Joshua's Final Words
Now therefore fear the Lord, and serve him in sincerity and in truth: and put away the gods which your fathers served on the other side of the flood, and in Egypt; and serve ye the Lord. And 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, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land ye dwell: but as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord. And the people answered and said, God forbid that we should forsake the Lord, to serve other gods; For the Lord our God, he it is that brought us up and our fathers out of the land of Egypt, from the house of bondage, and which did those great signs in our sight, and preserved us in all the way wherein we went, and among all the people through whom we passed: And the Lord drave out from before us all the people, even the Amorites which dwelt in the land: therefore will we also serve the Lord; for he is our God. And Joshua said unto the people, 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. If ye forsake the Lord, and serve strange gods, then he will turn and do you hurt, and consume you, after that he hath done you good. And the people said unto Joshua, Nay; but we will serve the Lord. And Joshua said unto the people, Ye are witnesses against yourselves that ye have chosen you the Lord, to serve him. And they said, We are witnesses. Now therefore put away, said he, the strange gods which are among you, and incline your heart unto the Lord God of Israel. And the people said unto Joshua, The Lord our God will we serve, and his voice will we obey. So 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. And Joshua said unto all the people, Behold, this stone shall be a witness unto us; for it hath heard all the words of the Lord which he spake unto us: it shall be therefore a witness unto you, lest ye deny your God. So Joshua let the people depart, every man unto his inheritance. And it came to pass after these things, that Joshua the son of Nun, the servant of the Lord, died, being an hundred and ten years old. And they buried him in the border of his inheritance in Timnath-serah, which is in mount Ephraim, on the north side of the hill of Gaash. And 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.
The Emancipation of Israel- Josua reminds them of their past- we would do just as well to be reminded of our past
The Establishment of Israel - God had indeed done what he had promised to Abraham- he made him a great nation and had given him a land that was promised- God has done the same thing in our life- We cannot have victory in the flesh. It can only be achieved through the power of God which is given to us at the moment of salvation. God established Isreal and he has established a place for us.
The Exhortation of Israel- This is really the heart of Joshua’s message. Verse 14 begins with “therefore” and this message is built upon the foundation of what he reminded them of previously. In this exhortation Joshua does several things…
He commands them - “fear the Lord and serve him in sincerity and truth”
He challenges them - “choose you this day” - he reminds them that although God is worth and although he is commanding the choice is ultimatly up to them. The same is true with us!
He cautions them- “ye cannot serve the LORD” - “if ye forsake him” - he caution them about the repercussions of their choice. Choices have consequences. In our lives, in this life, choices have eternal consequences.
He covenants with them - A covenant is simply an agreement. They said we will serve God. Joshus said… as God’s representative I am going to make a record of that decision and write it down, to be forever recorded in the eternal Word of God.
He commemorates with them - Not only did Joshua record their decision in the Word of God but he built a monument under an Oak tree with stone. These are long lasting permanent fixtures, symbols of things that are permanent. What was he trying to say to Israel? What is God trying to say to us?