Joshua—Warning Future Generations
Text: Chapter 24
“If it seem evil unto you to serve the Lord”
Sometimes we just do not take enough time in our lessons to cover the Books of the Bible. It seems that some one else decides what we need to learn. We do have some good manuals to learn by but we should also take the time to study on our own.
After all God does not ask us to study His Word, He actually commands us to study His Word and we are better for that reason.
And in our best interest it is best to have a Bible that is translated from the original text and not some Bible translated from scriptures passed down through the Catholic system!
The Apostle Paul said:
Php 2:12 Wherefore, my beloved, as ye have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, [but now much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling].
We know that Jesus is our example to learn by. Jesus taught the disciples the entire Word of God and wrote the New Testament with every word He spoke.
Jesus Christ is our pattern for humility.
Jesus Christ is our example of love.
Jesus Christ is our example of service to our brothers and sisters and to fellow man.
Jesus Christ is also our example of suffering.
Our lives must resemble Our Lord and Savior and if not how can we claim to be Christian?
Jesus Christ took on the form of a servant for our sake!
All our failures can be traced back to a lack of devotion to the Lord Jesus Christ!
Joh 14:23 Jesus answered and said unto him, If a man love me, he will keep my words: and my Father will love him, and we will come unto him, and make our abode with him.
Joh 14:24 [He that loveth me not keepeth not my sayings]: and the word which ye hear is not mine, but the Father’s which sent me.
Jesus Christ is the truth, the light, and He is life because Jesus Christ is the ONLY way!
Jesus is life, and He is the source of Spiritual life until He comes back and to me and the signs we see daily, that will not be very much longer.
Joshua knew all these things in his day and Joshua was setting the example till the day He died. Joshua had met the Captain of the Hosts before the first battle at Jericho.
Joshua knew his life was coming to an end and he wanted to warn Israel to follow in his footsteps.
The Apostle Peter wrote:
2Pe 3:2 That ye may be mindful of the words which were spoken before by the holy prophets, and of the commandment of us the apostles of the Lord and Saviour:
2Pe 3:3 Knowing this first, that there shall come in the last days scoffers, walking after their own lusts,
2Pe 3:4 And saying, Where is the promise of his coming? for since the fathers fell asleep, all things continue as they were from the beginning of the creation.
So let’s begin:
*****Jos 24:1 And 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 they presented themselves before God.
Shechem had already been the place of religious transactions in the history of their forefathers. It is at Shechem where Our Lord first appeared to Abraham.
It is at Shechem where Abraham built the first altar to the Lord.
It is at Shechem where Jacob built an altar on his return from Mesopotamia.
It is at Shechem where Jacob had had these words:
Gen 35:2 Then Jacob said unto his household, and to all that were with him, [Put away the strange gods that are among you, and be clean, and change your garments]:
It was at Shechem which is the valley between Mount Ebal and Mount Gerizim where Israel were told of the Curses and the Blessings.
Shechem would soon be one of the cities of refuge.
We will see it was at Shechem where the Bones of Joseph would be buried.
AND, It is at a well near this city where Jesus had a conversation with a woman of Samaria.
Since the meaning of the word Shechem means “to rise up early and bear the load on our shoulders” these words are reflected in the Words of Jesus.
Luk 9:23 And he said to them all, If any man will come after me, “let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow me”.
*****Jos 24:11 And ye went over Jordan, and came unto Jericho: and the men of Jericho fought against you, the Amorites, and the Perizzites, and the Canaanites, and the Hittites, and the Girgashites, the Hivites, and the Jebusites; [and I delivered them into your hand].
We may not know who wrote this last chapter of Joshua but we know who is speaking, it is Our Lord!
In these passages we will see reference to the Lord at least 20 times and to the word “serve” also many times. This is the lesson we need to learn!
The most important thing we can learn from our Lord is the fact that [He has chosen each believer]. God does not choose who will remain lost and who will be saved “but He knows”.
God will give everyone on this planet space to repent!
BUT, God did choose every believer to have a purpose “after salvation”!
Joh 15:16 Ye have not chosen me, [but I have chosen you], and ordained you, that ye should go and bring forth fruit, and that your fruit should remain: that whatsoever ye shall ask of the Father in my name, he may give it you.
God will not refuse the things that are used to bring forth fruit for His Kingdom!
The same God who took Israel through the Red Sea also took them through the River Jordan and into their inheritance.
This is the same God that will take us through the wilderness of this life into our own inheritance!
The message Joshua had for Israel was this:
“If there was ever a nation in this world that should be obligated to keep the Laws of God, then that nation should be Israel for all He had done for them”.
And Spiritually speaking if there was ever a people that should be obligated to be obedient to the Word of God, it is all those that have been saved in this time of “Grace”.
We are certainly undeserving of these free gifts of God!
Eph 2:8 For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God:
*****Jos 24:12 And I sent the hornet before you, which drave them out from before you, even the two kings of the Amorites; but not with thy sword, nor with thy bow.
Joshua had to remind this people that even though they had some small part in the defeat of all those enemies, “It was God who had won the victory for them”.
The hornet of the Bible was a vicious stinging wasp!
BUT the reference here is the absolute fear and terror of the Lord!
We are reminded of what Rahab said:
Jos 2:11 And [as soon as we had heard these things, our hearts did melt, neither did there remain any more courage in any man], because of you: for the LORD your God, he is God in heaven above, and in earth beneath.
God had promised this to Moses and had fulfilled it with Joshua.
Exo 23:27 [I will send my fear before thee], and will destroy all the people to whom thou shalt come, and I will make all thine enemies turn their backs unto thee.
Exo 23:28 And [I will send hornets before thee], which shall drive out the Hivite, the Canaanite, and the Hittite, from before thee.
Did God send hornets, sure He did, but most all invading armies are compared to bees:
Deu 1:44 And the Amorites, which dwelt in that mountain, came out against you, and chased you, [as bees do,] and destroyed you in Seir, even unto Hormah.
Either way we see again that God always keeps His promises!
*****Jos 24:13 And I have given you a land for which ye did not labour, and cities which ye built not, and ye dwell in them; of the vineyards and oliveyards which ye planted not do ye eat.
Here again we see the goodness of God. God provides for His people. But we should also remember in God’s plan this was exactly what He had done when He first created this earth.
Gen 1:29 And God said, Behold, I have given you every herb bearing seed, which is upon the face of all the earth, and every tree, in the which is the fruit of a tree yielding seed; to you it shall be for meat.
God will always provide for His children:
Psa 37:3 Trust in the LORD, and do good; so shalt thou dwell in the land, [and verily thou shalt be fed].
The Jews took these things for granted and we can see this same thing happening to the Church.
The Jews drifted away from true worship and the Church is doing the same thing.
The truth is that “a grateful heart is a strong defence against the temptation’s of the devil”.
To the believer there is an even greater inheritance and it too comes by the “Grace of God”.
Jesus Himself has gone to prepare us a place:
Joh 14:1 Let not your heart be troubled: ye believe in God, believe also in me.
Joh 14:2 In my Father’s house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you.
*****Jos 24:14 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.
Therefore: Since God had done all these things mentioned from verse 1-13, they should love God enough to serve Him.
We find that word “serve” more than a dozen times in these passages.
To “serve” means to obey and then to be a doer of God’s Word. Let’s not miss the fact that this is a volunteering decision. God will never force anyone to be a servant. Nor will He force anyone to be obedient.
God just explains the consequences of our decisions!
If we serve Him we will have eternal life “but the wages of serving sin are death”.
Rom 6:23 For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.
We might not accept what The Lord says “but it is still the truth”.
Joshua made it very clear that we all must make a choice in life and the sooner the better off we are!
There is no middle ground!
In fact The Lord says that anyone that tries to be neutral makes Him sick.
Rev 3:16 So then because thou art lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, [I will spue thee out of my mouth].
Though they disagree, even the Atheist serve a master!
Everyone on the face of this Earth worship something. If it is not the God of the Bible, Jehovah, “it is a false religion”!
Mat 6:24 No man can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and mammon.
We can see the truth of this verse in the world we live in today.
We can see how this world we live in hates and despises the Lord Jesus Christ and that hatred is growing. Even the democrats “booed” God at their national convention and these are the people who think we should vote for
If I was even thinking of voting for one of them, this changed everything. I stand with Jehovah God, you boo Him you are my enemy!
Shame again on America!
*****Jos 24:15 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].
God has made His choice of what He will do in every situation! He has caused it to be written down for us! He has given us many great examples to see the truth of His Word!
This is the same choice that everyone from the time of Adam has had to make.
We are all presented with this choice!
We can serve the God of Creation and Our Redeemer, who is revealed to be Jesus Christ “or we can choose from the multiple choices that this world offers”.
Some have always tried to do both which is impossible!
That phrase “on the other side of the flood” means the false religions that came about since the time of Nimrod.
There are many today who still serve the false deities of Nimrod, including the Muslim who serve the Old Moon God they call Allah, so well depicted on their flags and other things.
But there are shrines built to many other false things by many peoples.
Joshua had already made his choice!
National leaders have an obligation to be the example for the people that have placed them in such positions.
As the leaders make wrong choices, the nations they rule will always suffer.
We see this every day in America! To be quiet honest I don’t know how anyone who votes for such men can call themselves Christian and be obedient to the Word of God.
*****Jos 24:16 And the people answered and said, God forbid that we should forsake the LORD, to serve other gods;
When we forsake the Law of God which is to love Him with “all” our heart, body, mind and soul, [we are actually giving praise to Satan and his evil].
When we obey the Law of God then we will be made aware that we have enemies!
Pro 28:4 They that forsake the law praise the wicked: but such as keep the law contend with them.
Pro 28:5 Evil men understand not judgment: but they that seek the LORD understand all things
We can see the truth in this scripture that evil men do not fear the judgment of God!
Man will always find something to worship but to ignore Jehovah, Our Lord, will bring destruction!
Pro 10:29 The way of the LORD is strength to the upright: but destruction shall be to the workers of iniquity.
It is God’s will that every living soul make serious choices about religion. Religion will send you to hell! To know the God of the Bible is to be free from religion and become a child of God.
World history proves over and over that sin has been the downfall of every nation!
*****Jos 24:17 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:
Jos 24:18 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].
When Our Lord accepts us into His family, our past sinful life is not remembered by Him.
Heb 10:17 And their sins and iniquities will I remember no more.
BUT, we need to take a look at where we came from. We need to look back on occasion to see what God has done in our lives.
Joshua was reminding the children of Israel of these things now.
We are still sinners that are saved by the “Grace of God” and we must accept the fact that it is not always easy to be righteous in the eyes of The Lord.
Our righteousness is still as filthy rags. We exist as the children of God based on the righteousness of Christ Jesus.
We must realize the truth of the Gospel of Jesus Christ and just commit ourselves to Him!
God has proven who He is and all we need do is believe and then repent!
Today is the best day to accept the Savior for who He is!
*****Jos 24:19 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.
When the parents of these that stood before Joshua this day had stood before Moses many years earlier they had said:
Exo 19:8 And all the people answered together, and said, [All that the LORD hath spoken we will do]. And Moses returned the words of the people unto the LORD.
It was only a few weeks from this that they talked Aaron into making that golden calf.
Joshua knew it was easy to make promises but it was something else to keep them!
When we make commitments to the Lord, He does not forget so easily.
Deu 23:21 When thou shalt vow a vow unto the LORD thy God, thou shalt not slack to pay it: for the LORD thy God will surely require it of thee; [and it would be sin in thee].
Again we can see that as these passages were a warning for Israel, they were also an example to the early church.
Heb 12:25 See that ye refuse not him that speaketh. For if they escaped not who refused him that spake on earth, much more shall not we escape, if we turn away from him that speaketh from heaven:
Heb 12:26 Whose voice then shook the earth: but now he hath promised, saying, Yet once more I shake not the earth only, but also heaven
*****Jos 24:20 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.
It should not be strange to us that many say they have come to the Lord and then think they can do exactly as they please.
God warns us all that even though He is a God of “Mercy”, a God of “Love”, and a God of “Comfort”, He Is Also A God Of “Judgment”!
Heb 11:6 But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.
*****Jos 24:21 And the people said unto Joshua, Nay; but we will serve the LORD.
It is important to make a public announcement of our “Faith”.
It is the will of God that all of us take our “faith” serious. It should be a deliberate choice and we should then live godly lives based on the Word of God.
*****Jos 24:22 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.
As Christians we must remain steadfast in the Lord.
James wrote to the early church:
Jas 1:23 For if any be a hearer of the word, and not a doer, he is like unto a man beholding his natural face in a glass:
Jas 1:24 For he beholdeth himself, and goeth his way, and straightway forgetteth what manner of man he was.
But when we look to the Word of God:
Jas 1:25 But whoso looketh into the perfect law of liberty, and continueth therein, he being not a forgetful hearer, but a doer of the work, this man shall be blessed in his deed.
*****Jos 24:23 Now therefore put away, said he, the strange gods which are among you, and incline your heart unto the LORD God of Israel.
There is no doubt that in a short time some of these of Israel had obtained some of the Idols of Canaan Land.
They had witnessed the power of God at the Jordan River and in many battles [but they still clung to false things].
Elijah asked them this same question:
1Ki 18:21 And Elijah came unto all the people, and said, [How long halt ye between two opinions]? if the LORD be God, follow him: but if Baal, then follow him. And the people answered him not a word.
This has been a continuing thing throughout time. People say they believe then they return back to their old ways.
The Bible says:
Pro 26:11 As a dog returneth to his vomit, so a fool returneth to his folly.
This sounds harsh but it is the truth.
There is no neutral ground for the Christian.
But this is a sign of the end times. We can see the truth of God’s judgment throughout the Old Testament and Our God does not change.
*****Jos 24:24 And the people said unto Joshua, The LORD our God will we serve, and his voice will we obey.
Again this must come from the heart:
Rom 10:10 For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.
*****Jos 24:25 So Joshua made a covenant with the people that day, and set them a statute and an ordinance in Shechem.
Jos 24:26 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.
It is always good to remember what God has already done in our lives.
I don’t do it but I should keep a prayer journal but just as important we need to record the good things that God has done in our lives so we can look back on them in time of doubts.
It is good to remember the things the Lord has done and how we have responded to Him.
God will never leave us, [it is always us that moves away from Him].
The Holy Ghost made sure that we can read these things that happened to Israel.
God named Moses to lead Israel out of Egypt.
God named Joshua to lead Israel into the promised land.
God did not name anyone to succeed Joshua because “He would lead them the rest of the way if only they would follow”!
We already know that Israel did not follow and they are being judged for that now but this same Bible says that Jehovah the God of the Bible will regather them and reestablish them in their land!
Eze 36:24 For I will take you from among the heathen, and gather you out of all countries, and will bring you into your own land.
*****Jos 24:29 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.
Jos 24:30 And they buried him in the border of his inheritance in Timnathserah, which is in mount Ephraim, on the north side of the hill of Gaash.
Jos 24:31 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.
No doubt Israel had a great respect for Joshua.
But is the Lord [not Joshua] who is the key person in this Book of Joshua.
No doubt God has a special relationship with Israel but we must remember God used Israel to bring a blessing to all the nations on this Earth.
Gen 12:3 And I will bless them that bless thee, and curse him that curseth thee: and “in thee shall all families of the earth be blessed”.
I don’t know about the rest of the world but I do know the leaders of America have forgotten this promise of God and we suffer in America today because of it.
The basis of our “faith” is on our God who keeps His promises and He will keep this one too!
The Lord our God we serve will not tolerate sin which is why He sent the Lord Jesus Christ!
It is a foolish church that wanders in unbelief.
Our faith is based on the truth of the Gospel and the Words of Jesus should ring out to all.
Joh 14:6 Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.
Joh 14:7 If ye had known me, ye should have known my Father also: and from henceforth ye know him, and have seen him.