This is the Sharing at my church yesterday

Introduction

Joshua is a servant of God, he is the one who continue the work of Moses after his death. He was the man who led Israel into the land of Canaan. In his days as he served the Lord, he had encountered many miracles an grace of God. That is why in his old age, he had an important message to be delivered to the children of Israel. This message is important to us as Christian today as well.

Joshua began his address as follows

“I am old, advanced in age. You have seen all
  that the Lord your God has done to all these
  nations because of you, for the Lord your God
  is He who has fought for you. 4 See, I have
  divided to you by lot these nations that remain,
  to be an inheritance for your tribes, from
  the Jordan, with all the nations that I have
  cut off, as far as the Great Sea westward.
 
And the Lord your God will expel them from
  before you and drive them out of your sight.
  So you shall possess their land, as the Lord
  your God promised you” – Joshua (Jos 23:2-5)

This was the opening message of the message of Joshua. At that time Joshua is old in age, the book of Joshua, recorded how he led Israel. He led the Israelites to cross the river Jordan and led them on two campaigns to capture the land of Canaan. The work that God accomplish through Joshua is no ordinary work. For Jos 23:1 reads, “Now it came to pass, a long time after the Lord had given rest to Israel from all their enemies round about”.  God had given Israel rest from all their enemies, this is a testimony that Joshua had led the children of Israel until they have truly received the grace of God.

This is something we ought to emulate, especially to those of us who had followed the Lord for a long time. We need to lead our families to receive the grace of God, we must present our families to be holy before the Lord. Just like how Joshua gathered the people before the Lord.

Lets us begin by examining his message in details.

Pt 1: To Be Courageous  To Keep The Word of God

“Therefore be very courageous to keep
  and to do all that is written in the Book
  of the Law of Moses, lest you turn aside
  from it to the right hand or to the left,” – Joshua (Jos 23:6)

Joshua begin by telling the children of Israel to be courageous when it comes keeping the law of Moses. He tells them not to turn from it to the right or the left. This is an important message, and this command is not created by Joshua. It was given to him by God.  For the Lord once said to Joshua

Only be strong and very courageous,
  that you may observe to do according
  to all the law which Moses My servant
  commanded you; do not turn from it
  to the right hand or to the left, that
  you may prosper wherever you go” – YHWH (Jos 1:7)

When Joshua took over the leadership of the children of Israel, it was a great responsibility. Not only the children of Israel were numerous, but they were about to cross over the river Jordan and conquer the land of Canaan. In face of such a great task before him, this was the command of God to him, God promised to be with Joshua just as he was with Moses all he need to do is to be courageous to keep the law of God. This was the command he obeyed all the days of his life. Now in Joshua 23 in his old age Joshua took what he received from God and gave them to the children of Israel . For he had understood why they were successful in entering the land of Canaan and how they manage to defeat the Canaanites that were in the land.

How does this relate to us today?

The reminder of being courageous to keep the word of God is not just for us, it is for our children as well. This is something difficult to do, for we need to do this from our heart. If we look around us  it is difficult for many around us will not keep it. But as far as the bible tells us, Jesus once said “If you love me, keep my commandments.”  (Jn 14:15), keeping the commandments is a display of our love of Jesus. As the children of God and a believer of Christ we must keep the commandments of God.

The bible tells us of many things we ought to fulfil in our lives,. If we follow the words of the bible, we would receive spiritual blessings as well as physical blessing. In order to receive blessings, we must work hard for we do not wait for blessing to fall on us . We  must strive for ourselves just like how the Israelites did when the enter the land of Canaan. They obeyed the command of God willingly when they cross over the river Jordan. They were told to carry the ark of God into fast flowing river Jordan.  Those who had seen the cross section of the crossing will notice that the entrance to the river is steep, therefore the priest have to jump right into the river for the waters to reside. In the same way, the walls of Jericho collapsed when they obey the command of God to walk around the city quietly. They did so for one round per day with the priest blowing the trumpet and no one shouting. They did so for  6 days. On the 7th day, they march around the city 7 times and on the 7th round, after the priest blew the trumpet, the people shouted and the walls fell flat. All these while the victories of the Israelites were a result of their obedience to the command of God.

Likewise, if we want to receive blessing from God today, we need to keep the commandment of God. For we will receive blessing,spiritually and physically. This can be seen in Israel when they enter the land of Canaan they rejoice in the land and it is a land fill with milk and honey. They could enjoy the blessing easily as God had given it to them. Just as what Joshua said in the next chapter

“I sent the hornet before you
  which drove them out from
  before you, also the two kings
  of the Amorites, but not with
  your sword or with your bow.
  I have given you a land for which
  you did not labor, and cities
  which you did not build, and you
   dwell in them; you eat of the
  vineyards and olive groves
  which you did not plant.” – Joshua (Jos 24:12-13)

Here Joshua reminded them that they did not build these cities or labour for this land. It is a blessing of God to them. To keep these blessing they need to keep the commandment of God

This is the first important message from Joshua to Israel

Pt 2: Remember How God Had Loved You

The second message is written in Jos 24:1-11. It is a long recount of the past history of Israel. How God took Terah and Abraham from the land of Ur of the Chaldeans (Modern Day Kuwait) to the land of Canaan (the present day Israel). How they used to serve other Gods and was turned to serve the true God. How he gave the land of Seir (Present day Jordan) to Esau and he took the children of Israel and settled them in the land of Egypt when they multiplied into a huge population. He reminded them how God sent 10 plagues into Egypt and saved them from the armies of the Pharaoh by the red sea. How he took care of Israel during their 40 years journey in the wilderness

Joshua gave these details so that he could remind the children of Israel. For Joshua knew that they have not experienced this in their lives. For almost everyone who came out of Egypt, who had experienced these miracles had all died in the wilderness. The audience Joshua was addressing are born during the 40 years of wandering in the wilderness. That is why Joshua recounted their history before them, Joshua wanted them to not forget all the blessings God had given them so far. For God had guided them in his mercy for if God had not taken care of them, they would have died in the hands of the Egyptians, or die of hunger in the wilderness. When Joshua look back at the entire journey before him, he could see how God blessed them on every part of the journey.

Therefore  Joshua brought an important message to Israel.  Reminding them that they are currently living in Canaan and that was all because of God. He reminded them not to forget God.

How does this relate to us today?

Today if we were to recount the many help God had given to us all these years, we would find that they are too numerous and we cannot finish writing about them in a book. At the basic level the greatest blessings we have received from God is that he had saved us from sin through baptism in his name. Therefore, like Joshua we must tell these to our next generation especially our young and our grandchildren. We need to tell them how God had blessed us and take care of us.  Let us not think that what we received  is the result of the work of our hands for all that we received came from God and we need to share these stories with our next generation

Pt 3: Choose For Yourselves Who You Should Serve

The last important message from Joshua are written in Jos 24:14-15

“Now therefore, fear the Lord, serve
  Him in sincerity and in truth, and put
  away the gods which your fathers
  served on the other side of the River
  and in Egypt. Serve the Lord!

  And if it seems evil to you to serve
  the Lord, choose for yourselves this
  day whom you will serve, whether
  the gods which your fathers served
  that were on the other side of the
  River, or the gods of the Amorites,
  in whose land you dwell. But as for
  me and my house, we will serve
  the Lord.” – Joshua (Jos 24:14-15)

This last message is a challenge from Joshua, Joshua wanted the people to make a choice in their faith. This is a question we odd to ask ourselves. Joshua did not call the Lord God of Abraham , Isaac & Jacob but he simply say serve the Lord. This is because the faith of Israel must be established and they cannot depend on the faith of others  Joshua wanted the people to grow up in their faith and choose whom they want to serve. 

It is our decision to choose to follow the word of God or to follow the ways of the world. If we want to remain in our faith in God we cannot depend on the faith of others. If we choose to follow God we will have establish our faith. In the church we can see different level of faith, there are some who come to church only when the preacher comes to deliver a sermon , while some follow their friends and relatives to come to church. Such faith is still at infancy  There are also others who think that they are saved but their faith does not match up with their deeds

We need to understand that we will eventually be judged for our actions. We are not saved by the deeds of others. That is why our faith needs to grow and we need to make a choice to follow God. Even at home when our kids grow up they have to make their own choices. Some may choose to serve God while some will choose to follow the ways of the world. As a parent we cannot do much about it. But we could follow the example of Joshua . Joshua encourage them to choose God.

We may be wondering why did Joshua make this his final message and not the first or second. If Joshua were to make them choose in the beginning  they may not choose carefully. In order to allow the children of Israel to make a lasting commitment to God. He decided to remind them how important it is to keep the commandment of God through their life experience and he reminded them how God had taken care of them in the past. He asked them to make a choice only after considering everything.

In the same way, we ought follow this same model, to first teach our children the importance of having courage to follow the commandments of the Lord and to recall all the blessing God had given them so far.  Only when they consider everything then allow them to make the choice to establish their faith

Conclusion

We have studied the three important message from Joshua. Let us learn to keep the commandment of God with courage, to recount and remember the blessing God had given us.

Let us make the right choice in faith and establish our faith in the Lord.

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