Joshua 22 Ė 24

 

Tonight we will be finishing up the book of Joshua as we examine the last3 chapters of this interesting book. Lets begin in,

 

Joshua 22:1 Then Joshua called the Reubenites, the Gadites, and half the tribe of Manasseh,2 and said to them: "You have kept all that Moses the servant of the LORD commanded you, and have obeyed my voice in all that I commanded you.3 "You have not left your brethren these many days, up to this day, but have kept the charge of the commandment of the LORD your God.4 "And now the LORD your God has given rest to your brethren, as He promised them; now therefore, return and go to your tents and to the land of your possession, which Moses the servant of the LORD gave you on the other side of the Jordan.

 

Now in last part of chapter 21 the word of God has already made it clear that the land promise God made to Abraham has been fulfilled, however these verses add more proof because the only way that Moses would agree for these 2 and half tribes to live on the other side of Jordan was if their fighting men would stay with the children of Israel until the promise land was conquered. This is found in Numbers 32. We even find Joshua reminding these 2 Ĺ tribes about the their commitment they made to Moses in Joshua 1:13-15. Now notice in our current text that Joshua is telling them you have fulfilled your commitment and now you can go back home to your families. Again, this further proves that that the land promise had been fulfilled. But notice the warning that Joshua gives these tribes.

 

Joshua 22:5 "But take careful heed to do the commandment and the law which Moses the servant of the LORD commanded you, to love the LORD your God, to walk in all His ways, to keep His commandments, to hold fast to Him, and to serve Him with all your heart and with all your soul."

 

Here Joshua gives some great advice to these tribesand for the most part is great advice for the Christian as well.

1. They were to take CAREFUL HEED to do the commandments of the law. This would apply to us as well except of course we need to take careful heed to Christ law and not Moses law and we are to be doers of it.

 

James 1:22 But be doers of the word, and not hearers only.

 

2.Next we see they were to Love God. This should be easy for them and for us today considering that God has loved us first. For the children of Israel he showed his love by being with them and helping them defeat their enemies and now they would they would rest. To the Christian God showed his love by giving his only begotten son to die for us so that we could overcome the power of sin. Even Jesus tells us we must love God in,

 

Matthew 22:37 Jesus said to him, " 'You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.'38 "This is the first and great commandment.

 

3. They were to walk in all his ways, keep his commands and to hold fast to them. You might recall when God told Joshua not to turn from Gods word to the right or to the left. Well that is exactly what as Christians are to today. We need to do our best stand firm on Gods word.

 

4. Joshua tells them to serve God with their whole heart and their whole soul. This means that they were to commit themselves to God and put him first in their lives. The same thing is true for us today. Since God has done such a great thing for us the least we can do is to commit our lives to serving him and doing it with our whole heart and soul. We would all do good to take to take heed to these words.

 

Now Joshua did not send these men home empty handed.

 

Joshua 22:8 "Return with much riches to your tents, with very much livestock, with silver, with gold, with bronze, with iron, and with very much clothing. Divide the spoil of your enemies with your brethren."

 

Now what happens next shocks the children of Israel and we find that they act quickly.

 

Joshua 22:10 And when they came to the region of the Jordan which is in the land of Canaan, the children of Reuben, the children of Gad, and half the tribe of Manasseh built an altar there by the Jordan -- a great, impressive altar.11 Now the children of Israel heard someone say, "Behold, the children of Reuben, the children of Gad, and half the tribe of Manasseh have built an altar on the frontier of the land of Canaan, in the region of the Jordan -- on the children of Israel's side."12 And when the children of Israel heard of it, the whole congregation of the children of Israel gathered together at Shiloh to go to war against them.

 

These guys were probably thinking we should have never let these tribes separate themselves from them from us on the other side of the Jordan because now they are already rebelling against God. One thing I like about what they do here is they donít hesitate todeal with the problem. They prepared an army are we ready to use them if they had to. We can learn a great lesson from this today. When we hear of a problem with an individual or even a church we should be prepared to deal these problems early on and nip in the bud before they grow into an ugly monster. Notices how they handle the situation.

 

Joshua 22:13 Then the children of Israel sent Phinehas the son of Eleazar the priest to the children of Reuben, to the children of Gad, and to half the tribe of Manasseh, into the land of Gilead,14 and with him ten rulers, one ruler each from the chief house of every tribe of Israel; and each one was the head of the house of his father among the divisions of Israel.15 Then they came to the children of Reuben, to the children of Gad, and to half the tribe of Manasseh, to the land of Gilead, and they spoke with them, saying,16 "Thus says the whole congregation of the LORD: 'What treachery is this that you have committed against the God of Israel, to turn away this day from following the LORD, in that you have built for yourselves an altar, that you might rebel this day against the LORD?17 'Is the iniquity of Peor not enough for us, from which we are not cleansed until this day, although there was a plague in the congregation of the LORD,18 'but that you must turn away this day from following the LORD? And it shall be, if you rebel today against the LORD, that tomorrow He will be angry with the whole congregation of Israel.19 'Nevertheless, if the land of your possession is unclean, then cross over to the land of the possession of the LORD, where the LORD's tabernacle stands, and take possession among us; but do not rebel against the LORD, nor rebel against us, by building yourselves an altar besides the altar of the LORD our God.20 'Did not Achan the son of Zerah commit a trespass in the accursed thing, and wrath fell on all the congregation of Israel? And that man did not perish alone in his iniquity.' "

 

Notice the children of Israel didnít jump to conclusion and just go in there and wipe them out no the talked them and warned them about the past events of how others faced the wrath of God because of their disobedience. We need to be like this as well today. Yes, we need to be ready but we donít need to discipline someone or a church until we find out the facts because sometimes you can perceive something to be wrong when in fact it is not when you find out more about it and that exactly the case we see here with these 2 Ĺtribes.

 

Joshua 22: 21 Then the children of Reuben, the children of Gad, and half the tribe of Manasseh answered and said to the heads of the divisions of Israel:22 "The LORD God of gods, the LORD God of gods, He knows, and let Israel itself know -- if it is in rebellion, or if in treachery against the LORD, do not save us this day.23 "If we have built ourselves an altar to turn from following the LORD, or if to offer on it burnt offerings or grain offerings, or if to offer peace offerings on it, let the LORD Himself require an account.24 "But in fact we have done it for fear, for a reason, saying, 'In time to come your descendants may speak to our descendants, saying, "What have you to do with the LORD God of Israel?25 "For the LORD has made the Jordan a border between you and us, you children of Reuben and children of Gad. You have no part in the LORD." So your descendants would make our descendants cease fearing the LORD.'26 "Therefore we said, 'Let us now prepare to build ourselves an altar, not for burnt offering nor for sacrifice,27 'but that it may be a witness between you and us and our generations after us, that we may perform the service of the LORD before Him with our burnt offerings, with our sacrifices, and with our peace offerings; that your descendants may not say to our descendants in time to come, "You have no part in the LORD." '28 "Therefore we said that it will be, when they say this to us or to our generations in time to come, that we may say, 'Here is the replica of the altar of the LORD which our fathers made, though not for burnt offerings nor for sacrifices; but it is a witness between you and us.'29 "Far be it from us that we should rebel against the LORD, and turn from following the LORD this day, to build an altar for burnt offerings, for grain offerings, or for sacrifices, besides the altar of the LORD our God which is before His tabernacle."30 Now when Phinehas the priest and the rulers of the congregation, the heads of the divisions of Israel who were with him, heard the words that the children of Reuben, the children of Gad, and the children of Manasseh spoke, it pleased them.

 

Now that they understand what the whole purpose of the alter was and that they were not rebelling against God this made them happy and they went on their way. Now in chapter 23 we can read an awesome sermon given by Joshua. In fact I am going to add very few comments to these wonderful words.

 

Joshua 23:1 Now it came to pass, a long time after the LORD had given rest to Israel from all their enemies round about, that Joshua was old, advanced in age.2 And Joshua called for all Israel, for their elders, for their heads, for their judges, and for their officers, and said to them: "I am old, advanced in age.3 "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.5 "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.6 "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,7 "and lest you go among these nations, these who remain among you. You shall not make mention of the name of their gods, nor cause anyone to swear by them; you shall not serve them nor bow down to them,8 "but you shall hold fast to the LORD your God, as you have done to this day.9 "For the LORD has driven out from before you great and strong nations; but as for you, no one has been able to stand against you to this day.10 "One man of you shall chase a thousand, for the LORD your God is He who fights for you, as He promised you.11 "Therefore take careful heed to yourselves, that you love the LORD your God.

 

Joshua reminds them of what God has done and is doing how he keeps his promises to those who follow after him. He reminds them to follow Godís word carefully. I like how he gives the idea that 1 man can take down a 1000 with God on their side. Then he wants them to never to forget to love God.

 

Joshua 23: 12 "Or else, if indeed you do go back, and cling to the remnant of these nations -- these that remain among you -- and make marriages with them, and go in to them and they to you,13 "know for certain that the LORD your God will no longer drive out these nations from before you. But they shall be snares and traps to you, and scourges on your sides and thorns in your eyes, until you perish from this good land which the LORD your God has given you.14 " Behold, this day I am going the way of all the earth. And you know in all your hearts and in all your souls that not one thing has failed of all the good things which the LORD your God spoke concerning you. All have come to pass for you; not one word of them has failed.15 "Therefore it shall come to pass, that as all the good things have come upon you which the LORD your God promised you, so the LORD will bring upon you all harmful things, until He has destroyed you from this good land which the LORD your God has given you.16 "When you have transgressed the covenant of the LORD your God, which He commanded you, and have gone and served other gods, and bowed down to them, then the anger of the LORD will burn against you, and you shall perish quickly from the good land which He has given you."

 

You see there are always consequences to rebelling against God. As Job rightly said,

 

Job 1:21And he said: "Naked I came from my mother's womb, And naked shall I return there. The LORD gave, and the LORD has taken away; Blessed be the name of the LORD."

 

Just as God had blessed the children of Israel with the promise land he could just as easily take it way if they become disobedient. This concept it taught through out the Bible and teaches against the false concept once saved always saved. God has given his grace to those who humbly accept it through and obedient faith but if we choose to be disobedient then we choose through away Gods grace and he we will not allow us keep it if decide to rebel just like he would not let the children of Israel keep their land if they rebelled. Now in our last Chapter Joshua gives another good lesson and reminds the children of Israel to serve God and to serve him only.

 

Joshua 24:1 Then Joshua gathered all the tribes of Israel to Shechem and called for the elders of Israel, for their heads, for their judges, and for their officers; and they presented themselves before God.2 And Joshua said to all the people, "Thus says the LORD God of Israel: 'Your fathers, including Terah, the father of Abraham and the father of Nahor, dwelt on the other side of the River in old times; and they served other gods.3 'Then I took your father Abraham from the other side of the River, led him throughout all the land of Canaan, and multiplied his descendants and gave him Isaac.4 'To Isaac I gave Jacob and Esau. To Esau I gave the mountains of Seir to possess, but Jacob and his children went down to Egypt.5 'Also I sent Moses and Aaron, and I plagued Egypt, according to what I did among them. Afterward I brought you out.6 'Then I brought your fathers out of Egypt, and you came to the sea; and the Egyptians pursued your fathers with chariots and horsemen to the Red Sea.7 'So they cried out to the LORD; and He put darkness between you and the Egyptians, brought the sea upon them, and covered them. And your eyes saw what I did in Egypt. Then you dwelt in the wilderness a long time.8 'And I brought you into the land of the Amorites, who dwelt on the other side of the Jordan, and they fought with you. But I gave them into your hand, that you might possess their land, and I destroyed them from before you.9 'Then Balak the son of Zippor, king of Moab, arose to make war against Israel, and sent and called Balaam the son of Beor to curse you.10 'But I would not listen to Balaam; therefore he continued to bless you. So I delivered you out of his hand.11 'Then you went over the Jordan and came to Jericho. And the men of Jericho fought against you -- also the Amorites, the Perizzites, the Canaanites, the Hittites, the Girgashites, the Hivites, and the Jebusites. But I delivered them into your hand.12 '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.13 '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.'14 " 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!15 "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 whole message is summed up in this last verse and it applies to every single one of us today. We need to choose who will serve today. Are serving God or are we serving our self or the world? Where does you commitment lie? Are you putting God first in your life or is he second or third? I think we need ask ourselves these question from time to time to make sure we have our priorities straight. Well, lets look at the children of Israel response.

 

Joshua 24:16 So the people answered and said: "Far be it from us that we should forsake the LORD to serve other gods;17 "for the LORD our God is He who brought us and our fathers up out of the land of Egypt, from the house of bondage, who did those great signs in our sight, and preserved us in all the way that we went and among all the people through whom we passed.18 "And the LORD drove out from before us all the people, including the Amorites who dwelt in the land. We also will serve the LORD, for He is our God."19 But Joshua said to the people, "You cannot serve the LORD, for He is a holy God. He is a jealous God; He will not forgive your transgressions nor your sins.20 "If you forsake the LORD and serve foreign gods, then He will turn and do you harm and consume you, after He has done you good."21 And the people said to Joshua, "No, but we will serve the LORD!"22 So Joshua said to the people, "You are witnesses against yourselves that you have chosen the LORD for yourselves, to serve Him." And they said, "We are witnesses!"23 "Now therefore," he said, "put away the foreign gods which are among you, and incline your heart to the LORD God of Israel."24 And the people said to Joshua, "The LORD our God we will serve, and His voice we will obey!"25 So Joshua made a covenant with the people that day, and made for them a statute and an ordinance in Shechem.26 Then Joshua wrote these words in the Book of the Law of God. And he took a large stone, and set it up there under the oak that was by the sanctuary of the LORD.27 And Joshua said to all the people, "Behold, this stone shall be a witness to us, for it has heard all the words of the LORD which He spoke to us. It shall therefore be a witness to you, lest you deny your God."28 So Joshua let the people depart, each to his own inheritance.

 

The children of Israel make the right choice and decide to they will serve God as well and hope everyone ofhere has made that same decision to serve God and to serve him alone.

 

Joshua 24:29 Now it came to pass after these things that Joshua the son of Nun, the servant of the LORD, died, being one hundred and ten years old.30 And they buried him within the border of his inheritance at Timnath Serah, which is in the mountains of Ephraim, on the north side of Mount Gaash.31 Israel served the LORD all the days of Joshua, and all the days of the elders who outlived Joshua, who had known all the works of the LORD which He had done for Israel.32 The bones of Joseph, which the children of Israel had brought up out of Egypt, they buried at Shechem, in the plot of ground which Jacob had bought from the sons of Hamor the father of Shechem for one hundred pieces of silver, and which had become an inheritance of the children of Joseph.33 And Eleazar the son of Aaron died. They buried him in a hill belonging to Phinehas his son, which was given to him in the mountains of Ephraim.

 

This brings us to the end of the life of Joshua a man worth emulating as servant to God. I hope these lesson from Joshua has shown you the importance of putting you trust andfaith and God and has shown how important it to keep Godís commandments and not to veer of to the left or to the right. We have also learned that God keeps his promises and he will be there for us to help us fight against sin. So,I hope to lesson to heart.