Summary: Further conditions upon which God’s people may expect blessing (Part 2)
Studies in Joshua
Last Lord’s day evening we were looking at chapter 1 of the book of Joshua. This book which records for us how God’s people took possession of the land of Canaan, that glorious inheritance which God had promised to them, that blessing that he wanted them to enjoy. The blessing was there for them to lay hold of and enjoy but the blessing would only be theirs if certain conditions were fulfilled. And we considered two of those conditions last time – A Submissive Acceptance of the Providence of God – Moses was now dead and Joshua had been appointed their new leader; The people were not to dwell on the past, they were not to wallow in self-pity over the fact that they had suffered what in human terms was a terrible loss in the death of their great leader, they were to accept what had happened and go on from the new situation and new circumstances they now found themselves facing. There had to be a submissive acceptance of the providence of God. Then too there had to be A Clear Awareness of the Plan of God – they had to realise that God’s plan for them was that they would cross over the Jordan and take possession of the land that lay before them, the land he had given to them by promise and that he wanted them to actually experience and enjoy, and realising this they had to act upon it.
Now this evening I want us to pick up where we left off last week and look at a number of other conditions of blessing as we find them in this first chapter.
And the first one that I want to bring to your attention this evening is this – that in order for the Children of Israel to actually enjoy the Blessings which God set before them and held out to them there had to be
1) Diligent Obedience to The Word of God:
This comes out very clearly in verses 7 & 8. “be careful to obey all the Law my servant Moses gave you. Do not turn from it to the right or to the left, that you may be successful wherever you go. Do not let this book of the law depart from your mouth, meditate on it day and night so that you may be careful to do everything written in it. Then you will be prosperous and successful”
Joshua was the new leader of God’s people. He was the one who had the responsibility to lead the people forward into the blessings of Canaan that lay before them. And here before he undertakes that awesome task, here as he gets his commissioning orders from God, God makes it clear to him that the Law, that is Word of God was to be at the very heart of his own personal life as a leader and also at the very heart of the life of the people he was called to lead. This was to be the framework, the theological, moral and civil framework around which the life of the nation was to revolve. It was from God’s Word that He as the leader and they as a nation were to find direction and guidance and laws and moral standards and so on for their everyday life. This was God’s written and revealed will for them as a people. This was the instruction book for how God wanted them to live. And God makes it clear to Joshua that it would only be as He personally and they collectively obeyed God’s Word that blessing and prosperity would come to them. Look at these verses “be careful to obey all the law my servant Moses gave you. Do not turn from it to the right or to the left that you may be successful wherever you go” and again “…be careful to do everything written in it. THEN you will be prosperous and successful” There was an inseparable connection between obedience to the Word of God and blessing from the hand of God. And the connection between the two amounted to this, the latter ( i.e. the experience of God’s blessing) was conditional upon the former, (i.e. their obedience to God’s Word.). If he and they obeyed God’s Word they would know the blessing of God upon them. And you notice that the obedience God required was not partial, selective obedience to certain commands and laws that the people agreed with and were happy enough to submit to, but rather it was total comprehensive obedience to everything God had laid down for them in the Law. “be careful to obey all the law my servant Moses gave you…be careful to do everything written in it.” Neither Joshua in his role as leader nor the people could pick and choose what laws they wanted to obey and what laws they preferred to ignore. As the leader Joshua had a responsibility to apply the whole of the Law to his own life and to the life of the nation. He was not to cave in under pressure from any elements among the people who might try to get him to ignore or turn a blind eye to what God’s Law had to say in respect of any area of life. He had to be courageous and strong and turn to and follow God’s Word in every sphere of life and in every situation and circumstance that arose within the nation. And God emphasises the fact that such obedience, such an implementation of the Law would require courage. “be strong & very courageous (v7 & 9). It would require courage because there would be times when, like his predecessor Moses he would be put under pressure to capitulate to the wishes of the people rather than follow and apply the Law of God.