In this Scripture reading, Joshua is about to die. And, he knows there are weak areas in the leadership who will follow his rule.
So, he warns against slipping into the temptation of sin – especially regarding the other nations (people) with whom Israel is still involved.
From Joshua 23 of the Old Testament, Joshua is now old, and this is the beginning of his farewell speech to the troops, so to speak.
Joshua knew that Israel’s leaders were still prone to temptation in certain areas; especially those regarding worshiping the gods of the nations and people around them.
So, he gave a guide to help them be stronger against these sins after he left them.
We as Christian believers face many of the same issues still.
This is a part of his speech ..
Joshua Advises the Leaders of Israel to “Cling to the Lord..”
“Be very firm, then, to keep and do all that is written in the book of the law of Moses, so that you may not turn aside from it to the right hand or to the left, so that you will not associate with these nations, these which remain among you, or mention the name of their gods, or make anyone swear by them, or serve them, or bow down to them.
But you are to cling to the Lord your God, as you have done to this day.” – Joshua 23:6-8 NASB
Joshua Gives 3 Commands to Israel
Joshua’s speech brought to mind a movie I saw long ago, based on a true story.
Now, I’m not sure if this was an actual quote from Mike Wallace (long time journalist from “60 Minutes”). But, it was used in this movie featuring him.
In the dialog, Mike said;
“When you are closer to the end of your life than the beginning, you see things from a different perspective.” (paraphrased)
Joshua found himself in that very situation. And, he wanted to make sure the leaders of Israel understood what God expected from them.
Here are 3 basics Joshua left the leadership ..
“.. As for me and my house, we will serve the LORD.”.
2. Stay apart from the nations who are pagan in belief. Keep from the temptation of worshiping the gods they bring.
3. Do not marry into the pagan people.
All these things were “in their faces“.
And, Joshua knew the temptation was strong. How many times did we see Israel give in during the Exodus?
They were weak in certain areas; especially the three listed above. So, Joshua was determined to help them realize how they could fall – and, how to cope.
Is Modern Day Any Different?
Today, we face many of the same temptations and weaknesses as Israel. We have trouble…
- obeying the Ten Commandments,
- worshiping other gods (i.e. money, power, self-indulgence, etc.),
- and marrying outside of our faith.
What Can We Do?
The author in the Life Application Study Bible says that we should prepare in advance by identifying our weak points, before they become a real problem.
Then, think of strategies to fight off temptation when it comes.
And remember, as soon as we start to do something for God, things will come along to try and keep us from accomplishing the task. This is Satan in his true form.
In Matthew 16, when Christ predicts His death, Peter rebuked Him saying; “God forbid it, Lord! This shall never happen to You.“
This is where Jesus makes His well-known statement:
“Get behind Me, Satan! You are a stumbling block to Me; for you are not setting your mind on God’s interests, but man’s.” – NASB
So, those stumbling blocks can come from anywhere – or anyone. Not even Christians always understand the will of God. So, pray, and “Cling to God” as Joshua advised Israel. You and I will be okay as long as we only listen to Him.
Love in Christ
If you would like to find out more about receiving the love and life-changing experience of Jesus Christ, please take a moment to read John 3:16 now.