Joshua 23


Time To Choose

‘After a long time, had passed and the LORD had given Israel rest from all their enemies around them, Joshua, by then a very old man, summoned all Israel—their elders, leaders, judges and officials—and said to them: “I am very old. 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. Remember how I have allotted as an inheritance for your tribes all the land of the nations that remain—the nations I conquered—between the Jordan and the Mediterranean Sea in the west. The LORD your God himself will push them out for your sake. He will drive them out before you, and you will take possession of their land, as the LORD your God promised you. “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. 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. But you are to hold fast to the LORD your God, as you have until now. “The LORD has driven out before you great and powerful nations; to this day no one has been able to withstand you. One of you routs a thousand, because the LORD your God fights for you, just as he promised. So be very careful to love the LORD your God. Joshua 23:1-11

Life is full of choices, what career will I take? What kind of person should I marry? Where should I live? Etc. God has challenged men to choose as well, Deuteronomy 30:19 / Joshua 24:15 / 1 Kings 18:21 / Philippians 3:2-14. Mary was commended by the Lord because she had ‘chosen the good part’, Luke 10:42.

Joshua had one last great message for his people. The people were at rest but Joshua was getting old but despite his age, he had something else he had to say, Choose!

If you could leave just one message behind, what would it be? Would it tell of your accomplishments? Would it tell how to spend the money you would leave behind? Would it tell which people to get revenge on for the way they had treated you? Or would it tell of the need to be sure to choose to serve God?

Joshua 23 begins by explaining what God has done, He has fought against the nations, it would be easy for them to sit back and boast about the battles ‘they won’. There was only one problem with that, they hadn’t done it. Israel needed to remember Who had been out there fighting for them, 1 Corinthians 10:12 / Proverbs 16:18. God had promised His people a land and now they had it and basically, God divided it out.

But not only that but God dispossessed the nations around, He would thrust them out and they would no longer possess the land.

Joshua again reminds them of the blessings they have received at God’s hands, great nations have been driven out from before them and no one has been able to stand before them. 1 Israelite put to flight 1,000 Canaanites, God has fought for them.

Joshua then goes on and tells them some things to do, this is similar to the commands Joshua gave to the 2 ½ tribes. Here Joshua tells them 3 things to do, keep all that is written in the law, cling to the Lord and love the Lord.

And so, Joshua then goes ahead and tells them some things they are not to do, don’t turn from God’s law to the right or to the left, don’t associate with the nations among them and don’t have any use for their gods.

‘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, 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. “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. But just as all the good things the LORD your God has promised you have come to you, so he will bring on you all the evil things he has threatened, until the LORD your God has destroyed you from this good land he has given you. 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.’ Joshua 23:12-16

Unfortunately, too many people today are not taught that they must face the consequences of their behaviour, whether they steal, or if they are unfaithful or even if parents don’t discipline their children, there can be consequences.

If there is one thing that is taught in the Bible, it is that men must face the consequences for their sins, Romans 2:5-9 / Romans 14:10-12 / 1 Corinthians 4:5 / 2 Corinthians 5:10.

Israel must realise the price for disobedience, God will not drive out the nations, and the nations will be a trap to them. Even though all God’s promises have been kept to this point, they will be destroyed from the land and they will perish quickly.

Go To Joshua 24