After the last four weeks of talking about Knowing God better through His Bible, prayer/conversation with Him, and fellowshiping with other believers, this lesson will finalize with Joshua forcing the Israelites to make a true Lordship Decision (total surrender).
These two chapters give us an example of the consequences of giving "lip service" to the God of the Bible but not totally surrendering my will and way to Him.
Verses 1-3 A long time after the Lord had given Israel rest from all the enemies around them, Joshua was old, getting on in years. So Joshua summoned all Israel, including its elders, leaders, judges, and officers,and said to them, “I am old, getting on in years, and you have seen for yourselves everything the Lord your God did to all these nations on your account, because it was the Lord your God who was fighting for you.
God's earlier promise to Joshua
Joshua 1:3-9 I have given you every place where the sole of your foot treads, just as I promised Moses. Your territory will be from the wilderness and Lebanon to the great Euphrates River—all the land of the Hittites—and west to the Mediterranean Sea. No one will be able to stand against you as long as you live. I will be with you, just as I was with Moses. I will not leave you or forsake you.
“Be strong and courageous, for you will distribute the land I swore to their fathers to give them as an inheritance. Above all, be strong and very courageous to carefully observe the whole instruction My servant Moses commanded you. Do not turn from it to the right or the left, so that you will have success wherever you go. This book of instruction must not depart from your mouth; you are to recite it day and night so that you may carefully observe everything written in it.
For then you will prosper and succeed in whatever you do. Haven’t I commanded you: be strong and courageous? Do not be afraid or discouraged, for the Lordyour God is with you wherever you go.”
What were they fighting for? What was God's promised gift to them?
Verses 4-5 What were they fighting for?See, I have allotted these remaining nations to you as an inheritance for your tribes, including all the nations I have destroyed, from the Jordan westward to the Mediterranean Sea. The Lord your God will force them back on your account and drive them out before you so that you can take possession of their land, as the Lord your God promised you.
“SO THAT” statements.
"So that’s" are a “hinge phrase”. If I don’t do what comes before (so that), then what comes after will happen. God wants you to have what's after “so that”.
Verses 6-8 “Be very strong and continue obeying all that is written in the book of the law of Moses, so that you do not turn from it to the right or left and so that you do not associate with these nations remaining among you.
Do not call on the names of their gods or make an oath to them; do not worship them or bow down to them. Instead, remain faithful to the Lord your God, as you have done to this day.
What cautions are in these verses below?
Verses 9-13 “The Lord has driven out great and powerful nations before you, and no one is able to stand against you to this day. One of you routed a thousand because the Lord your God was fighting for you, as He promised.
So be very diligent to love the Lord your God for your own well-being.
For if you turn away and cling to the rest of these nations remaining among you, and if you intermarry or associate with them and they with you, know for certain that the Lord your God will not continue to drive these nations out before you. They will become a snare and a trap for you, a scourge for your sides and thorns in your eyes, until you disappear from this good land the Lord your God has given you.
Verse 14 “I am now going the way of all the earth, and you know with all your heart and all your soul that none of the good promises the Lord your God made to you has failed. Everything was fulfilled for you; not one promise has failed.
- Many promises from God are recorded in the Bible. What are some of your favorites? Here are two:
Hebrews 13:5 - I will never leave you or forsake you.
Joshua 1:5 – I will be with you. Will not leave you or forsake you.
Important word is “since”
Verse 15 Since every good thing the Lord your God promised you has come about, so He will bring on you every bad thing until He has annihilated you from this good land the Lord your God has given you.
Important word is “if”
Verse 16 If you break the covenant of the Lord your God, which He commanded you, and go and worship other gods, and bow down to them, the Lord’s anger will burn against you, and you will quickly disappear from this good land He has given you.”
The bad thing that can happen in Verse 15 is dependent on the “if” statement in verse 16.
What does that mean about God’s promises coming true for me?
Joshua 24 –What has God done for YOU in the past?
"I" Statements by God -- reminders of what God has done
Verse 3 But I took your father Abraham...
How many of God's "I' statements do you see in these verses?
Verses 2-13 Joshua said to all the people, “This is what the Lord, the God of Israel, says: ‘Long ago your ancestors, including Terah,the father of Abraham and Nahor, lived beyond the Euphrates River and worshiped other gods. But I took your father Abraham from the region beyond the Euphrates River, led him throughout the land of Canaan, and multiplied his descendants. I gave him Isaac, and to Isaac I gave Jacob and Esau. I gave the hill country of Seir to Esau as a possession, but Jacob and his sons went down to Egypt.
5 “‘Then I sent Moses and Aaron; I plagued Egypt by what I did there and afterward I brought you out. When I brought your fathers out of Egypt and you reached the Red Sea, the Egyptians pursued your fathers with chariots and horsemen as far as the sea. Your fathers cried out to the Lord, so He put darkness between you and the Egyptians, and brought the sea over them, engulfing them. Your own eyes saw what I did to Egypt. After that, you lived in the wilderness a long time.
8 “‘Later, I brought you to the land of the Amorites who lived beyond the Jordan. They fought against you, but I handed them over to you. You possessed their land, and I annihilated them before you. 9 Balak son of Zippor, king of Moab, set out to fight against Israel. He sent for Balaam son of Beor to curse you, but I would not listen to Balaam. Instead, he repeatedly blessed you, and I delivered you from his hand.
11 “‘You then crossed the Jordan and came to Jericho. The people of Jericho—as well as the Amorites, Perizzites, Canaanites, Hittites, Girgashites, Hivites, and Jebusites—fought against you, but I handed them over to you. I sent the hornet ahead of you, and it drove out the two Amorite kings before you. It was not by your sword or bow. I gave you a land you did not labor for, and cities you did not build, though you live in them; you are eating from vineyards and olive groves you did not plant.’
HOMEWORK: write out “I” statements about YOUR past and what God has done for you.
"Therefore" -- what is it there for??
Verse 14 “Therefore, fear the Lord and worship Him in sincerity and truth. Get rid of the gods your fathers worshiped beyond the Euphrates River and in Egypt, and worship Yahweh.
- What does THIS mean?
Deuteronomy 18:13 You must be blameless before the Lord your God.
What does Joshua declare?
Verse 15 But if it doesn’t please you to worship Yahweh, choose for yourselves today the one you will worship: the gods your fathers worshiped beyond the Euphrates River or the gods of the Amorites in whose land you are living. As for me and my family, we will worship Yahweh.”
- What is my answer to that question? Is it just lip service?
The peoples' response ?
Verses 16-18 The people replied, “We will certainly not abandon the Lord to worship other gods! For the Lord our God brought us and our fathers out of the land of Egypt, out of the place of slavery, and performed these great signs before our eyes. He also protected us all along the way we went and among all the peoples whose lands we traveled through. The Lord drove out before us all the peoples, including the Amorites who lived in the land. We too will worship the Lord, because He is our God.”
What is Joshua's response?
Verses 19-20 But Joshua told the people, “You will not be able to worship Yahweh, because He is a holy God. He is a jealous God; He will not remove your transgressions and sins. If you abandon the Lord and worship foreign gods, He will turn against you, harm you, and completely destroy you, after He has been good to you.”
Joshua says “you are lying”. But the people's response is that "it's not lip service."
Verse 21 “No!” the people answered Joshua. “We will worship the Lord.”
Verses 22-23 Joshua then told the people, “You are witnesses against yourselves that you yourselves have chosen to worship Yahweh.” “We are witnesses,” they said. “Then get rid of the foreign gods that are among you and offer your hearts to the Lord, the God of Israel.”
Am I doing that? Am I holding onto something hidden that I don’t want Him to know about? Or He might make me give up?
Joshua set up a memorial / witness to their commitment
Verses 26-27 Joshua recorded these things in the book of the law of God; he also took a large stone and set it up there under the oak next to the sanctuary of the Lord. And Joshua said to all the people, “You see this stone—it will be a witness against us, for it has heard all the words the Lord said to us, and it will be a witness against you, so that you will not deny your God.”
Did they follow through and keep their commitment?
Judges chapter 1 – did they obey?
Judges 1:21 At the same time the Benjaminites did not drive out the Jebusites who were living in Jerusalem. The Jebusites have lived among the Benjaminites in Jerusalem to this day.
God cast His judgment on Israel for their disobedience in worshipping other Gods.
Judges 2:3 Therefore, I now say: I will not drive out these people before you. They will be thorns in your sides, and their gods will be a trap for you.”
You are free to choose but you are not free from the consequences of your choice.
Every time you make a choice you are turning the central part of you, the part that chooses, into something a little different from what it was before. C.S. Lewis
Write out “I” statements about YOUR past and what God has done. Does this help you trust Him for your future?
Meditate on YOUR answer to the question Joshua asked. Is it just “lip service”?
We don’t have to worry about lip-service, if we get to know God and let Him transform us!