Joshua 23 (1)
Read Joshua 23.1-5.
1. Joshua reviews the work of the Lord for His people. Why is it a good idea to do this from time to time?
2. What seems to be the situation in Israel as far as the Canaanites are concerned? Is that “good enough” for Joshua?
Think about it.
Joshua feels a sense of responsibility to keep the people focused on their calling. They have not yet completed driving out all the Canaanites, and it seems increasingly unlikely that they will do so. But Joshua feels like he needs to urge them on in this work, anyway.
In his farewell address, Joshua does not tout his own achievements. He mentions his role in cutting off the nations and dividing the land (v. 4), but he focuses on the Lord and recalls the Lord’s faithfulness for all that has been accomplished thus far. In Joshua’s mind, the conquest of Canaan has been all about the Lord. He works through leaders and people alike, but His is the power to accomplish His will and fulfill His promises.
Joshua does not want the people to become complacent, so, in verse 5, he reminds them that much remains to be done. Gaining the promises of God is ongoing, generation-spanning work. But Joshua also reminds them that God, Who has been faithful thus far, will be faithful in all that He has promised, and all the land of promise will ultimately be theirs.
If, that is, they take Joshua’s exhortation to heart and keep focused on God and His Word.
Meditate and discuss.
1. Sometimes, as Christians, our attitude toward the Lord can be “What have You done for me lately?” or “What can You do for me next?” Is this the right way to think about the promises of God?
2. Why will we never be finished in our work of laying hold on the promises of God? For Israel, it was a constant war against pagan peoples and pagan ways. What is it for us?
3. Why is it a good idea to review and rehearse God’s faithfulness to His people in previous generations?
“The pious solicitude of Joshua is here also set forth, for the imitation of all who are in authority. For as the father of a family will not be considered sufficiently provident if he thinks of his children only till the end of his own life, and does not extend his care farther, studying as much as in him lies to do them good even when he is dead; so good magistrates and rulers ought carefully to provide that the well arranged condition of affairs as they leave them, be confirmed and prolonged to a distant period.” John Calvin, Commentary on Joshua (1509-1564 AD)
Today, Lord, Your precious and very great promises await. In particular, today I am praying and planning to…
Pray Psalm 44.1-8.
Meditate as you pray on all the ways God has been faithful to you in the past. Thank Him for His faithfulness to our ancient forebears, and call on Him to help you be faithful in serving Him in the day ahead.
Psalm 44.1-8, 23-26 (Faithfulness: Great is Thy Faithfulness)
O God our ears have heard, ancients have taught us,
All that You did for them long years ago,
How by Your hand You defeated the nations,
And to the promised land let Israel go.
Refrain vv. 23-26
Rise up, awake, O Lord! Hide not Your face from us,
See our affliction, our suffering and pain!
See how our soul is sunk down with oppression;
Rise up and help and redeem us we pray!
Not by their sword did they drive out the nations;
Not by their arm did they settle the land.
Your saving mercy and light triumphed for them:
Victories for us, our King, please now command.
Through You shall we all our enemies vanquish;
Them will we trample in Your mighty Name.
We will not trust in our strength or our wisdom;
Jesus will save us; we’ll boast of His fame!
T. M. Moore
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Except as indicated, Scripture taken from the New King James Version. © Copyright 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved. All psalms for singing adapted from The Ailbe Psalter. All quotations from Church Fathers from Ancient Christian Commentary Series, General Editor Thomas C. Oden (Downers Grove: InterVarsity Press, 2006).