Monday, October 15, 2012

LXXIII - Joshua 23=24 - Joshua's Farewell

Thanks for posting that map (LXXXI).  It makes it so much easier to have a visual.

This will be a short post.  I did not want to attach it onto the last post because of its important content, and the next post will begin our study of the Book of Judges.

Chapter 23  -  It has been many years now that Israel has possessed their land and has lived in peace.  Joshua's life was about to come to and end.  He had been a faithful servant and a mighty warrior, and God had blessed him with a long life, the latter years of which being peaceful.  Joshua summoned the leaders and all of Israel.  The purpose of this was for Joshua to remind Israel, as he knew Israel was inclined to have a short memory.  He reminded them of all God had done for them.  He reminded them of the promises God had made them.  He also reminds them that God's promises were covenants and Israel must do its part in order to enjoy the blessings God has in store for them.  In verse six he tells them to "be strong".  This exhortation is given then, as it is now, when it is understood that difficulties and obsticles will be encountered.  You don't exhort someone to be strong if the going is to be easy.  Again in this chapter Joshua gives stern warnings against worshipping other gods.  Also mentioned is the dangers of marrying outside Israel.  Joshua knows these are snares that lie before an often weak people.  He briefly mentions the blessings versus the curses God promises Israel concerning the obedience versus the disobedience to His commandments.

Chapter 24  -  In the first verse of this chapter, Joshua gathers all of the tribes of Israel to Shechem.  {This must have been quite a crowd and must have taken quite a while to arrange and execute.}  Shechem was an appropriate place to hold this meeting.  Shechem had a long and respectful History.  It was there between Mt. Ebal and Mt. Gerizim that Israel held its first great convocation on the entering of the Promised Land.  It was there that Jacob bought a piece of land and erected the altar, "El-Elohe-Israel" (Gen. 33:18-20).  It was at Shechem that Abraham recieved the first revelation that Canaan would be God's Promised Land to Israel.  The first verse also says "they presented themselves before God".  I'm sure Eleazar the High Priest was present to receive the people and offer an invocation-type of opening.  Whenever Eleazar was present, the people were worshipful and attentive.  Joshua's presence made it even more so.  This was to be a religeous gathering.  One to remember.  Joshua wanted his farewell to Israel to be Godly and memorable.

Verses 2-13 are a review of Israel's History and the great acts of God on Israel's behalf.  Joshua somewhat sketched out Israel's History, beginning with Abraham's father Terah.  He even mentioned that their ancestors prior to Abraham worshipped other gods.  {Terah is not considered the "Father of Israel".  His son Abraham is.}  In vss 3 and 4 he mentions Isaac, Esau, and Jacob.  In vss 5-7 he mentions Egypt and the great exodus, including the parting of the Red Sea.  Then in verse 8 he gets more recent and mentions their conquests.  Although this is relatively recent, these people Joshua is talking to did not experience most of this, but were knowledgable.  {Handing down information of events was very important to the Israelites and they were good at it.  Other civilizations (even the Egyptians) did not have records nearly as detailed as those that were kept by Israel.}

Verse 15  -  (KJV - Partial)  One of my favorites.  One of the most quoted and written Old Testiment verses:  "Choose you this day whom ye will serve;  as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord."  What a powerful admonishment.  To Joshua, getting these people to commit themselves to God could not happen too often.  It was important that this commitment was repeated time and time again.  The word "choose" is important because to worship other gods would require a "choice".  {Our choices define us.  Our choices expose and influence our character.  You and your children will make choices every day throughout your lives.  And some of those choices will be life-changing, either positive or negative.  There are some choices that can and should be made now.  There will come a day when you might want your child to make a choice.  Example:  Choose you this day how you will speak.  Will you speak in truth and honesty?  Or will you speak in deciept and dishonesty?  Those types of decisions can be made at certain ages forward.  Choose you this day how you will deal with the temptation of drug abuse.  How will you deal with it?  Decide now.  I as your parent can advise you.  This type of invoking decisions on young children and teenagers is not out of line for a conciencious parent.  Preparing your child how to respond when these situations arise will improve the odds for the right choice to be made.}  Joshua combines the admonishment with his personal testimony.  Always an effective method.

Vss 19-->  Joshua again reminds them against worshipping other gods.  {One must conclude that there was disobedience with this going on at this very time because in verse 23 he tells them to "throw away the foreign gods".  Also in this passage, he has them to say audibly that they will serve God.

Verses 29-33 - After Joshua had delivered this last sermon, he died at the age of a hundred and ten.  This final passage of the Book of Joshua mentions that they honored Joseph's request and buried his bones at Shechem in the land that Jacob purchased.  And also it says that Eleazar (Aaron's son) died and was buried at Gibeah in Ephraim.

Next post:  The Book of Judges

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