-After many more days in the land when God had given His people rest from the wars of invasion and peace had been achieved on every side, Joshua found himself old and advanced in years calling for the elders, heads, judges, and officers of all Israel to consecrate his admonition for the future leadership. He started with the fact that every one of them had seen all that the LORD God had done for them in driving out these pagan nations so that His people could have their Promised Land. God had been the One fighting for them to accomplish all His good promises. Their inheritance had been given, and though there was still some driving out that needed to be done, Joshua promised that if the Jewish people were faithful and strong, God would thrust the enemy out from before them. Their possession was secure in the Hands of the Father. Joshua prophesied that they needed to be very firm to keep and do all that was written in the book of the Law of Moses, not turning to the right or left of it. The Hebrews were NOT to associate with the nations that they had vanquished but remained among them. They were not to mention the name of their gods or ever swear by them or serve them or bow down to them. They were to cling only to the LORD their Living God just as they were doing at the present time of Joshua. He rightly informed them that one of them was putting to flight a thousand enemies because they were right with God and allowing Him to fight their battles, just as He had promised. Joshua’ exhortation was to “take diligent heed to yourselves to love the LORD your God (Joshua 23:1-11).”
-If they were ever to go back and cling to these foreign nations and their gods, intermarrying with them for association and harlotry towards their covenant God, they should certainly know that the LORD would not continue to side with them in their military victories. These false religions would be a trap, a snare, a whip on their side, and thorns in their eyes to them if they ever decided to erect idols in their hearts towards the truth of God. They were guaranteed to perish off of their “good land,” with which the LORD had blessed them if they faltered in their commitment to their Sovereign (Joshua 23:12-13).
-Joshua now maintained that he was “going the way of all the earth.” He was old and advanced in years. He would be joining his ancestors in the other realm soon. He reiterated to his people that they all knew in their hearts and souls “that not one word of all the good works which the LORD your God spoke concerning you has failed; all have been fulfilled for you, not one of them has failed.” Just as God had blessed them, He would also complete His threats if they dared to depart His ways. He would be faithful to destroy them off of their “good land,” back into wilderness wanderings, if they were to neglect their true King who gave them everything they needed for prosperity and success. By the end of the exhortation there is sincere prophesy for what Joshua perceived by the Holy Spirit, “When (note it is not if) you transgress the covenant of the LORD your God, which He commanded you, and go and serve other gods and bow down to them, then the anger of the LORD will burn against you, and you will perish quickly from off the good land which He has given you (Joshua 23:14-16).”
-*Application* God did show extreme patience and kindness to His people as they maneuvered and plotted against their covenant King far too much in the days ahead. He would raise up judges, and eventually some good earthly kings, and divine prophets to call them back to the Word which He originally gave for their security and prosperity. Yet this negative prophesy was eventually fulfilled. After approximately 700 years the 10 tribes of the Northern Kingdom were thrust out of their land never to return by the Assyrians. Judah, of the Southern Kingdom in the divided land, lasted about 150 years more before they were exiled off of the land by the Babylonians. They returned under Gentile authority 70 years later according to prophesy, but they never regained their national sovereignty until 1948, again according to the prophetic Word of God. Much has happened since the days of Joshua, but his message is still resonates being so true. God needs to be Israel’s top priority for blessing. He needs to be our top personal priority too as believers in Christ Jesus. Though we never stop being His children with His eternal love towards us, His blessings are only upon the ones who faithfully walk with Him in sweet communion. Don’t live in the wilderness, stay in the Promised Land as God desires O Christian. Both His blessings and threats are genuine.
Verse to Memorize: Joshua 23:11