Joshua's Farewell Address (1)

Joshua reminds, exhorts, and admonishes Israel. Good leadership, that.

Joshua 23 (7)

Review Joshua 23.

1.  How would you assess Joshua’s leadership of the people of Israel? What has he done well? Where could he have done better?

2.  How would you describe Joshua’s legacy?

Think about it.
As the day of his death approaches, Joshua understands that it’s not enough that he has led the people of God in conquest of the land of promise, and ensured that each tribe and family has a home. His great desire for his people is that they remain faithful to God’s covenant and courageous in continuing the work of laying hold on God’s promises.

Joshua’s farewell address consists of two parts. Part 1 – chapter 23 – reviews the immediate goodness of God to Israel, and warns about failing to live in love for and trust in Him. Joshua reminds the people that God’s covenant consists of both promises and sanctions, the promises if they continue to obey, the sanctions if they depart from the Lord. Just as God has brought many good things to His people, He can bring harmful things to them if they turn away from Him to worship and serve other gods.

Joshua is not seeking anything for himself here, and we give him credit for that. He longs for the people to be loyal, not to him, but to God, and so reaches back to language from the beginning of the book to help in setting the stage for the ongoing conquest of the land after he has departed. Joshua exhibits many leadership skills which church leaders should emulate, and this determination to keep God’s people focused on Him, rather than on their leaders, is one of the most important for leaders to learn.

Meditate and discuss.
1.  Why is it important that leaders work hard to keep God’s people connected to Him?

2.  Joshua appeals to a variety of affections here to keep God people rightly focused. These include love, gratitude, fear, and hope. Where do you find each of these, and what role do such affections play in our calling to serve the Lord?

3.  Joshua’s “sermon” includes reminder, exhortation, and admonition. What can we learn from this about how to read the Word of God?

“…true faith, while it reclines upon God, keeps those who possess it in his fear. In short, those who would find God must seek him sincerely, and if we desire to be regarded by him, we must beware of turning our backs upon him.” John Calvin, Commentary on Joshua (1509-1564 AD)

Remind me, exhort me, and admonish me, Lord, so that I…

Pray Psalm 145.

How will the many good works of God lead you to praise Him today? Let this psalm guide you in worshiping the Lord, and in thinking ahead to all the reasons you will have to praise and obey Him.

Psalm 145 (Brother James’ Air: The Lord’s My Shepherd, I’ll Not Want)
I will extol You, God, my King, and ever praise Your Name!
I bless You, Lord, for everything each day, and e’er the same!
Great are You, Lord, my praise I bring; unsearchable Your fame!

To ev’ry generation we Your wondrous works shall tell.
The splendor of Your majesty we contemplate full well.
We speak of all Your mighty deeds and all Your greatness tell!

Then shall we all the glorious fame of Your great goodness sing – 
Your righteousness, Your gracious Name, Your mercy: praise we bring!
Your steadfast love remains the same, mercy our covering.

Your works shall thank You; all Your saints shall bless and praise You, Lord.
Your reign we bless without restraint; Your power fills our words.
Our children we shall educate in all Your splendor, Lord.

Your Kingdom evermore shall be; You reign forever, Lord!
Your works You do so faithfully, according to Your Word.
The falling You uphold and the oppressed You rescue, Lord!

The eyes of all look up to You to meet our needs each day.
Open Your hand, provide the food we need, O Lord, we pray!
Kindness and righteousness You do, O Lord, in every way!

Be near to all who call on You; all those who fear You, bless.
Preserve all those whose love is true; save us in our distress.
Our mouths will speak with praise of You; Your holy Name we’ll bless!

T. M. Moore

The seven lessons in this week’s study in the book of Joshua, and all previous weeks, are available as free downloads by clicking here.

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Where does the book of Joshua fit in the ongoing story of God’s covenant? Our workbook, God’s Covenant, can help you discover the place in God’s work of redemption not only of Joshua but of all the books of the Bible. God’s Covenant is a valuable resource to guide you in all your studies in God’s Word. To order your copy, click hereAnd when you order, we’ll send you a free copy of Bricks and Rungs: Poems on Calling.

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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).

T.M. Moore

T. M. Moore is principal of The Fellowship of Ailbe, a spiritual fellowship in the Celtic Christian tradition. He and his wife, Susie, make their home in Essex Junction, VT. 

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