Today we will end our reading in Joshua. I must admit this was a special reading for me.
Chapter 22 – The Reubenites, the Gadites, and the half-tribe of Manasseh … we have also referred to them as the Transjordan tribes. Back in Numbers 32, these 3 tribes asked Moses if they could have the land they were in (East of the Jordan). Moses became angry because he was afraid these tribes were trying to find a reason not to CONQUER the Promised Land and was also afraid they were about to begin another wilderness journey for all the Israelites. However, Moses had assumed incorrectly. These tribes really wanted this stretch of land because they felt it would be best for their animals. Moses told them they could have the land BUT they still had to go with all the Israelites and TAKE the PROMISED LAND. Once the land was conquered then they could return to “their land.” These tribes did fight with their “brothers” and helped conquer the Promised Land. NOW… Joshua was commending them for their diligence in performing their duties and at last… they were permitted to return to their families and build their cities. Verse 5 – Joshua reminds them to BE VERY CAREFUL to keep the commandment and law that Moses gave them… to love the LORD their God, walk in HIS ways, and obey Him.
Verse 10 —- RUT ROW!!! Did these people have gas in their brains?? WHAT WERE THEY THINKING??? Had the Canaanites that were allowed to live (in direct opposition to God’s commands) influenced their actions? THEY BUILD AN ALTAR BY THE JORDAN ON THE BORDER OF CANAAN!! >>>>>>>WHY DID THIS APPEAR TO BE WRONG??? One of the WORST things an Israelite could do was to make an altar to make a sacrifice outside of the Tabernacle. It was called a “High Place.” This was the SAME way the pagan nations worshiped their false gods!!!
In verse 13 – the remaining Israelites heard about what the Transjordan tribes were doing. (HOW did the news travel soooo fast back in that day.. I mean.. no cell phones…..no computers..no texting… and yet news traveled incredibly fast?) Phinehas led a delegation to learn the truth as to why the alter was built. (Remember Phinehas… he stabbed the Israelite man and the Midianite woman for having the horizontal mambo when they came in the Israelite camp to do this as a way of worshiping her gods?) Based on Deuteronomy 13:12-19, he was prepared to negotiate rather than fight if a battle was not necessary. Phinehas discovered that the altar the Transjordan tribes had built was as a memorial rather than for pagan sacrifice. WHEW!!!! Phinehas son of Eleaszr told the Transjordan Tribes: “Today we know that the Lord is with us, because you have not acted unfaithfully toward the Lord in this matter.”
Chapter 23 –Joshua gave his farewell address to the leaders. He knows the weaknesses and the strengths of the Israelites. He reminded them in verse 6 “to be very strong and courageous.” He reminded them of all the things the LORD has done for them .. stopping the Jordan from flowing at peak season, fighting the battles for them, causing the walls of Jericho to fall before them, ALL so they could take the Promised Land God had PROMISED them. He reminded them to be very careful to love the Lord their God.
Verse 8 – Joshua knows he is about to die. He reminds them to “HOLD FAST TO THE LORD YOUR GOD.” Hold Fast– to cling to, hold on to , glue yourself to, cleave.
Joshua reminded them what would happen if they turned away from their God. If they did not follow the LAW written by Moses; if they married people from pagan nations; and if they associated with the pagan nations or worshiped their gods…then it would not go well for them.
Verse 14 –He reminded them again that God had fulfilled EVERY one of HIS promises to them.
Chapter 24 – Joshua reminded the Israelites of all the LORD has done and their propensity to be a rebellious and stiff-necked people. Joshua is a book about CHOICES. The Bible is really a book about CHOICES. In Deuteronomy we saw it was presenting the CHOICES. EVEN with Jesus Christ… we have a CHOICE to follow HIM or not. God is such a gentleman … that HE pushes NOTHING ON US. We have FREE WILL.
This week a very special member of my family passed (which has resulted in my delay in getting my posts completed). I KNOW who she CHOSE. This makes this chapter of Joshua even more special to me as we witness the death of another faithful leader in our Bible journey. I LOVE what he says in verse 15:
But if serving the Lord seems undesirable to you, then choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve, whether the gods your ancestors served beyond the Euphrates, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land you are living. But as for me and my household, we will serve theLord.”
Who have you or will you choose? We must chose daily to have faith, to obey, to follow, to love, to share our stories so HIS TRUTHS are passed on from generation to generation. Our Joshua is Jesus Christ. The ONLY way to our Promised Land is to choose Jesus …. Through FAITH. And one of our many blessings is that we have this wonderful book of the bible to read, to follow, to guide us …. And the Israelites did not have Jesus Christ, the Holy Spirit, or the Living Word.
“All good gifts” from Godspell (This is an old old song…. But still has great meaning)… All good gifts around us are sent from heaven above…. so thank the Lord… thank the Lord for all His love.
Sharing HIS love,