Bro. Caleb Taft
June 22 | Waking with The Word | Joshua 23
Joshua 23:1 And it came to pass a long time after that the LORD had given rest unto Israel from all their enemies round about, that Joshua waxed old and stricken in age.
Joshua 23:3 And ye have seen all that the LORD your God hath done unto all these nations because of you; for the LORD your God is he that hath fought for you. :4 Behold, I have divided unto 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 unto the great sea westward.
:5 And the LORD your God, he shall expel them from before you, and drive them from out of your sight; and ye shall possess their land, as the LORD your God hath promised unto you.
:6 Be ye therefore very courageous to keep and to do all that is written in the book of the law of Moses, that ye turn not aside therefrom to the right hand or to the left; :7 That ye come not among these nations, these that remain among you; neither make mention of the name of their gods, nor cause to swear by them, neither serve them, nor bow yourselves unto them: :8 But cleave unto the LORD your God, as ye have done unto this day.
Chapter 23 is the first time in the book of Joshua that we see them have any rest and peace for any amount of time. The book has been all about their fight for the Land God promised them. The first 5 Chapters were preparations, six through twelve were the battles they fought with the enemy, twelve through 21 deal with the inheritances they were to inhabit. Twenty two deals with the resolved conflict between the Jordan side tribes and the wilderness side tribes. As the book is closing we come to this chapter and the next which are the final words of Joshua, their captain. The war is over, the people are settling into their inherited lands and there is a relative peace throughout the land. This is when Joshua steps forth with some reminders. Reminding them of the blessings they have and also reminding them to stay with God, Joshua uses the word cleave. I encourage you to read the whole chapter, he tells them to cleave to God and not to cleave to to inhabitants of the land(in marriage) that were not driven out.
As the book of Joshua is closing we should take the words of Joshua to heart and apply them to the conquering of our Canaan. In our conquest of Canaan, in this Christian life, we may all be at different places. Some may be at the preparation chapters, preparing to cross Jordan, preparing to sanctify yourself through the cutting away of the flesh and changing your spiritual diet to one fit for war. You may be in the chapters of battle, where there is not often time for rest and there is so much ground to cover and so many enemies to drive out that the thought of rest seems so far away that is beyond thought. Maybe you are in the inheriting chapters and you are trying to figure out what is the depth and height and width of this vast inheritance that your heavenly captain has given to you. For some though you may be in a resting chapter, like this one. It is in these chapters of our life that we need reminding, we need our heavenly Joshua through the leading of The Spirit to step to the forefront of our minds and remind us of some things. Often the times of rest and idleness are far more dangerous than the times of war or frontier. We have a tendency to forget how we got where we are and the potential we have for being in a far worse place. It is then we need reminding most of the things that Joshua reminded his people of.
Be reminded of all the things God has done for you in the past. If your His child then a look to the past will reveal that there has never been one thing that He failed you in. Your entire life has been covered by Him and if there was any harm that came it was, and is, working together for your good. If there was chastisement it was for your good. If there were thorns in the flesh it was for your good. If there were mountains, if there were valleys, if there were highs or lows, good times or bad all of it is working to your good. He has provided thus far! The children of Israel would not be in the land had it not been for God and they needed reminding of that. You would not be where you are had it not been for God and we need to be reminded of that. It was Him and not us or our efforts that have brought us to the inheritance we now enjoy.
We also should remember that we have what we need for today and God's help and provision isn't only reserved for days gone by but we have a lively hope and a very present help in time of need. Just because today is a chapter of rest doesn't mean there isn't ground to cover, enemies to dispel and land to be discovered and settled. Today all may be at rest but tomorrow you may need the same help you needed in previous chapters of your life. Be reminded that God is our helper and His help is available for every day we face. He will never leave us nor forsake us. He is a very present help!!
Now lastly and less encouraging, we need to be reminded of our prospects of sin. We live in a world inhabited by the enemy, we live in a body that is prone to sin. We have to take special care not to cleave to the base things of this life. We cannot let our guard down and cleave to the things we used to once fight against. I've seen it all to often and had to fight within my own self not to cleave unto the old nature, the old conversations, the old mindsets and lust of the flesh. I live among them everyday but we have to remember to cleave to God. Cleave to his word, cleave to new inheritance and not the old. Serve The living God and not the old lifeless gods that lead to dead and worthless lives of debauchery. Be reminded the we live in a sinful world but we shouldn't live in sin. Read the end of the chapter. They are warned if they do go the way of the old inhabitants they will no longer enjoy their inheritance and will even be removed from it. The same is true for us. We like Israel can never go back to Egypt, God opened the waters and closed it behind them making it impossible to go back even when they wanted to. We are saved eternally and there is no going back to our lost position but sadly we have seen Christians who live the remainder of their days not enjoying the good land that God has given them. If your enjoying the inheritance now, be sure that can change if we begin to cleave to this world instead of the one to come. God help us to never become so rested that we fall. If it is a sore trial that keeps us alert then let be above a season of rest that leads to our compromise.
Prone to wander Lord I feel it.
Onward Christian Soldier.