Realizing the presence, promise, and power of the Kingdom of God.
The DEEP

Happiness Lost

without even knowing it.

Joshua 23:14–16 (ESV)

“And now I am about to go the way of all the earth, and you know in your hearts and souls, all of you, that not one word has failed of all the good things that the LORD your God promised concerning you. All have come to pass for you; not one of them has failed. But just as all the good things that the LORD your God promised concerning you have been fulfilled for you, so the LORD will bring upon you all the evil things, until he has destroyed you from off this good land that the LORD your God has given you, if you transgress the covenant of the LORD your God, which he commanded you, and go and serve other gods and bow down to them. Then the anger of the LORD will be kindled against you, and you shall perish quickly from off the good land that he has given to you.”

This isn’t about you, Israel; it’s about God. He has delivered, and you know in your hearts and souls, all of you, that not one word has failed of all the good things that the LORD your God promised concerning you.

But that’s not the point here; Joshua wants them to think about how bad things can get. This passage is about the curse that awaits if you transgress the covenant. Joshua sees this coming, so he wants to scare everyone as much as he can, and the picture he paints here is as stark as it gets.

Just as all the good things that the LORD your God promised concerning you have been fulfilled for you, so the LORD will bring upon you all the evil things, until he has destroyed you from off this good land that the LORD your God has given you.

But this doesn’t have to happen. It’ll only come to pass if you transgress the covenant of the LORD your God, which he commanded you, and go and serve other gods and bow down to them.

But, most importantly, it’ll be personal. God will take offense at your lack of appreciation and act accordingly.

Then the anger of the LORD will be kindled against you, and you shall perish quickly from off the good land that he has given to you.

He won’t be slow about it either.


This is where Christian messaging often misses the point. We speak of how good some things are, but the stronger case is to note how bad things can get.

The evidence is all around us. The lives of unbelievers, even supposedly “successful” ones, are a mess. They are obviously miserable, regardless of who wins the court case. (I’m talking to you, Johnny Depp.)

What was it exactly that they were trying to accomplish in the first place with all this nonsense? Secularism chases after happiness without ever thinking about what it means to be happy.

But we know.


These Monday—Friday DEEPs are written by Mike Slay. The Weekend DEEPs are written by Matt Richardson. To subscribe to all the DEEPs click here:

https://www.ailbe.org/resources/community

The weekly study guides, which include the Monday–Friday devotionals plus related questions for discussion or meditation, are available for download here:

https://www.ailbe.org/resources/itemlist/category/91-deep-studies

Except as indicated, Scripture taken from the New King James Version. © Copyright 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved. ESV stands for the English Standard Version. © Copyright 2001 by Crossway. Used by permission. All rights reserved. NIV stands for The Holy Bible, New International Version®. © Copyright 1973 by International Bible Society. Used by permission. All rights reserved. KJV stands for the King James Version.

Mike Slay

As a mathematician, inventor, and ruling elder in the Presbyterian Church in America, Mike Slay brings an analytical, conversational, and even whimsical approach to the daily study of God's Word.

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