About Jesus Steve Sweetman
In Joshua 24 Joshua is acting as a prophet of God.
He says in verse 2, "this is what the Lord God says".
He is not only a general of an army, He is a prophet of God.
From verse 2 through to verse 13 God speaks through Joshua
The Lord God goes as far back as Terah, the father of
Abraham, as seen in verse 2. Note
the word "river" in verse 2.
This is the Euphrates
We note that Abraham's family, before being called by God,
worshipped "other gods". They
were polytheistic, meaning, they worshipped more than one god.
The moon god was the predominant god they worship.
I believe, as many do, that Islam is really a product of this
religion, which is called the Sumerian Religion.
Note in verse 5 that God states that He inflicted the
Egyptians, which He certainly did. Along
with inflicting the Egyptians, for the first few curses He put on them, Israel
herself suffered along with the Egyptians.
They were spared when it came to the last few inflictions.
There is something to this in relation to Christians and the
events leading to the end of this age.
I believe that Christians will suffer the same kind of infliction
as God judges the nations of the world, but when His pure wrath is
poured out on the nations of the world, Christians will be spared,
possibly through the rapture of the church.
All the things God speaks about in the first 13 verses here
are the positive things that He did for Israel
in their past history. Of
course, He did some negative things to Israel
as well, but He does not comment on them here.
This is meant to be an encouragement to Israel
so they will follow in His ways from here on out.
But that seldom happens. Their
frailty, their fallenness, takes over time and time again.
It only goes to show you that we are fallen people, who live in a
fallen world, and are in bad need of a Saviour.
This is one important lesson that we learn from the history of
Joshua admonishes Israel
in verse 14 "to fear the Lord and serve Him with all
faithfulness". The word
"faithfulness" is key here because that is exactly what Israel
hasn't been. So, if we
aren't faithful, we can't serve the Lord and we won't fear Him.
Being faithful simply means that we have trusted our lives with
the Lord, and we continue to trust Him all of our lives.
In verse 1 4we see two sets of gods mentioned.
One set are the gods beyond the River, meaning the Euphrates
Also in verse 14 Joshua is throwing out a challenge to Israel. He says that if serving
the Lord doesn't seem to be the way
Verse 15 is a well known verse.
Joshua states his position on the matter.
He says that for he and his house, they will serve the Lord.
Notice, it's not just Joshua who will serve the Lord, but his
whole house. Some believe in
what is called "household salvation" which means that if the
father is a believer, or is saved, then the whole house is saved.
I don't believe that. Everyone
is responsible for accepting and choosing the Lord for themselves.
That being said, I do believe that if the father is a believer,
and if he is walking with the Lord, all of his family will be walking in
the blessing of the Lord, that is, until the children go out on their
own to have their own family. At
that point, the second generation family must decide on its own whether
they will choose the Lord and His blessings or other gods.
In verse 16 through 18 it is the unanimous choice of
Joshua's response is very interesting.
What he says just backs up what I have just said.
In verse 19 he says that
In verses 19 and 20 Joshua says something that some might
find hard to understand. He
says that if Israel
fails to obey God, He will not forgive their sins, but He will bring
disaster on them. This
simply means that God will judge Israel
for their sin as stated in the Law of Moses and He will certainly bring
disaster on them, which He did. He
will not just forgive or overlook their sin.
He will do as He said He will do.
He will not break His promise.
He will indeed bring disaster on Israel. This has nothing to do
with the cross of Christ and the forgiveness the He brings to us through
His cross. That is a different issue altogether. The
point here is that God does not, and still doesn't, overlook or even
forgive sin without repentance and faith in Him.
In verse 21 Israel
is convinced. They say they
will serve the Lord. It's
like they are trying to convince Joshua that they won't stray from the
Lord. I wonder if Joshua
knew in advance that they really would fall away.
It would not surprise me that he did know of the future failure
Joshua responds in verse 22 by saying that Israel
will be their own witness. That is to say, they will remember this
promise that they made when they break it.
I think by saying this, Joshua knew Israel
would fall from faith.
Of course, in a spirit of pure humanism, so I think,
In verse 23 Joshua responds to Israel's response to him. He tells
them to throw away their foreign gods.
That suggests to me, that even in this early stage in Canaan, some Israelis had foreign gods in their possession. Joshua was simply
saying, "if you really mean what you say, put your money where your
mouth is – throw away the gods".
The words "throw away" suggest to me an immediate and
drastic response. Just throw
them away right now. Don't
think further about it. Just
do it now.
If some Israelis didn't have other gods with them, these
words of Joshua was meant for future reference.
That being said, I believe that even after the victories the Lord
through, there were some in their midst that gave themselves to other
gods which probably was evident in certain idols they had in their
possession. It just goes to
show the fallen nature of man. Even
in the midst of God's blessings, we can give into temptation.
At this point Joshua writes up a covenant and actually adds
it to the Law of Moses. This
is one seldom mentioned covenant, and in context, God is involved in the
covenant. Joshua has just
spoken in the first person on behalf of God to Israel. God, through Joshua, has
to serve Him and Israel
agreed. In one real sense of the word, this was a spoken covenant, and
now Joshua puts it in writing and includes it as a corollary to the Law
of Moses. This covenant simply states that Israel
will serve the Lord in faithfulness, and if they don't, they agree to
the disasters that will come their way as a result.
So now we have the third covenant the God makes with Israel. First we have the
Abrahamic Covenant, then the Mosaic Covenant, and now the Joshuian
Concerning the real lesson that modern day
Christians can learn from this chapter, I'd to copy an article I wrote
into this section of my commentary.
Just before Joshua died he admonished
Canaanites were historic enemies of
Israel. Therefore, Israel
was not to ally themselves with them, serve, worship, or evoke the names
of their pagan gods. If Israel
did any of these, God would no longer protect them from the Canaanites.
The Canaanites would rise from within their midst, become a snare
to them, and defeat Israel
from within. Israel
would then perish from the good land God gave them.
All this eventually came true because Israel
ignored Joshua's admonition.
The apostle Paul gave the elders of
a similar admonition. He
said, "… I know that after I leave savage wolves will come in
among you and will not spare the flock.
Even from your own number men will rise and distort the
truth". (Acts 20:29 and 30) This
came true when men rose from within the Ephesian Christian community
teaching false doctrine and leading people astray.
About 3 decades or so after Paul's warning, Jesus Himself, in
Revelation 2:6, warned these Ephesians to repent or else they would lose
their candlestick. History
tells us that in subsequent generations, the Ephesian Christians ignored
these warnings by Paul and Jesus. The
community of believers eventually perished. An
Islamic community rose from the ashes of a defeated Ephesian church.
Men like Rob Bell, Brian McLaren, and Rick Warren,
are teaching people to do what Joshua told
Paul called these false teachers of the last days,
teachers of demonic doctrine. (1 Timothy 4:1) The
time has come for those who take the Word of the Lord seriously to call
these teachers to repentance and warn the Christian community about
them. If they don't repent,
we do as Paul teaches. "Have
nothing to do with them". (2
The book of Joshua ends with his death at the age of 110.
Also, as was requested by Joseph, Joseph's bones that Israel had
been carrying around for years was buried in Shechem in the plot of land
that Jacob bought for his and his families burial site.
The book of Joshua ends and the book of Judges picks up
where Joshua's account ends. From
here on out, the story of