1 Then Joshua called the Reubenites, the Gadites, and the half tribe of Manasseh, 2 And said to them, You have kept all that Moses the servant of the LORD commanded you, and have obeyed my voice in all that I commanded you: 3 You have not left your brothers all this time to this day, but have kept the charge of the commandment of the LORD your God. 4 And now the LORD your God has given rest to your brothers, as he promised them: now return, and go to your tents, to the land of your possession, which Moses the servant of the LORD gave you on the other side Jordan.
- Moses had demanded that they help their fellow Israelites conquer the Promised Land. God gave them rest after victory.
- Matthew 11:28 Come to me, all you that labor and are loaded down, and I will give you rest. 29 Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and you will find rest to your souls. 30 For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.
5 But watch strongly to do the commandment and the law, which Moses the servant of the LORD charged you, to love the LORD your God, and to walk in all his ways, and to keep his commandments, and to cling to him, and to serve him with all your heart and with all your soul.
- No goal in the universe is as worthy as this.
- To cure aids or cancer is nothing compared to giving someone eternal life.
- Loving God is the most delightful thing in the universe.
- There is no one more lovable than He.
- John 17:3 And this is life eternal, that they might know you the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom you have sent.
6 So Joshua blessed them and sent them away: and they went to their tents. 7 Now Moses had given to the half of the tribe of Manasseh possession in Bashan: but to the other half Joshua gave among their brothers on this side Jordan toward the west. And when Joshua sent them away to their tents also, he blessed them, 8 And he spoke to them saying, Return with much riches to your tents, and with very much livestock, with silver, with gold, with brass, with iron, and with very much clothing: divide the spoil of your enemies with your brothers.
- Proverbs 10:22 The blessing of the LORD, it makes rich, and he adds no sorrow with it.
9 And the children of Reuben, the children of Gad, and the half tribe of Manasseh turned, and left the children of Israel at Shiloh, in the land of Canaan, to go to the country of Gilead, to the land of their possession which they had possessed, according to the word of the LORD by the hand of Moses.
10 And when they came to the borders of Jordan, that are in the land of Canaan, the children of Reuben and the children of Gad and the half tribe of Manasseh built there an altar by Jordan, an altar great in appearance. 11 And the children of Israel heard it reported, Behold, the children of Reuben, the children of Gad, and the half tribe of Manasseh have built an altar opposite the land of Canaan, in the borders of Jordan, at the passage of the children of Israel. 12 And when the children of Israel heard of it, the whole congregation of the children of Israel gathered themselves together at Shiloh, to go to war against them.
- This was obedience to God’s instructions about how to handle idolatry in Deuteronomy 13 and 17.
- Idolatry leads to eternal death, not just physical death.
13 And the children of Israel sent to the children of Reuben, to the children of Gad, and to the half tribe of Manasseh, into the land of Gilead, Phinehas the son of Eleazar the priest, 14 And ten princes with him, a leader from each chief house throughout all the tribes of Israel; each one was a head of the house of their fathers among the thousands of Israel. 15 And they came to the children of Reuben, to the children of Gad, and to the half tribe of Manasseh, to the land of Gilead, and they spoke with them saying, 16 The whole congregation of the LORD says this, What trespass is this that you have committed against the God of Israel, to turn away today from following the LORD, by building an altar, to rebel today against the LORD? 17 Is the iniquity of Peor too little for us, from which we are not cleansed until today, although there was a plague in the congregation of the LORD, 18 Must you turn away today from following the LORD? Since you rebel today against the LORD, tomorrow he will burst with rage against the whole congregation of Israel.
- The iniquity of Peor is found in Numbers 25:1-9 tells of this plague where 24, 000 of Israel died in one day for fornicating with Moabite women and their god.
- He held the whole congregation responsible.
- Idolatry fills God with wrath. God is jealous because His love for us is great—infinite—deep—to the infinite depths of His heart.
- Idols lead to eternal death, not just the loss of the years of life in this earthly body.
- Exodus 34:14 You will worship no other god: for the LORD, whose name is Jealous, is a jealous God:
- Deuteronomy 4:24 For the LORD your God is a consuming fire, even a jealous God.
God dwells with us
19 Surely, if the land of your possession is unacceptable, then cross over to the land of the possession of the LORD, where the LORD’s tabernacle dwells, and take possession among us: but do not rebel against the LORD or rebel against us by building another altar beside the altar of the LORD our God. 20 Did not Achan the son of Zerah commit a trespass in the accursed thing, and wrath fell on all the congregation of Israel? That man did not perish alone in his iniquity.
- Thirty-six Israelite soldiers plus Achan’s whole family died in that incident (Joshua 7).
- Today God dwells in our hearts.
- Ephesians 3:17 That Christ may dwell in your hearts by faith; that you, being rooted and grounded in love, 18 May be able to comprehend with all saints what is the breadth, and length, and depth, and height; 19 And to know the love of Christ, which passes knowledge, that you might be filled with all the fullness of God.
The LORD is the God of gods who knows all things
21 Then the children of Reuben, the children of Gad, and the half tribe of Manasseh answered and said to the heads of the thousands of Israel, 22 The LORD God of gods, the LORD God of gods, he knows, and Israel he will know if it is in rebellion, if it is in transgression against the LORD, (do not save us this day,) 23 That we have built an altar to turn from following the LORD, if it is to offer burnt offerings, food offerings, and peace offerings on it, then let the LORD himself require it; 24 But if instead we have done it for fear of this thing saying, In the future your children might speak to our children saying, What do you have to do with the LORD God of Israel? 25 For the LORD has made Jordan a border between us and you, you children of Reuben, children of Gad; you have no part in the LORD: so your children will make our children stop fearing the LORD. 26 This is why we said, Let us now prepare to build us an altar, not for burnt offering or for sacrifice: 27 But that it may be a witness between us, and you, and our generations after us, that we might do the service of the LORD before him with our burnt offerings, with our sacrifices, and with our peace offerings; that your children may not say to our children in time to come, You have no part in the LORD.
- They didn’t trust their fellow Israelites not to try to exclude them from God’s inheritance in the future.
- 1John 3:20… God is greater than our heart, and knows all things.
28 Therefore we said, that it will be, when they say that to us or to our generations in time to come, that will say, See the pattern of the altar of the LORD, which our fathers made, not for burnt offerings or for sacrifices; but it is a witness between us and you. 29 God forbid that we should rebel against the LORD, and turn today from following the LORD, to build an altar for burnt offerings, for food offerings, or for sacrifices, beside the altar of the LORD our God that is before his tabernacle. 30 And when Phinehas the priest, the princes of the congregation, and heads of the thousands of Israel who were with him, heard the words that the children of Reuben, the children of Gad, and the children of Manasseh spoke, it was good in their sight.
The Lord is among us
31 And Phinehas the son of Eleazar the priest said to the children of Reuben, to the children of Gad, and to the children of Manasseh, Today we perceive that the LORD is among us, because you have not committed this trespass against the LORD: now you have delivered the children of Israel out of the hand of the LORD. 32 And Phinehas the son of Eleazar the priest, and the princes returned from the children of Reuben, and from the children of Gad, out of the land of Gilead, to the land of Canaan, to the children of Israel, and brought back word to them. 33 And it was good in the sight of the children of Israel; and the children of Israel blessed God, and did not intend to go up against them in battle, to destroy the land where the children of Reuben and Gad dwelt. 34 And the children of Reuben and the children of Gad called the altar Ed/witness: for it will be a witness between us that the LORD is God.
- Psalm 96:5 For all the gods of the nations are idols: but the LORD made the heavens.
- John 1:1 (Jesus) In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2 The same was in the beginning with God. 3 All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made.
- Revelation 1:8 I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the ending, says the Lord, which is, and which was, and which is to come, the Almighty.
God fights for us
1 And it happened, a long time after the LORD had given rest to Israel from all their enemies round about, that Joshua grew old and stricken in age. 2 And Joshua called for all Israel, for their elders, for their heads, for their judges, and for their officers, and said to them, I am old and stricken in age: 3 And you have seen all that the LORD your God has done to all these nations because of you; for the LORD your God is he that has fought for you.
- God gives rest from all our enemies.
- He fights our battles for us.
- ‘stricken with age’ is correctly from Hebrew ‘come unto days’ Joshua had come to the end of the days that God had allotted to him.
- 1Samuel 17:… the battle is the LORD’s…
4 Behold, I have divided to you by lot these nations that remain, to be an inheritance for your tribes, from Jordan, with all the nations that I have cut off, even to the great sea toward the sunset. 5 And the LORD your God, he will expel them from before you, and drive them from out of your sight; you will possess their land, as the LORD your God has promised you.
- He keeps His promises. God has given us 7,000 promises in scripture—all ours to claim.
- 2Peter 1:4 Whereby are given unto us exceeding great and precious promises:
- Psalm 37:4 Delight yourself in the LORD; and he will give you the desires of your heart.
God drives out mighty evils
6 So be very courageous to keep and to do all that is written in the book of the law of Moses, do not turn aside to the right hand or to the left; 7 To associate with these nations that remain among you; do not mention the name of their gods, or cause to swear by them, or serve them, or bow yourselves to them: 8 But cling to the LORD your God, as you have done to this day. 9 For the LORD has driven out from before you great, strong nations: no man has been able to stand before you to this day. 10 One man of you will chase a thousand: for the LORD your God, it is he that fights for you, as he has promised you.
- Do not merge with evil belief systems.
- Eternal life is at stake as well as a good, blessed life on this earth.
- God wants us to cling to Him only.
- This word 'cling' was first used in Genesis 2 where God told the man to cleave to the woman.
- This is an intimate relationship that God has brought us into with Himself.
- He makes invincible.
- Acts 11:23 Who, when he came, and had seen the grace of God, was glad, and exhorted them all, that with purpose of heart they would cling to the Lord.
11 Watch your souls, that you love the LORD your God. 12 If you in any way go back, and cling to the remnant of these nations that remain among you, and make marriages with them, and go in to them, and they to you: 13 Know certainly that the LORD your God will no longer drive out any of these nations from before you; but they will be snares and traps to you, scourges in your sides, and thorns in your eyes, until you perish from off this good land that the LORD your God has given you.
- God’s first command for us is to love Him.
- Notice that we are not to love ourselves or our neighbor’s with all our heart.
- That is reserved only for God.
- He will refuse to drive out the enemies if we compromise with evil.
- Matthew 22:37 Jesus said to him, You will love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind. 38 This is the first and great commandment. 39 And the second is like unto it, You will love your neighbor as yourself.
14 Behold, today I am going the way of all the earth: you know in all your hearts and in all your souls, that not one thing has failed of all the good things which the LORD your God spoke concerning you; all have come to pass for you; not one thing has failed. 15 Therefore it will happen, that as all good things have come upon you that the LORD your God promised you; so the LORD will bring on you all evil things, until he has destroyed you from off this good land that the LORD your God has given you. 16 When you have transgressed the covenant of the LORD your God that he commanded you, and have gone and served other gods, and bowed yourselves to them; then the anger of the LORD burn against you, and you will quickly perish from off the good land that he has given you.
- God fulfills His promises in every detail.
- He only destroys evil.
- If evil is what we choose, then we have chosen destruction.
- Salvation is free.
- Living in ‘the land’ God has for us requires faith in Him alone.
- This makes sense because He is the source of all blessing.
- We should cling to the source rather than the blessings.
- Romans 11:36 For of him, and through him, and to him, are all things: to whom be glory forever. Amen.
God requires an account of us
1 And Joshua gathered all the tribes of Israel to Shechem, and called for the elders of Israel, for their heads, for their judges, and for their officers; and they presented themselves before God. 2 And Joshua said to all the people, The LORD God of Israel says this, Your fathers dwelt on the other side of the flood in old time, Terah, the father of Abraham, the father of Nachor: and they served other gods.
- Joshua gathered all the tribes to Shechem and then brought the leaders to present themselves before the Almighty God, His fiery amber being, flashing forth rainbows inside the cloud that rested on the tabernacle.
- Job 1:6 angels present themselves before God. The flood is the Euphrates River.
- Exodus 23:17 Three times in the year all your males will appear before the Lord GOD.
- Romans 14:12 So then every one of us will give account of himself to God.
3 And I took your father Abraham from the other side of the flood, and led him through all the land of Canaan, multiplied his seed, and gave him Isaac. 4 And I gave to Isaac Jacob and Esau: and I gave to Esau mount Seir, to possess it; but Jacob and his children went down to Egypt. 5 I also sent Moses and Aaron, and I plagued Egypt, according to what I did among them: afterward I brought you out. 6 And I brought your fathers out of Egypt: and you came to the sea; and the Egyptians chased your fathers with chariots and horsemen into the Red sea. 7 And when they cried to the LORD, he put darkness between you and the Egyptians, and brought the sea upon them and covered them; your eyes have seen what I have done in Egypt: and you dwelt in the wilderness a long season. 8 And I brought you into the land of the Amorites, which dwelt on the other side Jordan; and they fought with you: and I gave them into your hand, that you might possess their land; and I destroyed them from before you.
- God wondrously led and cared for His people.
- He gave His people the best land on earth.
- Ezekiel 20:6 a land that I saw for them, flowing with milk and honey, which is the glory of all lands:
- Deuteronomy 8:7 the LORD your God brings you into a good land, a land of brooks of water, of fountains and depths that spring out of valleys and hills; 8 A land of wheat, and barley, and vines, and fig trees, and pomegranates; a land of oil olive, and honey;
- Psalm 103:2 Bless the LORD, O my soul, and do not forget all his benefits: 3 Who forgives all your iniquities; who heals all your diseases; 4 Who redeems your life from destruction; who crowns you with loving kindness and tender mercies; 5 Who satisfies your mouth with good things; so that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s.
9 Then Balak the son of Zippor, king of Moab, arose and warred against Israel, he sent and called Balaam the son of Beor to curse you: 10 But I would not listen to Balaam; therefore he blessed you still: so I delivered you out of his hand. 11 And you went over Jordan, and came to Jericho: and the men of Jericho fought against you, the Amorites, the Perizzites, the Canaanites, the Hittites, the Girgashites, the Hivites, and the Jebusites; and I delivered them into your hand. 12 And I sent the hornet before you, which drove them out from before you, the two kings of the Amorites; but not with your sword or with your bow. 13 And I have given you a land for which you did not labor, and cities which you did not build, and you dwell in them; you eat of vineyards and olive yards that you did not plant.
- He allowed no one to curse them.
- He gives us an inheritance we do not work for but we claim by faith (1John 5:4, Romans 10:17).
- Revelation 3:21 To him that overcomes I will grant to sit with me in my throne, even as I also overcame, and am set down with my Father in his throne.
- Revelation 21:7 He that overcomes will inherit all things; and I will be his God, and he will be my son.
14 Now therefore fear the LORD, and serve him in sincerity and in truth: and put away the gods that your fathers served on the other side of the flood, and in Egypt; and serve the LORD. 15 And if it seems evil to you to serve the LORD, then you choose this day whom you will serve; whether the gods which your fathers served that were on the other side of the flood, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land you dwell: but as for me and my house, we will serve the LORD. 16 And the people answered and said, God forbid that we should forsake the LORD, to serve other gods;
He delivers from bondage
17 For the LORD our God, he it is that brought us up and our fathers out of the land of Egypt, from the house of slavery, and did those great signs in our sight, and preserved us in all the way we went, and among all the people through whom we passed: 18 And the LORD drove out from before us all the people, the Amorites that dwelt in the land: therefore will we serve the LORD; for he is our God. 19 And Joshua said to the people, You cannot serve the LORD: for he is a holy God; he is a jealous God; he will not forgive your transgressions or your sins. 20 If you forsake the LORD, and serve strange gods, then he will turn and do you hurt, and consume you, after that he has done you good.
- He is a holy God.
- He is jealous.
- All other gods lead to eternal death.
- John 14:6 Jesus says to him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man comes to the Father, except by me.
- 1John 1:9 If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.
- Colossians 2:14 Blotting out the handwriting of ordinances that was against us, which was contrary to us, and took it out of the way, nailing it to his cross;
21 And the people said to Joshua, No; but we will serve the LORD. 22 And Joshua said to the people, You are witnesses against yourselves that you have chosen the LORD, to serve him. And they said, We are witnesses. 23 He said, Now put away the foreign gods that are among you, and stretch your heart to the LORD God of Israel. 24 And the people said to Joshua, We will serve the LORD our God, and we will obey his voice. 25 So Joshua made a covenant with the people that day, and set a statute and an ordinance for them in Shechem.
26 And Joshua wrote these words in the book of the law of God, and took a great stone, and set it up there under an oak that was by the sanctuary of the LORD. 27 And Joshua said to all the people, Behold, this stone will be a witness to us; it has heard all the words of the LORD that he spoke to us: it will be witness to you, so that you not deny your God. 28 So Joshua let the people depart, every man to his inheritance. 29 And after these things, Joshua the son of Nun, the servant of the LORD, died, being 110 years old. 30 And they buried him in the border of his inheritance in Timnath-serah, which is in mount Ephraim, on the north side of the hill of Gaash. 31 And Israel served the LORD all the days of Joshua, and all the days of the elders that outlived Joshua, and that had known all the works of the LORD that he had done for Israel. 32 And the bones of Joseph, which the children of Israel brought up out of Egypt, they buried in Shechem, in a parcel of ground which Jacob bought from the sons of Hamor, the father of Shechem, for a hundred pieces of silver: and it became the inheritance of the children of Joseph. 33 And Eleazar, the son of Aaron, died; and they buried him in a hill of Phinehas, his son, which was given him in mount Ephraim.
- This hill is 40 miles from the cave of Machpelah that Abraham purchased from the sons of Heth to bury Sarah.
- Abraham, Sarah, Isaac, Rebecca, Jacob, and Leah are buried there.
- God will raise the dead. _
- Isaiah 26:19 Your dead men will live; together with my dead body will they arise. Awake and sing, you that dwell in dust: for your dew is as the dew of herbs, and the earth will cast out the dead.
- John 11:25 Jesus said to her, I am the resurrection, and the life: he that believes in me, though he were dead, yet he will live:
SUMMARY: Joshua 22-24
- The LORD dwells with us
- He is the God of gods who knows all things
- He fights for us
- He drives out mighty evils
- Not one thing fails of all that He has promised
- He requires and account from us
- He delivers from bondage