Summary: The younger generation with Joshua and Caleb made it to the land that was Promised and Joshua is about to die, and we will look at how this whole journey comes to an end in Joshua 24
As I looked at the last few chapters of Exodus, I didn’t think it would too profitable for us to look at the intricate details of how everything was made in the tabernacle. But I did want to finish our journey with the Israelites through the desert to the Promised Land, so we are going to beam forward to the book of Joshua. The younger generation with Joshua and Caleb made it to the land that was Promised and Joshua is about to die, and we will look at how this whole journey comes to an end in Joshua 24.
Joshua spends chapter 23 and half of chapter 24 summarizing all the wonderful and miraculous things God has done for them before he tells them to fear and obey the Lord. This is just like when Moses delivered the 10 commandments, he reminded them of the past and looked to the future promises God gave them. He is not just slamming down laws for them to follow because he is a dictator God.
All of God’s commands are if … then…. Or do this, don’t do this, so that you may…. Obey my commands that you may be my treasured possession and a kingdom of priests and a holy nation, and dwell in this Promised Land forever.
Don’t have other gods before me so that you may not be deceived into wasting your allegiance on something that isn’t real. Don’t work on the Sabbath so that you may rest and have fellowship with me. Don’t commit adultery so that you may have a happy and blessed marriage. All the commands are for our good.
God has never done anything that isn’t intended for the good of humanity. We may not always agree, we may not see the good in it from our perspective, but God is good, he is love, and can only do good things. It is because of our blindness, pride, stubbornness and lack of trust that he has had to take drastic measures at times.
Look at 2 Cor 1:19-20. “In Jesus Christ it is always yes. For all the promises of God find their yes in Him”. Therefore if we are in Him, if we serve Jesus, we claim all the promises of God. God wants to bless us, he wants to give us all he has promised us, he wants to say yes to us all the time. That is why we say yes or “Amen” to Him for his glory. Then he establishes us, anoints us, puts his seal on us, and gives the Spirit as a guarantee or down payment on future promises.
Notice the context of this in 2 Corinthians, is when Paul was going to come to them with some harsh words, and God redirected him to Macedonia. God redirected Paul to spare the Corinthians another rebuke and painful visit, and give them a chance to turn around before Paul got there. God doesn’t want to punish, he wants us to repent.
Back to Joshua 24 verse 14, “Now therefore, because of all he has done for us, serve Him with sincerity and in faithfulness, wholeheartedly. Put away forever the idols and gods that your ancestors served, and serve the Lord alone”. Now is this just because of what he has done? Do we now serve Jesus just because of what he has done in the past? That’s not a motivator that lasts very long.
People need something to strive for in the future as well. The past is our confirmation that he is trustworthy to serve, and that if we continue to serve him, he has even greater promises in store for us. That is the covenant that we are entered into with him, and remember a covenant has two sides. God is making a deal with us. Can you believe that? He doesn’t have to do that. He has all authority, he could make us do what he wants.
Joshua’s famous words in verse 15 basically say in my paraphrase, “you all go ahead and worship those other useless gods if you think they have or can do anything for you, but after all I’ve seen, me and my house are going to serve the Lord, how could you come to any other conclusion.”
God says we must completely remove idols and temptations to sin from our lives. Anything that we do not have power over that draws us away from God must be completely put away forever. This is why God said to completely annihilate all signs of foreign gods and people that worship them. He knows that if there is any temptation, we will not have the strength to overcome it. The result is our world today with more choices of idols than ever. That is why now we have the Spirit of God to give us the power. But don’t play with the power because most of us haven’t learned to be completely surrendered to the Spirit, so we are still very vulnerable to all the other choices.