Joshua 23

Sunday Evening Bible Study

September 5, 1999


The book of Joshua is a book about taking the Promised Land. The Israelites have been delivered from the slavery of Egypt, but before they can settle into what God wants to give them, they have to conquer the land. They have now conquered the majority of the land, and it’s time to send everyone home.

Joshua 23

:1 the Lord had given rest unto Israel from all their enemies ...

It's been about 10 to 20 years since Israel has conquered the land. These people have reached a maturity in the Lord. It’s been a while since they’ve been "newcomers" to the Promised Land. They’ve had some pretty serious victories under their belt.

And they’re in danger of falling away.


Robert Robinson had been saved out of a tempestuous life of sin through George Whitefield's ministry in England. Shortly after that, at the age of twenty-three, Robinson wrote the hymn Come, Thou Fount.

Come, Thou Fount of ev'ry blessing,

Streams of mercy, never ceasing,

Call for songs of loudest praise.

Sadly, Robinson wandered far from those streams and, like the Prodigal Son, journeyed into the distant country of carnality. Until one day -- he was traveling by stagecoach and sitting beside a young woman engrossed in her book. She ran across a verse she thought was beautiful and asked him what he thought of it.

Prone to wander -- Lord, I feel it --

Prone to leave the God I love.

Bursting into tears, Robinson said, "Madam, I am the poor unhappy man who wrote that hymn many years ago, and I would give a thousand worlds, if I had them, to enjoy the feelings I had then."

It's a place any of us could find ourselves.

:1 Joshua waxed old and stricken in age

Joshua is now nearing 110 years old.

:5 drive them out

There's still work to be done.

We may be in the Promised Land, we may have won some victories, and we may have received our portion from the Lord.

But there's still work to be done, enemies to clear out.

We'll be working until the Lord comes back.

:6 Be ye therefore very courageous to keep …

courageouschazaq to strengthen, prevail, harden, be strong, become strong, be courageous, be firm, grow firm, be resolute


Be a courageous "obeyer"

God is looking for people who are willing to go against the flow of society and be brave enough to say "no" to the world.

Shadrach, Meshach, Abed-nego (Dan.3)

The king made a decree for everybody to worship the idol when the band started playing

Three chose not to obey. Everybody else bowed, they stayed on their feet. They said:

Daniel 3:17-18 AV If it be [so], our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the burning fiery furnace, and he will deliver [us] out of thine hand, O king. 18 But if not, be it known unto thee, O king, that we will not serve thy gods, nor worship the golden image which thou hast set up.

They were thrown into the fiery furnace.

There's often a price to pay for standing up to follow Jesus.

Some people don't like it.

But they weren't alone in the furnace.

A fourth person mysteriously showed up. Jesus.

:7 neither make mention of the name of their gods

Joshua wanted them to keep such a distance between Israel and the heathen, that they weren't even supposed to mention the names of the other gods.

I don't really think that this is particularly meaning that today we shouldn't be mentioning the names of Baal, Ashtoreth, Molech, Dagon, etc. I think there’s a deeper principle involved here.


Be naive of the world

The gods we have to contend with these days, the sources that motivate people away from serving the true and living God, tend not to be found in religious places, but in movie theaters, TV, and radio.

They have names like .... oops!

Wouldn't it be neat to live in a world where the word "Madonna" conjured up images of the Virgin Mary and baby Jesus? Instead of the other?

Joshua said not to mention their names, Paul writes:

Ephesians 5:11-12 AV And have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather reprove [them]. 12 For it is a shame even to speak of those things which are done of them in secret.

I think in a way, it's a good thing not to even be familiar with the names of the shows on TV.

:10 one man of you shall chase a thousand

This was part of God's earlier promise to the people after they came out of Egypt. God made a promise to them, conditional on whether or not they chose to obey the Lord:

Leviticus 26:3, 7-9 If ye walk in my statutes, and keep my commandments, and do them … 7 And ye shall chase your enemies, and they shall fall before you by the sword. 8 And five of you shall chase an hundred, and an hundred of you shall put ten thousand to flight: and your enemies shall fall before you by the sword. 9 For I will have respect unto you, and make you fruitful, and multiply you, and establish my covenant with you.

:11 ... love the Lord

It's not just "appreciate" the Lord, it's "LOVE" the Lord, have an intimate affection for God.

When we're in love with the Lord, we will automatically want to do whatever it is that pleases Him.

John 14:15-NIV "If you love me, you will obey what I command.

What if I seem to have lost my love for the Lord?

All is not lost! You can get back your first love! (just like in marriages ...)

Revelation 2:4-5 AV Nevertheless I have [somewhat] against thee, because thou hast left thy first love. 5 Remember therefore from whence thou art fallen, and repent, and do the first works; or else I will come unto thee quickly, and will remove thy candlestick out of his place, except thou repent.

Remember, Repent, Do the first works. Prime the pump.

:12 make marriages with them


Don't marry an unbeliever

It's never been in God's plan for those who believe in Him to get married to those who don't believe in Him.

Deuteronomy 7:3-4 AV Neither shalt thou make marriages with them; thy daughter thou shalt not give unto his son, nor his daughter shalt thou take unto thy son. 4 For they will turn away thy son from following me, that they may serve other gods: so will the anger of the LORD be kindled against you, and destroy thee suddenly.

The apostle Paul makes it black and white when he says to not be unequally yoked together with unbelievers (2Cor. 6:14-18)

Marriage is more than just physical attraction.

It's two people becoming one, completely. If you're not made of the same stuff spiritually, you're in for lots of heartache.

:13 they shall be snares and traps unto you

What usually happens is that the believer has to come down to the level of the unbeliever.

And it's not uncommon for a person's walk to slide downhill.

:14 not one thing hath failed of all the good things

God has always kept His promises of help to Israel.

:15 so shall the Lord bring upon you all evil things ...


God is faithful both to help and to judge.

Just as God is Faithful to Help, God is Faithful to Judge

As Christians, we no longer face the prospect of eternal judgment, but we may still face the chastisement due to God's children.

Hebrews 12:5-6 AV And ye have forgotten the exhortation which speaketh unto you as unto children, My son, despise not thou the chastening of the Lord, nor faint when thou art rebuked of him: 6 For whom the Lord loveth he chasteneth, and scourgeth every son whom he receiveth.

There are times when as God's children, when no other form of discipline works, He has to resort to spanking us.

Not all problems are a result of our sin, but there are sometimes when it's true.