joshua that their agreement was made with Moses, not Joshua. But they did not do that. Instead when Moses died, they pledged their allegiance to Joshua, Moses' successor, by saying, "According as we hearkened unto Moses in all things, so will we hearken unto thee" (Joshua 1:17). They were bigger men than those who simply follow personalities. They were loyal to a cause—the cause of conquering Canaan. Generals may change, but the cause remained the same, and so the troops of the eastern tribes continued in loyalty. Some church members could learn here. They become so taken up with one pastor that when a new one comes on the field, they simply cannot get as enthused in the work of the church. That exposes a faulty heart. They have put personalities above a cause. They have put pastors above Christ. The work of the church is more important than personalities. Folk should be primarily serving Christ, not a pastor.
Their commitment to their brethren. Another compliment Joshua gave these soldiers had to do with their faithful commitment to their brethren. Joshua said, "Ye have not left your brethren these many days unto this day" (Joshua 22:3). The words "many days" in our English version are not as strong in expression as the Hebrew makes it. The Hebrew literally says, "a great many days" (Lias). Indeed it was a "great many days," for they spent as much as seven years in Canaan before they were permitted to return to their homes on the eastern side of Jordan. Hence, the soldiers of the two and a half tribes were a very faithful group. They stuck with their brethren through thick and thin, and they did not leave them until Joshua dismissed them.
Their consecration to God. The fourth area of praise concerns the obedience of the soldiers of the eastern tribes in keeping the commandments of God. "Ye have . . . kept the charge of the commandment of the Lord your God" (Joshua 22:3). This consecration to God is the key to the other three compliments. When you are obedient to God, you will be obedient to Moses and Joshua; and you will be faithful to your commitment to your brethren. We seem to have forgotten this truth in our time. It is a truth that says if you want a proper relationship with others, you must first have a proper relationship with God. It is a truth which says if you are going to be outwardly right with men, you must be inwardly right with God. A man's relationship with God tells us just what kind of person he is. It will predict the character of his conduct. The breakdown of the morality of our society is directly related to the breakdown of society's relationship with God.
2. The Release From Their Obligations. "And now the Lord your God hath given rest unto your brethren, as he promised them: therefore now return ye, and get you unto your tents, and unto the land of your possession, which Moses the servant of the Lord gave you on the other side Jordan" (Josh 22:4). After praising the soldiers of the eastern tribes, Joshua then gave them their official release from their military duties and counseled them to return to their homes. The words of Joshua here provided exhilaration, exhortation, and exoneration for these soldiers.
Exhilaration. What a great feeling to be out of the military! We remember the day we were released from active duty in the military many years ago. It was a very joyous day indeed. Thousands and thousands of other military men can say the same thing. Therefore, it must have been great news to these soldiers of the eastern tribes to be given their release. They had been in military duty in Canaan for as long as seven years. Now they could lay down their arms. Now they could go home to their loved ones and to their farms (most of them were cattlemen, see Numbers 32:4). This exhilaration is a hint of what it will be like when the wars of this life end and we arrive at our heavenly home to be forever with our Savior. "Wherefore comfort one another with these words" (1 Thessalonians 4:18).
Exhortation. When Joshua counseled them to "get you unto your tents," he, by these orders, gave a short and indirect exhortation about the place of the home. These men were to return home to their families. Thus Joshua gave support to the family. Joshua's statement may seem insignificant to some; but in view of the attitude of our age to the home, it becomes a very important statement showing the place and importance of the home.We must respect and support the home or we promote problems in every facet of society. Destroy the home and you destroy the nation and the church. Give us good homes and you strengthen the nation and the church. Society eventually crumbles into an untrustworthy and cruel condition when the home is despised. We are certainly seeing that come to pass in our land.
Exoneration. Joshua's counsel to return to "the land of your possession . . . on the other side of Jordan" was an exoneration of the two and a half tribes for settling on the east side of the Jordan. Many, however, are critical of the two and a half tribes for settling east of the Jordan. These tribes are called borderline Christians, selfish, more interested in ease and pleasure than in duty, uncommitted, etc. But we do not agree with those sentiments at all. We agree rather with Arthur W. Pink who said, "Had their request [for the land east of Jordan] been as reprehensible as these critics make out, they [the two and a half tribes] had been promptly informed of its unlawfulness, and there the matter would have terminated. Most certainly the Lord had never confirmed it! God had already delivered this land into the hands of Israel, and someone must inherit and inhabit it. It was particularly suited for pasturage, and that was what these tribes, with their 'very great multitude of cattle,' most needed. Nor were they despising the Lord's inheritance, for the boundary of Canaan was not the Jordan, but rather the mountain range of Gilead, which separated it from the desert lying beyond." Another fact that argues against the critics' charges is the performance of the soldiers of eastern tribes. They were not unfaithful, selfish, more interested in ease and pleasure than duty, uncommitted, etc. But they performed with excellence. These two and a half tribes were a misunderstood group, however. Moses at first misunderstood their request for Gilead; and when the soldiers of these tribes went home and put up a stone memorial showing their relationship to Jehovah God of Israel, they were misunderstood again (Joshua 22:9–34). But the misunderstanding was eventually cleared up and the motives and actions of the two and a half tribes was seen as noble. People may misunderstand us at times even though our motives and actions are pure and holy. We may not always be able to please people, but we can make sure our motive and conduct is right before God.
3. The Rules for Their Life. When mustering out these soldiers from their military duty, Joshua gave them some excellent counsel about personal conduct. It consisted of some rules of righteousness for their life. This counsel was not mere suggestions on how to live. It was commands, orders, rules. These rules of righteousness had to do with the law of God, love for God, loyalty to God, and labor for God. Each rule can be found stated one or more times in the book of Deuteronomy. These rules are all prefaced at the beginning with "take diligent heed" (Joshua 22:5) to do them. This puts a high priority on obeying these rules and demands great effort in obeying them—two things certainly not popular with most men.
Law of God. These soldiers were told "to do the commandment and the law, which Moses the servant of the Lord charged you . . . to walk in all his [God's] ways, and to keep his [God's] commandments" (Joshua 22:5). This rule can be said to be a summary statement of the next three commands, for they are certainly covered by this rule. To further examine this first rule which Joshua gave to the soldiers of the eastern tribes, we note the authority, purity, sincerity, and priority of the rule.
First, authority. The authority of God's law is emphasized in the words "commandment," "commandments" and "charged" ("charged" comes from a Hebrew word meaning commandment) in this text. As we just noted above, the soldiers were given commands, not suggestions or opinions.
Second, purity. The soldiers were to live a holy life. Hence they were "to do the commandment and the law" and "walk in all his [God's] ways, and to keep his [God's] commandments."
Third, sincerity. The words "do" and "walk" and "keep" in this rule tell us that obedience to God must be more than talk. It must be our walk, too. Showing our faith in our walk is one of the themes of the book of James. James said, "I will show thee my faith by my works" (James 2:18). Too many talk insincerely about their faith, for they do not show it in their works.
Fourth, priority. The words "his ways" and "his commandments" tell us whose commandments are the most important to obey. There are many rules and laws for man. But the ones we need to be primarily concerned about are "his" commandments. Many of man's rules are in conflict with God's rules. But God's rules are to have the priority; for "We ought to obey God rather than men" (Acts 5:29).
Love for God. These soldiers were also told "to love the Lord your God" (Joshua 22:5). This speaks of devotion of the heart. This is where a righteous walk begins. If we have love for God, the commands of God will be obeyed. Lack of love leads to lack of obedience. Jesus said, "If a man love me, he will keep my words [and] . . . He that loveth me not keepeth not my sayings" (John 14:23,24). We hear much talk about love today, but most of it is about a perverted love which wants to tolerate evil. True love, however, does not tolerate evil; for it is holy love and is interested in keeping, not disobeying, God's commands.
Loyalty to God. Joshua exhorted the soldiers of the eastern tribes to be loyal to God when he said, "Cleave unto him" (Joshua 22:5). "Cleave" comes from a Hebrew word which means "to adhere, specially firmly, as if with glue, to be glued" (Gesenius). Here is great loyalty and faithfulness. Joshua had already praised these soldiers for being faithful in their military performance, now he counsels them to keep it up in their private lives.
Labor for God. Joshua told the soldiers "to serve him [God] with all your heart and with all your soul" (Joshua 22:5). These soldiers were being released from their military duty, but they were not being released from their service for God. They were still to be active laboring for God. 4. The Rewards for Their Service."So Joshua blessed them, and sent them away . . . And he spake unto them, saying, Return with much riches unto your tents, and with very much cattle, with silver, and with gold, and with brass, and with iron, and with very much raiment: divide the spoil of your enemies with your brethren" (Joshua 22:6,8).
The size of the reward. "Much" characterizes the size of the reward.
The sharing of the reward. The reward (spoils) of these soldiers was to be shared "with your brethren" (Joshua 22:8). The principle of this sharing was stated by Moses and also by David. Moses said, "Divide the prey into two parts; between them that took the war upon them, who went out to battle, and between all the congregation" (Numbers 31:27). David amplified the reason for the sharing when he said, "As his part is that goeth down to the battle, so shall his part be that tarrieth by the stuff; they shall part alike" (1 Samuel 30:24). Obscurity does not minimize the reward from God though it often does from man. The key to reward from God is faithfulness, not fame.
B. THE CONCERN ABOUT APOSTASY The second counseling session by Joshua concerned the problem of apostasy and was for "all Israel, and for their elders, and for their heads, and for their judges, and for their officers" (Joshua 23:2). The time of the counseling session was prompted by Joshua's age. He began his counseling by saying, "I am old and stricken in age" (Ibid.); and later on in the counseling session he said, "Behold, this day I am going the way of all the earth" (Joshua 23:14). Time was running out for Joshua, and he wanted to give this needed counsel about apostasy to the Israelites before he departed this life. As we noted in our previous chapter, advanced age prompts us to get busy with our work; for when we are up in years, time is indeed running out; and soon we will no longer be able to do our work. Joshua's counsel for the Israelites concerning apostasy covered two areas about apostasy—the prevention of apostasy and the punishment for apostasy.
1. The Prevention of Apostasy. Departing from the faith can be prevented. Joshua shows at least five ways in which apostasy can be prevented.
Exalting of God. to help Israel avoid apostasy, Joshua begins his counsel by exalting God. He praises God for the punishment of Israel's enemies, the possession of the land of Canaan, and for the power to conquer Canaan.
First, the punishment of the enemy. "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" (Joshua 23:3). Israel saw readily how God punished their enemies for their enemies' evil. This punishment of Israel's enemies brought them down to defeat in their war against Israel. God fought for Israel by bringing judgment upon these nations for their great wickedness. Hence, the gods of these enemies were nothing compared to Jehovah, and this fact discourages apostasy.
Second, the possession of the land. "Behold, I have divided unto you by lot these nations that remain, to be an inheritance for your tribes, from Jordan, and all the nations that I have cut off, even unto the great sea westward" (Joshua 23:4). When speaking of the dividing of the land among the people, Joshua indirectly spoke of the fact that God had given Israel the possession of Canaan. This was a great gift to Israel, for Canaan was a great and productive land at that time. If Israel remembered the source of their blessings, it would help keep them faithful to Jehovah and thus prevent apostasy.
Third, the power to conquer. Joshua also praised God for the power he gave Israel to conquer the land and would keep giving Israel to drive out the remnants of the Canaanites. "The Lord your God, he shall expel them from before you, and drive them from out of your sight . . . 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. One man of you shall chase a thousand" (Joshua 23:5,9,10). God's power meant that though Israel was outnumbered, it did not matter. "It is a Divine law that success shall not turn on questions of numbers and visible strength" (Adeney). This was not true with false gods.
Obeying of God. "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" (Joshua 23:6). Obedience to God's law (the law of Moses is, of course, synonymous here with the law of God) is another help to stopping apostasy. And note here that Joshua said in his counsel that this obedience must be both complete and courageous.
First, obedience must be complete. Their obedience to the law was to be to "all" the law of God. They were not to pick and choose what they would or would not obey. So it is with us. We are to obey God in everything. Partial obedience opens the door for apostasy to enter our life.
Second, obedience must be courageous. Joshua said they were to be "very courageous" to keep the law. It does indeed take courage to obey God. Those who obey God will often be ridiculed, lose their friends, and suffer persecution. Courage is very necessary in living the Christian faith. The idea that it is for the weak and senile is a lie of Satan. Obedience is not easy. But it is easy to apostatize.
Cleaving to God. Joshua said the Israelites were to "cleave unto the Lord your God" (Joshua 23:8). As we noted earlier, "cleave" means to be firmly attached to something such as being glued to something. This is a picture of great loyalty and steadfastness to the Lord. It is the kind that is needed to prevent personal apostasy. Our commitment and loyalty to God must be continuous or we will be ensnared by apostasy. Unloyal Christians are prime targets for apostasy which explains why so many churches and schools in our generation have drifted away from God.
Loving of God. "Take good heed therefore unto yourselves, that ye love the Lord your God" (Joshua 23:11). If we have good affection for the true God, we will not be giving our affections to false gods. When our love for God declines, it will increase for that which opposes God. When a husband and wife nurture their love for each other, their marriage will not break up. Likewise when we nurture our love for God, we will not apostasize.
Separating from things opposed to God. Another preventive of apostasy which Joshua gave in his counsel to the Israelites was separation from things opposed to God—particularly the Canaanites in Israel's case here. He said the Israelites were not to walk with the Canaanites, or worship with the Canaanites, or wed the Canaanites. In application here, the Canaanites represent the religious modernists and the ungodly worldlings.
First, do not walk with the Canaanites. "Come not among these nations, these that remain among you" (Joshua 23:7). Fraternization with the wicked is a good way to defile yourself and be weakened for apostasy. "The way of sin is downhill, and those who have fellowship with sinners cannot avoid having fellowship with sin" (Henry). The popular creed today in our churches seems to be mixing, not separation. However, the great falling away from the faith in our churches informs us that separation, not mixing, is what is needed in Christendom.
Second, do not worship with the Canaanites. "Neither make mention of the name of their gods, nor cause to swear by them, neither serve them, nor bow yourselves unto them" (Joshua 23:7). Joshua covers all aspects of worship here. He not only speaks of that which is actual worship itself, but that which endorses and encourages the worship. Hence, they were not even to speak the name of the false gods, nor cause others to take a legal oath by the name of a false god (which would give legal status to the false god), nor serve the false god (do not get involved in helping apostate churches in their ministry by donations, etc.). Regarding the mentioning of the name of false gods, Matthew Henry made a statement which shames Christians today. He said, "It is a pity that among Christians the names of the heathen gods are so commonly used, and made so familiar as they are, especially in plays and poems: let those names which have been set up in rivalship with God be forever loathed and lost."
Third, do not wed the Canaanites. In the matter of separation, Joshua also warned earnestly of the peril for Israel if they "make marriages with them" (Joshua 23:12). He was echoing and repeating the warning given earlier by Moses. Moses said, "Neither shalt thou make marriages with them; thy daughter thou shalt not give unto his son, nor his daughter shalt thou take unto thy son. For they will turn away thy son from following me, that they may serve other gods" (Deuteronomy 7:3,4). Solomon is a prime illustration of the fact that marriage with the heathen is a most effective way to lead one into apostasy (1 Kings 11:1,2). Intermarriage with the unsaved is still today a most effective means of Satan to cause people to turn away from the faith. Hence, we need to earnestly heed and emphasize the waring given by Apostle Paul which says, "Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers" (2 Corinthians 6:14). The unequal yoke is a fast road to apostasy. We should marry "only in the Lord" (1 Corinthians 7:39). The first qualification for a marriage partner is spiritual compatibility. Ignore that truth and you will drift from God.
2. The Punishment for Apostasy Apostasy brings judgment from God. Joshua gave the Israelites strong warning about the punishment for apostasy. He told them of the certainty of the punishment for apostasy and of the cost in the punishment for the apostate.
The certainty of the punishment. Joshua began the warning about the punishment of apostasy with emphasis on its certainty. He said, "Know for a certainty" (Joshua 23:13) that this judgment would come. Then he illustrates the certainty of it by pointing out the way in which God fulfilled His promise of blessing to Israel. He said, "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. Therefore it shall come to pass, that as all the good things are come upon you, which the Lord your God promised you; so shall the Lord bring upon you all evil things" (Joshua 23:14,15). God promised blessing to Israel in giving them the land of Canaan, and He brought it to pass just as He promised (cp. Joshua 21:45). Not one iota of the promise failed. Judgment will be just as certain. God keeps His promises not only for blessing but also for judgment. But "there are those who deny God's threats of punishment the same validity which they ascribe to His promises of blessing" (Adeney). They count on His promise of blessings, but they do not believe that His promise of judgment will come at all. Joshua, however, makes it clear that God is very consistent. A promise is a promise be it for blessing or for judgment. Therefore, be warned that apostasy will indeed be punished.
The cost in the punishment. Joshua cites four particular losses that Israel would experience in judgment for apostasy. They are the loss of power, protection, possessions, and peace. Joshua's warning of punishment here is similar to that which the angel of the Lord gave Israel at Bochin about the same time which was shortly before Joshua died (Judges 2:1–6).
First, the loss of power. "Know for a certainty that the Lord your God will no more drive out any of these nations from before you" (Joshua 23:13). Without God's help in driving out the enemy, Israel would not be victorious. They were absolutely dependent upon the power of God. Samson experienced this loss of power when he became more devoted to Delilah than Deity and got his hair cut. Many churches which once knew the power of God in their services have long since lost that power because of apostasy. Great is the cost of apostasy.
Second, the loss of protection. With power gone to win battles, Israel would also lose protection from the enemy. The Canaanites around them would harm them. "They shall be snares and traps unto you, and scourges in your sides, and thorns in your eyes" (Joshua 23:13). Again we are reminded of Samson who after he lost his power because of drifting from God also lost protection from the Philistines. Once his power was gone, the Philistines "put out his eyes" (Judges 16:21) and then put him in prison. Apostasy extracts a painful price.
Third, the loss of possessions. Three times Joshua speaks of this aspect of the judgment upon apostasy: "Ye perish from off this good land" (Joshua 23:13), "he [God] have destroyed you from off this good land" (Joshua 23:15), and "ye shall perish quickly from off the good land" (Joshua 23:16). Tragically, Israel has experienced repeatedly this terrible judgment for apostasy. They went into cruel captivity to Assyria and Babylon because they had forsaken Jehovah for idols. Centuries later, because Israel was so far from God that they rejected His Son, the bloody rule of Rome took a frightful toll on the Jews which was climaxed by the destruction of Jerusalem by Titus. Then down through the ages, Jews by the millions have lost their possessions through vicious persecution. But God promised in the Old Testament this would happen when they forsook Him, and Christ promised the same in the New Testament for rejecting Him. The cost of apostasy is great in every age.
Fourth, the loss of peace. "Then shall the anger of the Lord be kindled against you" (Joshua 23:16). The Israelites will lose peace in every area because of apostasy. The most important peace that the Israelites will lose is peace with God, for their apostasy from God puts them under the wrath of God. This is also true in regards to the soul of every man. "He that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life; and he that believeth not the Son shall not see life; but the wrath of God abideth on Him" (John 3:36). Nothing worse can ever happen to man than to be under the wrath of God. But reject Him and His Son Jesus Christ and that is where you place yourself. The cost in the punishment for the apostates is more than any one can afford to pay.
C. THE CHALLENGE FOR SERVICE The last recorded counseling session by Joshua for Israel was a challenge for Israel to serve God. "Joshua gathered all the tribes of Israel to Shechem, and called for the elders of Israel, and for their heads, and for their judges, and for their officers . . . And Joshua said . . . fear the Lord, and serve him" (Joshua 24:1,14). That service was the theme in this counseling session is seen in the frequent mention of the words "serve" and "served" in Joshua 24. Thirteen times the word "serve" is mentioned and three times the word "served" is mentioned. In no other place in the book of Joshua are these words used so frequently.
From Joshua's counsel and Israel's response to it, we note eight aspects of service. They are the obligation for service, the specifications for service, the invitation for service, the declaration for service, the examination for service, the preparation for service, the confirmation of service, and the duration of service.
1. Obligation for Service Joshua begins this counsel with a review of Israel's history (Joshua 24:3–14). To review their history, he begins with the call of Abraham and then takes the history right up to the conquering of Canaan. When he concludes this review of Israel's history, he says, "Now therefore fear the Lord, and serve him in sincerity and in truth" (Joshua 24:14). What Joshua is saying is that because God did so much for Israel (as is seen in the review), Israel is obligated to do much for God. When I was a boy, we used to sing a chorus in church with the same message. It said, "After all He's done for me, how can I do less than give Him my best, and live for Him completely." God's blessings are so great for everyone of us that we are obligated to serve Him for eternity.
2. Specifications for Service Joshua specified what kind of service Israel was obligated to give God. Joshua said this service was to be "in sincerity and in truth." That means the service was not to be hypocritical but was to be honest. Serving "in sincerity" says we are not to serve hypocritically. Rather, we are to serve from the heart. This means our service will be more than just words or mere outward appearance—the kind of service habitually characteristic of hypocrites. Serving "in truth" says we are to serve honestly. We are to have integrity in our service. It is not to be dishonest as are some men in their preaching (they tell exciting but untrue stories in order to make their sermons sound exciting) and as some are in their fund raising and statistic reporting.
3. Invitation for Service After Joshua spoke to Israel about the obligation and specifications of service for Jehovah, he said, "If it seem evil unto you to serve the Lord, choose you this day whom ye will serve; whether the gods which your fathers served that were on the other side of the flood [Euphrates River], or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land ye dwell" (Joshua 24:15). About six hundred years later, Elijah said the same thing to the Israelites at Mount Carmel. He said, "If the Lord be God, follow him; but if Baal, then follow him" (1 Kings 18:21). Preachers who encourage folks to make a decision in church services have good precedence in these two men. While the public invitation has often been abused, it does not nullify the importance of endeavoring to bring people to a decision regarding the Lord. Joshua called for a decision, and we need to do the same. To further examine Joshua's invitation for service, we note the unbiased and urgent nature of the invitation.
Unbiased. This was not a biased invitation, for Joshua exhorted the people to examine the options. If they thought it was evil to serve Jehovah, then let them serve whoever they thought was better. This exhortation emphasizes the fact that truth is not afraid of being examined. It does not shun the light. Christianity can well stand the test of comparison to any other religion. Let Israel compare the work Jehovah has done for them to the work any other god has given them; and they will see they need to serve Jehovah, not the other gods. If folk want to look at the negatives in serving Jesus Christ—such as sacrifice, persecution, and other problems, let them be fair and also examine the negatives of other religions—such as eternity in hell fire. This invitation is not a fast talking sales pitch that tries to cover up the truth about Christianity and keeps you from knowing the great benefits of other philosophies. No, it presents the case in an unbiased way. It can afford to do this, for Christianity has the facts on its side.
Urgent. Joshua said they needed to make the decision "today." There is no reason for delay. Delay only subtracts blessings. If you are on the wrong road, you need to stop immediately and get on the right road. Continuing on the wrong road prolongs failure, and it costs much. In no matter is the invitation more urgent than in the matter of soul salvation. "Now is the accepted time; behold now is the day of salvation" (2 Corinthians 6:2). Delay could put you in hell for eternity.
4. Declaration for Service Recorded in this counsel given the Israelites by Joshua is one of the greatest statements Joshua ever made. He said, "As for me and my house, we will serve the Lord" (Joshua 24:15). After giving an invitation to the people to choose whom they were going to serve, Joshua declares Whom he chooses to serve. He declares that he chooses to serve Jehovah. This declaration of service for Jehovah was a public declaration, a pronounced declaration, a proven declaration, a personal declaration, a parental declaration, and a persuasive declaration.
Public declaration. Joshua made this declaration before all Israel. Joshua was not a secret disciple! He was not like a number of our politicians who say their faith is a private matter. Though the head of the government, Joshua was public with his faith. He let all Israel know on whose side he stood. Charles Spurgeon said, "Does not Joshua's outspoken avowal make you blush? You are espoused to Christ, you say, but will there never be an open marriage? Will you never take Him publicly before the eyes of men to be your Lord and husband for ever and ever? Does Jesus agree to secret nuptials? . . . Shall your Captain's colors never adorn you? . . . That is sorry courage which skulks [moves stealthily, cowardly] behind the bushes; that is poor loyalty which never utters the king's name; that is questionable decision which dares not own itself to be on the Lord's side . . . Run up the colors to the masthead where every eye may see them."
How can we be clandestine about our faith when Jesus Christ openly suffered terrible shame and pain for our salvation. Secret discipleship will not be owned by Christ in heaven. He said, "Whosoever therefore shall confess me before men, him will I confess also before my Father which is in heaven. But whosoever shall deny me before men, him will I also deny before my Father which is in heaven" (Matthew 10:32,33).
Pronounced declaration. Joshua's declaration was certainly not a timid or tentative statement made in trembling voice and uncertain sound and speech. Rather, he was very resolute in making his declaration for Jehovah. It was a dogmatic declaration of decision. No one could misunderstand where he stood.Preachers need to preach pronouncedly like Joshua spoke this declaration. They should not make apologies for what they believe nor be hesitant or uncertain in their message. If they are certain and are unsure, let them sit down and give way to someone who can preach with certainty. We do not need messages with uncertain sounds, but messages with conviction.
Proven declaration. Joshua's statement was not hypocritical. Oftentimes when someone makes such a resolute statement, it is more talk than walk; for the statement was made to impress people more than anything else. But not so with Joshua. He had lived what he declared. "The clear avowal on the part of Joshua was not a trick of eloquence, a resolve made for the first time in order to influence his audience. He had so lived that his avowal carried weight with all who heard it, else it had been idle to have uttered it. He had always been a man of firm step and determined mind. Probably this was one reason why Moses chose him to be his servant, and kept him in personal attendance upon himself" (Spurgeon).
Personal declaration. This declaration was not made because the crowd chose to serve the Lord. Joshua was not an echo. This declaration was his personal declaration. "He did not wait to see what the majority of the people would approve before he committed himself to a particular course of action; but boldly stated his intention to cleave with full purpose of heart unto the Lord" (Aldridge). Are your convictions your own? If they are not, they will not stand. "It is weak to refuse to choose till we see how the world will choose" (Adeney).
Parental declaration. Joshua was the spiritual leader in his house. His declaration said so. "And my house" said in present day vernacular that Joshua would take his family to church, not send them. He would see to it that his children were given spiritual training. He was not a delinquent parent or husband spiritually. His wife was not the one who had to take care of spiritual matters in the home—Joshua took care of them. When it was worship time, Joshua saw to it that the family was involved. He did not lay around reading the Sunday paper and watching TV while the wife and kids went to church.
Persuasive declaration. Joshua's stand encouraged the Israelites to take the same stand. After he declared Whom he would serve, the Israelites "answered and said, God forbid that we should forsake the Lord, to serve other gods" (Joshua 24:16). All of us influence people. We may not influence a nation like Joshua did, but we influence people around us. If people follow your example, what will they do spiritually? Where will you lead them? Let us so live that we, like Joshua, will set an example of godly living. Let us not live in a way that would encourage others to backslide and turn away from God.
5. Examination for Service Joshua appeared to do a strange thing after Israel enthusiastically declared that they, too, would serve Jehovah. He said, "Ye cannot serve the Lord; for he is an holy God; he is a jealous God; he will not forgive your transgressions nor your sins" (Joshua 24:19). This strange reaction to their response is actually a test for them to see if their decision to serve Jehovah was sincere. Joshua was not whitewashing service for God. He wanted them to know it was not easy. God was holy and jealous which meant there would be strict rules and regulations for serving Him. Also he said God will not forgive your transgressions and sins—a statement which must be taken in context or we will draw the erroneous conclusion that God does not forgive us our sins when He indeed does. What the statement says is if they persist in their sin there will be no forgiveness. They could not persist in their sin and still serve the Lord. So serving God was not an easy task. Joshua wanted Israel to know that fact. He would test their resolve by stating the difficulties. Those who volunteer for service need to be examined thoroughly. The glamour of service often causes many to volunteer whose heart is really not in it. Once they face the trials and difficulties and dangers and the cost of service, they will quit. So they must be examined to weed out the insincere, so the insincere do not get in battle and hinder others. Many are those who have volunteered for service who unvolunteer once they face the heat of the battle. If you cannot pass the examination that tests your resoluteness for service, you need to examine your heart and get things straightened out with God.
6. Preparation for Service "Now therefore put away, said he, the strange gods which are among you, and incline your heart unto the Lord God of Israel" (Joshua 24:23). Much preparation is needed before one is ready to serve God. Joshua touches on some of the most important preparation of all. This statement speaks of preparation in doctrine and devotion.
Doctrine. Israel was to "put away . . . the strange gods which are among you." They were to get rid of all the idols they had. Thus they were to get their theology corrected, for none will serve God well if their basic theology is faulty. There are those who like to de-emphasize doctrine and say it doesn't matter but what matters is that we love Jesus, etc. But doctrine tells us what kind of person Jesus is. Some may say they love Jesus who do not believe in His Deity. That is no good. You cannot serve Christ well while denying His true identity. So doctrine is very important. It affects the quality of our service, and it also affects the validity of our service.
Devotion. Israel was also to "incline their heart unto the Lord God of Israel." This is devotion to the Lord. Some who may not be plagued by worldly philosophies and poor doctrine may still have devotion problems. The church at Ephesus was sound in doctrine, but they had "left thy first love" (Revelation 2:4), and so were in trouble with God. Until the heart is prepared, you will not serve right. The preparation of the heart is also spoken of elsewhere in Scripture. As an example, it is mentioned regarding Ezra. Scripture says of Ezra, "Ezra had prepared his heart to seek the law of the Lord, and to do it, and to teach in Israel statutes and judgments" (Ezra 7:10). Ezra's service of teaching the Word of God started with preparation of his heart. It always should. Yet, today we seem to put the emphasis upon everything else but the heart when it comes to preparation for service.
7. Confirmation of Service Three times (Joshua 24:16,18,24) the Israelites stated their intentions to serve the Jehovah. To confirm their intentions, "Joshua made a covenant with the people that day, and set them a statute and an ordinance in Shechem. And Joshua wrote these words in the book of the law of God, and took a great stone, and set it up there under an oak, that was by the sanctuary of the Lord . . . [to be] a witness" (Joshua 24:25–27) of their intentions to serve Jehovah. In today's words, we would say Joshua made them sign on the dotted line. If you are not willing to sign on the dotted line, all your words are nothing more than words. The covenant and the stone confirmed in a forceful way their intentions. If they went back on their word, the covenant and stone would testify against them.We have many folk who talk big about service; but when it comes time to put their words into actions, they do not do well. They do not confirm their stated intentions with their actions. They talk about helping to do work around the church; but when the sign-up sheet is posted, you will have a hard time finding their name on it. They talk about giving to help the church's mission or building program; but when the offering plate goes by, they put very little in it. They talk much about reaching the area with the Gospel, but you will never see them at visitation.
8. Duration of Service This is not part of Joshua's counsel, but we add it because it is a vital part of this story on service, and it is related to the ending of Joshua's life which brings the book of Joshua and our book about Joshua to a close. Scripture says at the end of the book of Joshua that "Israel served the Lord all the days of Joshua, and all the days of the elders that overlived Joshua, and which had known all the works of the Lord, that he had done for Israel" (Joshua 24:31). This duration of time when Israel served Jehovah was about thirty to forty years. It is a compliment to Joshua that his influence was so great that the people served Jehovah "all the days of Joshua." He was not like so many later leaders of Israel who led Israel astray. When he came to his end at 110 years of age, he had a testimony of a continuous godly influence. It is a great tribute to Joshua and a great epitaph for Joshua. Contrast Joshua to Jeroboam in influence. Jeroboam, who we mentioned in the first part of our book, is repeatedly said by Scripture to have influenced Israel to sin. But Joshua influenced Israel to serve.What will people say about you when your life comes to an end? What influence have you been? Has your life been an honor to God and an encouragement to others to serve God? Or have you dishonored God by your life and encouraged others to be slack in their devotion to God and to compromise their convictions of godliness? May the life of Joshua help to inspire you to live all the days of the rest of your life in a way that will honor God and causes others to do the same.