Summary: We Christians in America are to follow the godly examples of the Pilgrims and Israel in Joshua 22!
Before reading Joshua chapter 22 this morning, take a quick look back with me to Joshua 4:12-13……
God called an army, 40000 strong, from the Tribes of Reuben, Gad and Manasseh to fight the Battles in Canaan. Now that the Promised Land was claimed, it was a time of rest and living for the Lord.
Let us now read Joshua 22 and learn how we are to live for God and for each other….
Let us summarize the story:
v1-4: The war was over and it was time for the 40000 soldiers to go home and rest!
These soldiers were heroes weren’t they? These soldiers completely obeyed Moses and Joshua; and since Moses and Joshua were God’s representatives, those soldiers obeyed God completely. V3 tells us that for a long time those soldiers never neglected to serve their fellow Israelites. Those soldiers were godly heroes; but what do we note in v5-6?
v5a: The godly heroes (over 40000) had to be reminded to keep God’s commandments!
They were proven godly soldiers, why did they have to be reminded to obey God??
Those godly soldiers and their families had a fresh start in life to live freely in a land rich with resources but because they were human beings all born with a bent to sin, they were warned not to disobey God !!
And what were they reminded to do in their new “free” life with much resources?
v5b…… to love the LORD your God, to walk in obedience to him, to keep his commands, to hold fast to him and to serve him with all your heart and with all your soul
We’ll come back to this as we apply it to our lives today. But let us note a couple of things from v7-9.
v7-9: The Tribes of Reuben, Gad, and Half of Manasseh went to live in the homelands God provided!
As noted earlier, Joshua blessed the people as they went home. We also note in v8, all resources were to be shared with all Israelites. And do you remember what God did in the first part of Joshua 21??
God provided priests in all communities of Israel! God provided land and resources for life. God preserved His written instructions! God had leaders. God provided priests for spiritual service. God established societies in which resources were to be shared!
Joshua 21-22: God established church and community!
How can we apply these biblical principles to our lives today here in America? Let us start with this: Why did the Pilgrims leave England to find a new place to live??
What did the Pilgrims find in the new land which caused them to celebrate the first Thanksgiving??
The Pilgrims found their new world rich in resources!
And so, in a way, the Pilgrims who started the land we live in were like the Israelites of old called by God.
My research found that the Pilgrims hardly wrote down their prayers. What do you think the Pilgrims prayed about as they left England for a new land??
The Pilgrims may not have written their prayers, but we have the Mayflower Compact since they wanted to be a testimony for God, each other, and to future communities. Here’s what the Pilgrim placed in writing as they decided to live in this new land we now call America. In the name of God, Amen. We whose names are underwritten, the loyal subjects of our dread Sovereign Lord King James, by the Grace of God of Great Britain, France, and Ireland King, Defender of the Faith, etc. Having undertaken for the Glory of God and advancement of the Christian Faith and Honour of our King and Country, a Voyage to plant the First Colony in the Northern Parts of Virginia, do by these presents solemnly and mutually in the presence of God and one of another, Covenant and Combine ourselves together in a Civil Body Politic, for our better ordering and preservation and furtherance of the ends aforesaid; and by virtue hereof to enact, constitute and frame such just and equal Laws, Ordinances, Acts, Constitutions and Offices from time to time, as shall be thought most meet and convenient for the general good of the Colony, unto which we promise all due submission and obedience. In witness whereof we have hereunder subscribed our names at Cape Cod, the 11th of November, in the year of the reign of our Sovereign Lord King James, of England, France and Ireland the eighteenth, and of Scotland the fifty-fourth. Anno Domini 1620.
As the Pilgrims faced a new life in the Free World, what can we note??
1. The Pilgrims, Pioneers of America, first of all acknowledged God!
2. The Pilgrims personally made a commitment and did not neglect their responsibility to the authorities.
3. The Pilgrims main focus was to glorify God and advance the Christian faith!