God’s benefits to their fathers. (Verse 1-14.)
Joshua renews the covenant between the people and God. (Verse 15-28.)
Joshua’s death, Joseph’s bones buried, The state of Israel. (Verse 29-33.)
We now come to the end of Joshua’s life and as scripture records that he being yet dead speaketh. Joshua uses his last moments on earth to help those he cares about.
How do you use your remaining days? Is it spent trying to make sure your life has all the comforts this world has to offer or is it spent trying to make the world a little better if only in your corner of it?
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.
2 And Joshua said unto all the people, Thus saith the Lord God of Israel, Your fathers dwelt on the other side of the flood in old time, even Terah, the father of Abraham, and the father of Nachor: and they served other gods.
[Gen 11:26, Gen 12:1, 1st Chron 1:27 , Gen 31:30, Judg 18:24, Ps 115:4, Isa 44:10, Acts 19:26]
3 And I took your father Abraham from the other side of the flood, and led him throughout all the land of Canaan, and multiplied his seed, and gave him Isaac.
4 And I gave unto Isaac Jacob and Esau: and I gave unto Esau mount Seir, to possess it; but Jacob and his children went down into Egypt.
[Gen 32:3, Gen 33:14, Deut 2:5]
5 I sent Moses also and Aaron, and I plagued Egypt, according to that which I did among them: and afterward I brought you out.
6 And I brought your fathers out of Egypt: and ye came unto the sea; and the Egyptians pursued after your fathers with chariots and horsemen unto the Red sea.
7 And when they cried unto the Lord, he put darkness between you and the Egyptians, and brought the sea upon them, and covered them; and your eyes have seen what I have done in Egypt: and ye dwelt in the wilderness a long season.
8 And I brought you into the land of the Amorites, which dwelt on the other side Jordan; and they fought with you: and I gave them into your hand, that ye might possess their land; and I destroyed them from before you.
9 Then Balak the son of Zippor, king of Moab, arose and warred against Israel, and sent and called Balaam the son of Beor to curse you:
10 But I would not hearken unto Balaam; therefore he blessed you still: so I delivered you out of his hand.
11 And you 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.
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.
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.
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.
Three enemies outside the land that were put down, Egypt first, Amalek second and then Balak, and after they cross the Jordan there are seven more waiting for them in the land.
Just like Israel will see when they face their last foe during the time known as the tribulation period (the time of Jacob’s trouble).
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.
God always calls us to a point of decision when it comes to our service and affection – to get in or to get out! God
does hates indecision and lukewarmness – compare with I Kings 18:21 and Revelation 3:15-16.
16 And the people answered and said, God forbid that we should forsake the Lord, to serve other gods;
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:
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.
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.
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.
no person is worthy or capable of serving God properly; it must be performed by God working through us.
21 And the people said unto Joshua, Nay; but we will serve the Lord.
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.
two witnesses to the people’s desire to serve God: themselves and the rock under the oak in Shechem (vs. 27)
23 Now therefore put away, said he, the strange gods which are among you, and incline your heart unto the Lord God of Israel.
24 And the people said unto Joshua, The Lord our God will we serve, and his voice will we obey.
Israel talked a good talk, but Joshua wanted to see some action to go along with their words, so he challenged them to get rid of all their idols (strange gods) on that day and they did.
25 So Joshua made a covenant with the people that day, and set them a statute and an ordinance in Shechem.
26 And Joshua wrote these words in the book of the law of God, and took a great stone, and set it up there under an oak, that was by the sanctuary of the Lord.
27 And Joshua said unto all the people, Behold, this stone shall be a witness unto us; for it hath heard all the words of the Lord which he spake unto us: it shall be therefore a witness unto you, lest ye deny your God.
Where is that stone today? It cannot be found because the people for centuries have not followed God and have lost a large part of their heritage.
The devil doesn’t want us to have a godly heritage and so he is patient waiting for just the right time to steal something you have spent your whole life building.
28 So Joshua let the people depart, every man unto his inheritance.
29 And it came to pass after these things, that Joshua the son of Nun, the servant of the Lord, died, being an hundred and ten years old.
30 And they buried him in the border of his inheritance in Timnathserah, which is in mount Ephraim, on the north side of the hill of Gaash.
31 And Israel served the Lord all the days of Joshua, and all the days of the elders that overlived Joshua, and which had known all the works of the Lord, that he had done for Israel.
What a great testimony, but we cannot live off the spirituality of others for very long. We must have the resolve to do what God wants us to do even though all of our friends are still on the other side of the Jordan (worldly) spiritually speaking, or maybe they are still back in Egypt slaves to their sin (lost).
Remember there are those that are looking up to you as the only Joshua they have in their life or if they are not, they should be.
Is it because you have not been the person God intended for you to be in their life? If so, there is still time. Choose you this day whom you will serve. If you choose God’s ways others will follow you.
this verse is in great contrast to the next generation that arose who were not acquainted first hand with the great
works of God and who miserably failed God as recorded in the book of Judges
32 And the bones of Joseph, which the children of Israel brought up out of Egypt, buried they in Shechem, in a parcel of ground which Jacob bought of the sons of Hamor the father of Shechem for an hundred pieces of silver: and it became the inheritance of the children of Joseph.
33 And Eleazar the son of Aaron died; and they buried him in a hill that pertained to Phinehas his son, which was given him in mount Ephraim.
Joshua is dead, and Israel still follows the LORD for a while until all those that were elders died off. The same is true in many churches when their leaders die, many people quit serving God with all their heart and begin to compromise in many areas.
The children of Israel did not listen very long to the words of Joshua or they would have never faced the troubles they faced.
We can say the same thing about listening to the word of God in our own lives. Oh, what needless pain we bare all because we do not carry everything to God in prayer.
If you have been saved you have had the blood of the real passover lamb applied to your life, so don’t spend the next forty years wandering around in the wilderness that the flesh has to offer, instead by faith cross over to the other side of the Jordan and possess the promises that God’s word has to offer members of the body of Christ today and not seek Israel’s earthly possessions.
If we will but fight the enemy with spiritual warfare, there is no end of the blessings that God wants to give to those that love him. If you are not saved won’t you place your faith solely in the Messiah today for your salvation? He will bring you into his promises.
Commentary by Matthew Henry, 1710:
Verse 1-14 – We must never think our work for God done, till our life is done. If he lengthen out our days beyond what we expected, like those of Joshua, it is because he has some further service for us to do. He who aims at the same mind which was in Christ Jesus, will glory in bearing the last testimony to his Saviour’s goodness, and in telling to all around, the obligations with which the unmerited goodness of God has bound him. The assembly came together in a solemn religious manner. Joshua spake to them in God’s name, and as from him. His sermon consists of doctrine and application. The doctrinal part is a history of the great things God had done for his people, and for their fathers before them. The application of this history of God’s mercies to them, is an exhortation to fear and serve God, in gratitude for his favour, and that it might be continued.
Verse 15-28 – It is essential that the service of God’s people be performed with a willing mind. For LOVE is the only genuine principle whence all acceptable service of God can spring. The Father seeks only such to worship him, as worship him in spirit and in truth. The carnal mind of man is enmity against God, therefore, is not capable of such spiritual worship. Hence the necessity of being born again. But numbers rest in mere forms, as tasks imposed upon them. Joshua puts them to their choice; but not as if it were indifferent whether they served God or not. Choose you whom ye will serve, now the matter is laid plainly before you. He resolves to do this, whatever others did. Those that are bound for heaven, must be willing to swim against the stream. They must not do as the most do, but as the best do. And no one can behave himself as he ought in any station, who does not deeply consider his religious duties in family relations. The Israelites agree with Joshua, being influenced by the example of a man who had been so great a blessing to them; We also will serve the Lord. See how much good great men do, by their influence, if zealous in religion. Joshua brings them to express full purpose of heart to cleave to the Lord. They must come off from all confidence in their own sufficiency, else their purposes would be in vain. The service of God being made their deliberate choice, Joshua binds them to it by a solemn covenant. He set up a monument of it. In this affecting manner Joshua took his last leave of them; if they perished, their blood would be upon their own heads. Though the house of God, the Lord’s table, and even the walls and trees before which we have uttered our solemn purposes of serving him, would bear witness against us if we deny him, yet we may trust in him, that he will put his fear into our hearts, that we shall not depart from him. God alone can give grace, yet he blesses our endeavours to engage men to his service.
Verse 29-33 – Joseph died in Egypt, but gave commandment concerning his bones, that they should not rest in their grave till Israel had rest in the land of promise. Notice also the death and burial of Joshua, and of Eleazar the chief priest. The most useful men, having served their generation, according to the will of God, one after another, fall asleep and see corruption. But Jesus, having spent and ended his life on earth more effectually than either Joshua or Joseph, rose from the dead, and saw no corruption. And the redeemed of the Lord shall inherit the kingdom he prepared for them from the foundation of the world. They will say in admiration of the grace of Jesus, Unto him that loved us, and washed us from our sins in his own blood, and hath made us kings and priests unto God and his Father, to him be glory and dominion for ever and ever. Amen.