The Challenge to the People of God

Joshua’s Challenge to Israel

Book of Joshua Chapter 24

Last week we saw that Israel finally had rest from war.

Not all of Canaan Land was conquered, because many in Israel got lazy and forgot what God had promised them.

This is something we must never do; we must never forget the promises God has made to us.

We must never forget what the Lord Jesus Christ has promised to us!

We must never forget that the Lord Jesus Christ died to fulfill the promises He had made to His own Father.

One of the reasons we were created in the image of God, is so that we are free to choose our own destiny.

All the days of Jesus upon this earth He had the ability to choose, and He always chose righteousness!

Why do we suffer so much in this world? It is mainly because of the choices we make in this life.

God gave us the inerrant Word of God so we would know the truth!

This world we live in gives us nothing but lies.

God equips us so we can make the right choices!

Most of our problems come because of the choices Adam and Eve made in the Garden of Eden.

We saw what God did because of those bad choices and we brag all the time about our God does not ever change.

We need to remember how God dealt with disobedience because He certainly does not change.

What did the Lord Jesus teach us?

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.

Jesus also said no one can serve two masters. We can have only one Master!

God knows how much we love Him “by our obedience to His Word”!

He is the same today as He was back then!

Like Caleb, Joshua had fully followed the Lord.

Joshua had in his possession the five Books of Moses at this time and his last will for the children of Israel was for them to keep the Word of God in their heart and be obedient to it.

Jos 23:6 Be ye therefore very courageous to keep and to do all that is written in the book of the law of Moses, that ye turn not aside therefrom to the right hand or to the left;
Jos 23:7 That ye come not among these nations, these that remain among you; neither make mention of the name of their gods, nor cause to swear by them, neither serve them, nor bow yourselves unto them:
Jos 23:8 But cleave unto the LORD your God, as ye have done unto this day.

Joshua knew then, what we know today. It would take a lot of courage to take a stand upon the Word of God!

Joshua had reached the end of his life and he knew it, but he had a special message for the children of Israel.

Jos 23:14 And, behold, this day I am going the way of all the earth: and ye know in all your hearts and in all your souls, that not one thing hath failed of all the good things which the LORD your God spake concerning you; all are come to pass unto you, and not one thing hath failed thereof.
Jos 23:15 Therefore it shall come to pass, that as all good things are come upon you, which the LORD your God promised you; so shall the LORD bring upon you all evil things, until he have destroyed you from off this good land which the LORD your God hath given you.

We have a great Pastor here at Gethsemane and when we remember, we know that He spends a lot of time teaching us this same message that Joshua had taught to Israel.

Israel means the people of God.

The Church is made up of the people of God!

How did Joshua go about his final message to Israel?

*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.

We had better get it in our heads, that when we come into the House of God, we are presenting ourselves before God and we have come to worship Him.

God had an important message for the children of Israel, and He has an important message for us every time we gather together.

Every person who was in a leadership position in any of the tribes of Israel were especially called to this message and it was important as all the Word of God is important.

Shechem itself was a prominent place to gather because it was the place where God had made certain promises to Abraham and these that gathered to Joshua were a fulfillment of some of those promises.

Joshua was totally convinced that God had done exactly as He said He would, and these that gathered with him should also be convinced of the same.

From the beginning of Israel’s history, it had been Jehovah who had directed their path and it was their own choices that had caused them to stumble along that pathway and it is the same for us today.

When God presents choices to us, He is requesting for us to decide!

These children of Israel were eyewitnesses to the evil wickedness and immorality that was the land of Canaan.

These children of Israel were eyewitnesses to the idolatry of the many false gods in the land of Canaan.

These children of Israel were also eyewitnesses to the power of God, because in almost every battle they were outnumbered and were not equipped as well as their enemies.

They had Jehovah.

The Chaldean worshipped their false gods.
The Egyptians worshipped their false gods.
The Amorites worshipped their false gods.

They had seen that Jehovah was the most powerful God, but also the most loving and gracious God. Those false gods had no power at all.

It would seem that the choice of who to serve would be an easy one and it is, when we take the time to study the Word of God and hear the truth of His Word!

For Joshua, his mind was made up.

For Joshua, his way was clear.

*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.
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.

We should understand that it is the Lord who is speaking here by the Holy Spirit.

Since God had called Abraham out of what is now called Iraq, He had His hands upon this family that had grown into this nation of Israel.

Israel means the people of God.

It was the Jehovah of the Old Testament the same person as the Lord Jesus Christ of the New Testament who had done all these things.

It is only Jehovah who can save and deliver His people.

It is Jehovah who is the Redeemer!

The History of Israel is the story of the birth of the Lord Jesus Christ.

The Lord Jesus Christ is that “Promised Seed” told to Abraham.

Israel did not win one battle, because the Lord fought all their battles, and the Lord cannot be defeated!

The crossing of the River Jordan is the symbol of “New Life”!

The New Life of each one that accepts the truth of the Living God!

What had God told Abraham?

Gen 12:1 Now the LORD had said unto Abram, Get thee out of thy country, and from thy kindred, and from thy father’s house, unto a land that I will shew thee:
Gen 12:2 And I will make of thee a great nation, and I will bless thee, and make thy name great; and thou shalt be a blessing:
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.

The world had better realize that these words are still in effect for Israel today!

Curse them if you dare, but doing so will bring to you the wrath of God just as He says!

That Promised Seed is also then the Messiah!

Act 3:25 Ye are the children of the prophets, and of the covenant which God made with our fathers, saying unto Abraham, And in thy seed shall all the kindreds of the earth be blessed.
Act 3:26 Unto you first God, having raised up his Son Jesus, sent him to bless you, in turning away every one of you from his iniquities.

That Promised Seed is also to all the descendants of “Faith”, that “faith” in the truth of God!

Rom 4:11 And he received the sign of circumcision, a seal of the righteousness of the faith which he had yet being uncircumcised: that he might be the father of all them that believe, though they be not circumcised; that righteousness might be imputed unto them also:
Rom 4:12 And the father of circumcision to them who are not of the circumcision only, but who also walk in the steps of that faith of our father Abraham, which he had being yet uncircumcised.
Rom 4:13 For the promise, that he should be the heir of the world, was not to Abraham, or to his seed, through the law, but through the righteousness of faith.

The Promised Land then refers to the home of these descendants of faith!

Rom 4:16 Therefore it is of faith, that it might be by grace; to the end the promise might be sure to all the seed; not to that only which is of the law, but to that also which is of the faith of Abraham; who is the father of us all,
Rom 4:17 (As it is written, I have made thee a father of many nations,) before him whom he believed, even God, who quickeneth the dead, and calleth those things which be not as though they were.

The Bible is not so hard to understand when we understand the reality of the truth of God!

*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.

It might be a stretch, but the Holy Spirit just described part Heaven in this verse.

Heaven is the Land that the Lord has built.
The New Jerusalem is a city that the Lord has built.
We will dwell in this place that God has built for us and there will be no sin.

The Promised Land was the great hope of most of these whose parents and some of their elders who were once slaves.

The Promised Land of Heaven is the great hope of all those who were once slaves to this Satan controlled world of sin, but now have their names written down in Heaven’s Book of Life.

The Israelite were pilgrims and sojourners until they inherited the promised land.

Heb 11:13 These all died in faith, not having received the promises, but having seen them afar off, and were persuaded of them, and embraced them, and confessed that they were strangers and pilgrims on the earth.

The Christians are pilgrims and sojourners in this sin filled world until the Lord returns to take us home and He will return.

1Pe 2:9 But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvellous light:
1Pe 2:10 Which in time past were not a people, but are now the people of God: which had not obtained mercy, but now have obtained mercy.
1Pe 2:11 Dearly beloved, I beseech you as strangers and pilgrims, abstain from fleshly lusts, which war against the soul;

We must understand the inheritance of the Promised Land is conditional just as it was to these Israelites.

They could not receive the Promised Land unless they believed in Jehovah and obeyed His commands.

This thing has not changed for the Christian!

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.

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.

Joh_14:15 If ye love me, keep my commandments.

Joh_15:10 If ye keep my commandments, ye shall abide in my love; even as I have kept my Father’s commandments, and abide in his love.

How are we to respond to the truth of God?

*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.
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.

While we have the breath of life in our lungs, we must make a choice!

This is the same message Joshua gave to Israel.

The Israelites back then and the Israelite of today still have this same message.

The lost sinner and the Christian have this same choice to make!

The greatest of all choices we can make in this life, “is to choose the Lord Jesus Christ”.

This is not prophecy; this is just the truth!

To fear the Lord is to honor and respect His truth.

This a reverent fear of the Lord but we had better keep in mind that it was the Lord who is also our Creator and the Giver and the Taker of life!

We need to be “in awe” of the truth of our God Jehovah!

When we present the “Gospel”, the “Good News” to those who do not believe, we are trying to explain to them the importance of making the right choice.

We need good leaders like Joshua to give them the same message!

We do not know what tomorrow will bring, so today is always the best day to give yourself to the Lord!

When we choose to serve the Lord, it must come with sincerity!

*Jos 24:16 And the people answered and said, God forbid that we should forsake the LORD, to serve other gods;
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

God does forbid that we forsake Him. If we forsake the Lord our God, then we are serving Satan.

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.

What is the greatest problem in our world today? People have chosen to forsake God and to serve the Devil!

These foolish people who keep shoving evolution down our throats just because they hate God, will soon reap the rewards of their lies unless they repent and change their wicked ways.

Man-made climate change is a joke! We are just in the last days, and this is just another sign of that truth.

Joshua gave the truth to these Israelites in just a few words.

These people had witnessed the power of God.

These people had witnessed the great signs of our Creator.

These people were eyewitnesses to the fact that God Himself will fight for His people and His enemies are powerless to defend against Him.

These people were also witnesses to the fact that we will reap what we sow!

Joshua had already made his choice and he had made this choice as a young man and had not forsaken the Lord.

Knowing the truth, these Israelites came to the right conclusion.

It was the Lord who had brought them up out of the land of Egypt.

It was the Lord who had shown them such great signs.

It was the Lord who had preserved them in the wilderness.

It was the Lord who had removed the Amorites.

These children of Israel were just along for the ride to see if they could learn of their Savior.

They recommitted themselves to the Lord.

As Christians, being like the Lord Jesus Christ, we must be committed to serve the Lord.

It is a lifetime commitment and there is no retirement, but the benefits are Heavenly.

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.

When we answer the Lord and have made our choice, we must be clear on what that means.

*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.
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.

We must be sincere in our confession of faith!

There is no room for being in the middle. One foot in the Church and the other foot in the world!

A decision must be made! If we do not decide, then we have chosen death by default.

Deu_30:19 I call heaven and earth to record this day against you, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing: therefore choose life, that both thou and thy seed may live:

There is no allowance for putting this decision off.

When you face the Lord in judgment, you cannot tell the Lord you were about to make the right decision just before your death.

The commandments of the Lord will prolong our days because we will be living right.

God has established the laws of life and a person who is obedient to the Lord will feel far less guilt, far less pressure, far less tension and far less stress.

It is these things that are the greatest enemy of a happy life!

1Ki 3:14 And if thou wilt walk in my ways, to keep my statutes and my commandments, as thy father David did walk, then I will lengthen thy days.

The results of disobedience are terrible!

If we just look at our world today, we can see the ravages of sin all around us.

You take abortion, Aids, Monkey Pox, STDs, the Queer lifestyle, and put them in one category and it is all the same sin, fornication with fleshly lusts.

None of these things are mentioned when they are teaching sex education to our children.

Now they teach our children that you cannot know now if you are a boy or a girl until you get older.

We should trash the whole education system and start over or instruct our kids at home.

How can we justify paying teachers to corrupt our children!

The truth is, God blesses those who are obedient to Him!

God is a jealous God because God is Holy!

God will not overlook sin!
God will not forgive rebellion if those who are His turn to false gods.
God is unapproachable to all those who carry the weight of sin, and they will be destroyed unless they repent!

Once we have prayed the sinner’s prayer and the Holy Spirit moves in, we are witnesses to ourselves of the truth of God!

Psa 99:9 Exalt the LORD our God, and worship at his holy hill; for the LORD our God is holy.

Every true Christian understands that there is coming a day of final judgment when this world will end, and every human being will stand before God to be judged.

Every person who has turned away from the Living God, who engages in idolatry and false worship, will be condemned to eternal separation from God.

Joh 5:26 For as the Father hath life in himself; so hath he given to the Son to have life in himself;
Joh 5:27 And hath given him authority to execute judgment also, because he is the Son of man.
Joh 5:28 Marvel not at this: for the hour is coming, in the which all that are in the graves shall hear his voice,
Joh 5:29 And shall come forth; they that have done good, unto the resurrection of life; and they that have done evil, unto the resurrection of damnation.
Joh 5:30 I can of mine own self do nothing: as I hear, I judge: and my judgment is just; because I seek not mine own will, but the will of the Father which hath sent me.

We can miss this judgment only if we give ourselves to the Lord while we are yet living!

Rom_8:30 Moreover whom he did predestinate, them he also called: and whom he called, them he also justified: and whom he justified, them he also glorified.

This is that choice that we must make while we are living.

This is the choice that Joshua was giving to Israel and comes by faith to both peoples, the Israelites, and the Gentiles.

Rom 3:10 As it is written, There is none righteous, no, not one:
Rom 3:11 There is none that understandeth, there is none that seeketh after God.
Rom 3:12 They are all gone out of the way, they are together become unprofitable; there is none that doeth good, no, not one.

Rom 3:30 Seeing it is one God, which shall justify the circumcision by faith, and uncircumcision through faith.

Our jealous and holy God never changes!

And the answer from the people was:

*Jos 24:21 And the people said unto Joshua, Nay; but we will serve the LORD.
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.
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.

We must all realize that the Lord will hold us accountable for the decisions we make.

The Bible is our Book of Truth, and we have no excuse for not being obedient to God.

There is no darkness in God and once the Light of Jesus Christ have blessed us, we should not be in darkness but in the Light of Christ.

These things begin with repentance:

We must put away the strange gods of this world!

Anything we put in the place of the Lord Jesus Christ has then become a strange god!

If we worship anything but the Lord Jesus Christ, we are worshipping a fable!

They could not hide these things from Joshua, how could they expect to hide these things from Jehovah?

If we have a Bible in our possession, then we know what Joshua is talking about here.

If these things are commanded in the Old Testament by the Divine Word of God, why would we ever think it would be different in today’s world where there so many more distractions that Satan has caused to happen.

Anything that can take our heart away from serving the Lord is idolatry and false worship and punishable by death, the death that is a eternal separation from our Holy God!

We all have things to put away that we use to deny our love for God!

We cannot serve the Lord if we have embraced sin in any way!

The modern Church has aloud to much filth of sin into the doors of the Church taking away the holiness of the Church.

Do not get me wrong, we are to embrace all who enter the doors of the Church, but repentance is still the key to salvation.

Those who are truly saved will then repent of their old lifestyle and be Born Again into the family of God.

This will not happen overnight!

The modern Church has forgotten these words of Jesus Christ.

Joh_3:3 Jesus answered and said unto him, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.

Joh_3:7 Marvel not that I said unto thee, Ye must be born again.

We cannot ignore the Word of God!

We must incline our heart unto the Lord our God!

Why do most people reject Christianity? Because they would have to give up their sin and they are too fond of their sin to give it up.

*Jos 24:24 And the people said unto Joshua, The LORD our God will we serve, and his voice will we obey.
Jos 24:25 So Joshua made a covenant with the people that day, and set them a statute and an ordinance in Shechem.

Many today reject the fact that praying the sinner’s prayer is making a covenant with God, but it is!

Joshua wrote these things down and put them in the Word of God so these Israelites could not go back on their word by saying they did not understand.

Joshua then made a physical memorial so when these people who made this covenant with the Lord passed by it would bring them back to remember this day.

Today the Holy Spirit moves in when we pray the sinners pray.

He does not move into our souls just because we said a few words.

The Holy Spirit moves in when He knows these words came from a pure heart and He then becomes our memorial to the truth of God.

Our body is not yet saved so we will battle the truth of God and the falseness of the world all our remaining days.

The Holy Spirit will use His own power if we begin to stray.

If you can sin and do not have this conflict within you, then you do not have the Holy Spirit within you and you are not saved.

In other words you cannot continue in sin without feeling the admonishment of the Holy Spirit!

This is not a battle of your good side and your bad side.

This is a battle of righteousness!

Joshua loved this people, but Joshua was old and tired, and he wanted to spend his last days with his family serving the Lord.

Now Israel will begin the period called Judges.

Amen