Concluding by stumbling all over our own failings

19 But Joshua said to the people, “You cannot serve the Lord, for He is a holy God. He is a jealous God; He will not forgive your transgressions nor your sins. 20 If you forsake the Lord and serve foreign gods, then He will turn and do you harm and consume you, after He has done you good.”
21 And the people said to Joshua, “No, but we will serve the 
Lord!”
22 So Joshua said to the people, “You are witnesses against yourselves that you have chosen the 
Lord for yourselves, to serve Him.”
And they said, “We are witnesses!”
Joshua 24:19-22 NKJV

Wow did Joshua know these people and their constant failings! It is almost like he has read the rest of the Bible. But if we are going to be honest, we are kinda… sorta… maybe….  or even exactly, like this as well!

Dear Heavenly Father – As always, please open eye to see and our ears to hear what you are saying! Lord – open our understanding that we may know you. Please do not let us miss out on what you want and need from us today. And please keep us and bless us and shine your face upon us and pour out grace over us and give us peace! Thank you! – In Jesus name we pray, Amen

Today’s reading is Joshua 23 & 24 (embedded below for your convenience) which concludes the Book.
Joshua chapters 1-5 are the introductions to Joshua and establishing him as Moses-like, as we discussed. The next section includes chapters 6-12 – battle after battle after battle. In chapter 6 we see the contrast of God’s way vs. man’s way. The Battle at Jericho where the Lord did a work and the people were obedient to the work vs. the Battle against AI which was just embarrassing. Chapter 12 summarizes who was defeats (and if by Moses or by Joshua). Chapters 13-22 describe how Joshua divides up the land and the details of God’s promise poured out. And the final section includes chapters 23 and 24 which are two final speeches of Joshua.

In both Joshua, worships the God of promise and recalls the covenant asking the tribes to renew their vows to God – which they eagerly do.  And here we can almost imagine Joshua shaking his head.

Listen folks, I know something more about human character than you – you can’t do it. 
It is like Joshua had a talk with Paul in the New Testament:
“I don’t really understand myself, for I want to do what is right, but I don’t do it. Instead, I do what I hate.” Romans 7:15 NLT

Part of me thinks – well, at least they were eager to please God – they wanted to do right – but then I stumble over a parable that Jesus himself taught:
28 “But what do you think? A man had two sons, and he came to the first and said, ‘Son, go, work today in my vineyard.’ 29 He answered and said, ‘I will not,’ but afterward he regretted it and went. 30 Then he came to the second and said likewise. And he answered and said, ‘I go, sir,’ but he did not go. 31 Which of the two did the will of his father?”
They said to Him, “The first.”
Jesus said to them, “Assuredly, I say to you that tax collectors and harlots enter the kingdom of God before you. 32 For John came to you in the way of righteousness, and you did not believe him; but tax collectors and harlots believed him; and when you saw it, you did not afterward relent and believe him.”
Matthew 21:28-32 NKJV

I know I have and can get swept up while worshiping God and say things like “I surrender all”! Then when God demands all – what a struggle it was to follow through with. I recall it was last spring sometime, my accountability partner and I were talking about “dangerous prayers” like “surrendering all” or “God, break me” (which I personally have issues with the semantics of, but that is another discussion for another day). She and I were so eager to be brave and pray ALL the dangerous prayers we could think of – we were all in!!!

Honestly that hasn’t changed, I am still all in! But those who have been reading this for a while, remember the rollercoaster ride it was and when God required me to be humble – woe, that hurt. And when He required all. And when I had decided that it was true that He provided for me; not me (I did not provide for me), not my employer and not the government! (You can go back and read it.) And then He took my job, the unemployment payments didn’t go through for a long time and I was living completely on faith. AND during this time I was only invited out/over to someone’s house to eat two times (one of which I was fasting and couldn’t eat). And a few times food was brought to my house (one was my birthday and the other was the monthly night my son brings dinner). But the point is that God would not let me even rely on man that there was some miraculous out reach to me for my provisions by mans hand.  Oh and the food bank is only open once a week – and we had snow storms, emergencies, and other things happen on those days so I was unable to even access food through that!

Like the two sons – in the end you either learn to overcome “self”, surrendering to God and keep His covenant, or you don’t. Paul’s answer was that we can only over come through GRACE! We cannot even serve God without God’s help.  And (as if I wasn’t before) I am living by grace through this very process – although this might test some men’s faith, I find myself enveloped in grace.

Back in today’s reading – just like Jacob and all of the leader through Moses, Joshua has a death bed speech with a reminder of the blessings and a warning to remember the curses. This is a covenant which means there are consequences to not holding up our end of the deal.

14 “Behold, this day Iam going the way of all the earth. And you know in all your hearts and in all your souls that not one thing has failed of all the good things which the Lord your God spoke concerning you. All have come to pass for you; not one word of them has failed. 15 Therefore it shall come to pass, that as all the good things have come upon you which the Lord your God promised you, so the Lord will bring upon you all harmful things, until He has destroyed you from this good land which the Lord your God has given you. 16 When you have transgressed the covenant of the Lord your God, which He commanded you, and have gone and served other gods, and bowed down to them, then the anger of the Lord will burn against you, and you shall perish quickly from the good land which He has given you.” Joshua 23:14-16 NKJV

With it being Passover and Holy week, it is a great time to recommit ourselves to the Lord and our relationship with Him. It is a great time to forgive and ask for forgiveness and start fresh. We should understand the struggles of our nature, which is bent towards sin, and know without grace we would not be forgiven – but we would also not be transformed from sinner and given power to overcome fleshly desires and be transformed into a new creature in the Lord.             

RELATIONSHIP:
Do you already have a relationship with a powerful God who cares about your every need because He loves you? Did you know my God can communicate with you and protect you – He has a plan for you to prosper if you just submit to His will and let His plan play out in your life!!! God wants a relationship with you and has already made a plan for your life. He loves you so much He sent His son to this world, to die as a sacrifice for your sins and rise from death with victory over sin and the ability to have a personal relationship with you.
9 If you declare with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. 10 For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you profess your faith and are saved.” Romans 10:9-10 NIV
Here is a prayer for you to pray:
Jesus, I believe you are the way, the truth, the life, and the only way to the Father. I believe you are the son of God, you came to Earth and lived. That you died on the cross as a sacrifice for my sins, and rose again so that I may be saved from my sins and be able to get to know you. I declare: Jesus, you are Lord!
Therefore, I confess that I am a sinner and I ask that you forgive me of my sins and come into my life. Help me to turn away from my sins and transform me into what you have lovingly created me to be. Help me through a real personal relationship grow and accept your will for my life – that I may live in your blessings. Please walk with me, and talk with me – I accept a relationship with you and with our Father God, through you. In the name of Jesus I pray ~ Amen

MEMORY WORK: 2 Peter 1:3
NKJV – “as His divine power has given to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of Him who called us by glory and virtue,”
NAS – “for His divine power has granted to us everything pertaining to life and godliness, through the true knowledge of Him who called us by His own glory and excellence.”
ESV – “His divine power has granted to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of him who called us to his own glory and excellence,”
NLT – “By his divine power, God has given us everything we need for living a godly life. We have received all of this by coming to know him, the one who called us to himself by means of his marvelous glory and excellence.”
NIV – “His divine power has given us everything we need for a godly life through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness.”

Thank you for reading.
May the God of peace keep you and bless you. May you stay focused on Christ and covered in grace.
Maranatha ~ Come Lord Jesus!

BIBLE READING: Joshua 23-24 NKJV

Joshua’s Farewell Address

23 Now it came to pass, a long time after the Lord had given rest to Israel from all their enemies round about, that Joshua was old, advanced in age. And Joshua called for all Israel, for their elders, for their heads, for their judges, and for their officers, and said to them:

“I am old, advanced in age. You have seen all that the Lord your God has done to all these nations because of you, for the Lord your God is He who has fought for you. See, I have divided to you by lot these nations that remain, to be an inheritance for your tribes, from the Jordan, with all the nations that I have cut off, as far as the Great Sea westward. And the Lord your God will expel them from before you and drive them out of your sight. So you shall possess their land, as the Lord your God promised you. Therefore be very courageous to keep and to do all that is written in the Book of the Law of Moses, lest you turn aside from it to the right hand or to the left, and lest you go[a] among these nations, these who remain among you. You shall not make mention of the name of their gods, nor cause anyone to swear by them; you shall not serve them nor bow down to them, but you shall hold fast to the Lord your God, as you have done to this day. For the Lord has [b]driven out from before you great and strong nations; but as for you, no one has been able to stand against you to this day. 10 One man of you shall chase a thousand, for the Lord your God is He who fights for you, as He promised you. 11 Therefore take careful heed to yourselves, that you love the Lord your God. 12 Or else, if indeed you do go back, and cling to the remnant of these nations—these that remain among you—and make marriages with them, and go in to them and they to you, 13 know for certain that the Lord your God will no longer drive out these nations from before you. But they shall be snares and traps to you, and scourges on your sides and thorns in your eyes, until you perish from this good land which the Lord your God has given you.

14 “Behold, this day I[c] am going the way of all the earth. And you know in all your hearts and in all your souls that not one thing has failed of all the good things which the Lord your God spoke concerning you. All have come to pass for you; not one word of them has failed. 15 Therefore it shall come to pass, that as all the good things have come upon you which the Lord your God promised you, so the Lord will bring upon you all harmful things, until He has destroyed you from this good land which the Lord your God has given you. 16 [d]When you have transgressed the covenant of the Lord your God, which He commanded you, and have gone and served other gods, and bowed down to them, then the anger of the Lord will burn against you, and you shall perish quickly from the good land which He has given you.”

The Covenant at Shechem

24 Then Joshua gathered all the tribes of Israel to Shechem and called for the elders of Israel, for their heads, for their judges, and for their officers; and they presented themselves before God. And Joshua said to all the people, “Thus says the Lord God of Israel: ‘Your fathers, including Terah, the father of Abraham and the father of Nahor, dwelt on the other side of [e]the River in old times; and they served other gods. Then I took your father Abraham from the other side of [f]the River, led him throughout all the land of Canaan, and multiplied his [g]descendants and gave him Isaac. To Isaac I gave Jacob and Esau. To Esau I gave the mountains of Seir to possess, but Jacob and his children went down to Egypt. Also I sent Moses and Aaron, and I plagued Egypt, according to what I did among them. Afterward I brought you out.

‘Then I brought your fathers out of Egypt, and you came to the sea; and the Egyptians pursued your fathers with chariots and horsemen to the Red Sea. So they cried out to the Lord; and He put darkness between you and the Egyptians, brought the sea upon them, and covered them. And your eyes saw what I did in Egypt. Then you dwelt in the wilderness a long time. And I brought you into the land of the Amorites, who dwelt on the other side of the Jordan, and they fought with you. But I gave them into your hand, that you might possess their land, and I destroyed them from before you. Then Balak the son of Zippor, king of Moab, arose to make war against Israel, and sent and called Balaam the son of Beor to curse you. 10 But I would not listen to Balaam; therefore he continued to bless you. So I delivered you out of his hand. 11 Then you went over the Jordan and came to Jericho. And the men of Jericho fought against you—also the Amorites, the Perizzites, the Canaanites, the Hittites, the Girgashites, the Hivites, and the Jebusites. But I delivered them into your hand. 12 I sent the hornet before you which drove them out from before you, also the two kings of the Amorites, but not with your sword or with your bow. 13 I have given you a land for which you did not labor, and cities which you did not build, and you dwell in them; you eat of the vineyards and olive groves which you did not plant.’

14 “Now therefore, fear the Lord, serve Him in sincerity and in truth, and put away the gods which your fathers served on the other side of [h]the River and in Egypt. Serve the Lord! 15 And if it seems evil to you to serve the Lord, choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve, whether the gods which your fathers served that were on the other side of [i]the River, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land you dwell. But as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.”

16 So the people answered and said: “Far be it from us that we should forsake the Lord to serve other gods; 17 for the Lord our God is He who brought us and our fathers up out of the land of Egypt, from the house of bondage, who did those great signs in our sight, and preserved us in all the way that we went and among all the people through whom we passed. 18 And the Lord drove out from before us all the people, including the Amorites who dwelt in the land. We also will serve the Lord, for He is our God.”

19 But Joshua said to the people, “You cannot serve the Lord, for He is a holy God. He is a jealous God; He will not forgive your transgressions nor your sins. 20 If you forsake the Lord and serve foreign gods, then He will turn and do you harm and consume you, after He has done you good.”

21 And the people said to Joshua, “No, but we will serve the Lord!”

22 So Joshua said to the people, “You are witnesses against yourselves that you have chosen the Lord for yourselves, to serve Him.”

And they said, “We are witnesses!”

23 “Now therefore,” he said, “put away the foreign gods which are among you, and incline your heart to the Lord God of Israel.”

24 And the people said to Joshua, “The Lord our God we will serve, and His voice we will obey!”

25 So Joshua made[j] a covenant with the people that day, and made for them a statute and an ordinance in Shechem.

26 Then Joshua wrote these words in the Book of the Law of God. And he took a large stone, and set it up there under the oak that was by the sanctuary of the Lord. 27 And Joshua said to all the people, “Behold, this stone shall be a witness to us, for it has heard all the words of the Lord which He spoke to us. It shall therefore be a witness to you, lest you deny your God.” 28 So Joshua let the people depart, each to his own inheritance.

Death of Joshua and Eleazar

29 Now it came to pass after these things that Joshua the son of Nun, the servant of the Lord, died, being one hundred and ten years old. 30 And they buried him within the border of his inheritance at Timnath Serah, which is in the mountains of Ephraim, on the north side of Mount Gaash.

31 Israel served the Lord all the days of Joshua, and all the days of the elders who outlived Joshua, who had known all the works of the Lord which He had done for Israel.

32 The bones of Joseph, which the children of Israel had brought up out of Egypt, they buried at Shechem, in the plot of ground which Jacob had bought from the sons of Hamor the father of Shechem for one hundred [k]pieces of silver, and which had become an inheritance of the children of Joseph.

33 And Eleazar the son of Aaron died. They buried him in a hill belonging to Phinehas his son, which was given to him in the mountains of Ephraim.

Footnotes

  1. Joshua 23:7 associate with
  2. Joshua 23:9 dispossessed
  3. Joshua 23:14 I am going to die.
  4. Joshua 23:16 Or if ever
  5. Joshua 24:2 The Euphrates
  6. Joshua 24:3 The Euphrates
  7. Joshua 24:3 Lit. seed
  8. Joshua 24:14 The Euphrates
  9. Joshua 24:15 The Euphrates
  10. Joshua 24:25 Lit. cut a covenant
  11. Joshua 24:32 Heb. qesitah, an unknown ancient measure of weight

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