Summary: The Way of All the Earth (PowerPoint slides to accompany this talk are available on request - email: firstname.lastname@example.org)
Reading: Chapters 23 & 24.
You know that you are getting old when:
• When everything that works hurts, and what doesn’t hurt doesn’t work.
• Your try to straighten out the wrinkles in your socks and discover you aren't wearing any.
• You look forward to a dull evening.
• Your knees buckle and your belt won’t.
• When your idea of a night out is sitting on the patio.
• You sit in a rocking chair and can't get it going.
• You sink your teeth into a good steak and they stay there.
• You finally get your head together and your body starts falling apart.
In our Bible passage this evening:
• Joshua is getting old, he knew it, everyday he felt it, in every bone of his body:
• He is fast approaching 110 years of age,
• But I want you to notice;
• That he is not senile and past it! In fact the very opposite he is very sharp, & wise!
• Yet Joshua realises that he is ready to die:
• Verse 14: “Now I am about to go the way of all the earth”.
• So being a good and wise leader; he calls two meetings.
• The first meeting, in chapter 23, is held with the elders and leaders of the people.
• The second meeting is recorded in chapter 24, and involves all the people of Israel.
• Before he goes, Joshua has something important to tell them about serving the Lord.
Knowing that he is soon going to die, Joshua wants to encourage Israel to stay true to God.
• He knows that the old guard,
• That is, those Israelites who knew Moses and Joshua are swiftly dying off.
• He knows also that a new generation is coming along that has only heard about the past;
• They did not see all the miracles and all the wonders that the Lord did for them.
• So before he dies,
• He wants to remind them of the God they serve.
Notice: The place Joshua chooses for this meeting:
• Chapter 24 verse 1 tells us Joshua’s takes the people of Israel to Shechem:
• Shecham was a city right in-between two Mountains; Mount Gerizim and Mount Ebal:
• Mount Gerizim was designated by God as the mountain of blessing;
• (Deuteronomy chapter 11 verses 29 & 27 verses 11-12).
• And Mount Ebal was designated as the mountain of cursing.
• Deuteronomy chapter 11 verses 29 & 27 verses 13-26.)
This was a visual reminder to the people that they would have to make a choice!
• They could choose to serve God;
• The outcome of that would be blessing.
• But to reject God;
• Would mean that they would only experience cursings!
“He who chooses the beginning of a road chooses the place it leads to.
It is the means that determine the end.”
• Pavarotti relates how Arrigo Pola, a professional tenor in his hometown of Modena, Italy,
• Took him as a pupil.
• Pavarotti also enrolled in a teachers college.
• On graduating from college he had to make a choice.
• He asked his father this question, 'Shall I be a teacher or a singer?’
• "'Luciano,' his father replied,
'if you try to sit on two chairs, you will fall between them. For life, you must choose one chair.'
"I chose one. It took seven years of study and frustration before I made my first professional appearance. It took another seven to reach the Metropolitan Opera. And now I think whether it's laying bricks, writing a book--whatever we choose--we should give ourselves to it. Commitment, that's the key. Choose one chair."
Likewise Joshua is making the people choose:
• He does that symbolically by taking them between these two mountains,
• And he would do that verbally in chapter 24 verse 15:
“Choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve, whether the gods your forefathers served beyond the River, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land you are living. But as for me and my household, we will serve the LORD.”
(1). JOSHUA'S CONCERN (Joshua 23 verses 1-8):
• There are three things that Joshua was concerned about;
• Three fears regarding how the people will act once he has gone:
(a). He Fears Complacency (verse 6).
“Be very strong; be careful to obey all that is written in the Book of the Law of Moses, without turning aside to the right or to the left
Joshua is afraid that the people of Israel might begin to take the Law of God for granted.
• He fears that they might become complacent in their walk with the Lord;
• And begin to let things slide in their lives.