Joshua and Judges: Joshua's farewell. A reminder of all that the Lord has done. Jos 23.

Class Outline:

Title: Joshua and Judges: Joshua's farewell. A reminder of all that the Lord has done. Jos 23.  


Announcements / opening prayer:


Before getting to Joshua, a brief look at Psa 100 in honor of Thanksgiving.


PSA 100:1 A Psalm for Thanksgiving.


Shout joyfully to the Lord, all the earth.


PSA 100:2 Serve the Lord with gladness;

Come before Him with joyful singing.


PSA 100:3 Know that the Lord Himself is God;

It is He who has made us, and not we ourselves;

We are His people and the sheep of His pasture.


We find the contrast in Pharaoh who represents all the arrogant:


EZE 29:3

'Thus says the Lord God,

"Behold, I am against you, Pharaoh, king of Egypt,

The great monster that lies in the midst of his rivers,

That has said, 'My Nile is mine, and I myself have made it.'


PSA 100:4 Enter His gates with thanksgiving,

And His courts with praise. Give thanks to Him; bless His name.


All may come. This is a reference to the temple but the invitation also extends into eternity as the Son of Man is a blessing to all the nations of the earth.


PSA 100:5 For the Lord is good;

His lovingkindness is everlasting,

And His faithfulness to all generations.


Thanksgiving comes when the harvest is complete. Before the middle of the twentieth century almost everyone was a farmer. Things grow and we harvest them and enjoy them, but we cannot make them grow. For growth, we must depend upon God alone.


First Thanksgiving proclamation; President George Washington, Oct. 3, 1789.


Whereas it is the duty of all Nations to acknowledge the providence of Almighty God, to obey his will, to be grateful for his benefits, and humbly to implore his protection and favor-- and whereas both Houses of Congress have by their joint Committee requested me to recommend to the People of the United States a day of public thanksgiving and prayer to be observed by acknowledging with grateful hearts the many signal favors of Almighty God especially by affording them an opportunity peaceably to establish a form of government for their safety and happiness.

Now therefore I do recommend and assign Thursday the 26th day of November next to be devoted by the People of these States to the service of that great and glorious Being, who is the beneficent Author of all the good that was, that is, or that will be--


That we may then all unite in rendering unto him our sincere and humble thanks--for his kind care and protection of the People of this Country previous to their becoming a Nation--for the signal and manifold mercies, and the favorable interpositions of his Providence which we experienced in the course and conclusion of the late war--


for the great degree of tranquility, union, and plenty, which we have since enjoyed--for the peaceable and rational manner, in which we have been enabled to establish constitutions of government for our safety and happiness, and particularly the national One now lately instituted--for the civil and religious liberty with which we are blessed; and the means we have of acquiring and diffusing useful knowledge; and in general for all the great and various favors which he hath been pleased to confer upon us.


and also that we may then unite in most humbly offering our prayers and supplications to the great Lord and Ruler of Nations and beseech him to pardon our national and other transgressions-- to enable us all, whether in public or private stations, to perform our several and relative duties properly and punctually--to render our national government a blessing to all the people,


by constantly being a Government of wise, just, and constitutional laws, discreetly and faithfully executed and obeyed--to protect and guide all Sovereigns and Nations (especially such as have shewn kindness unto us) and to bless them with good government, peace, and concord--To promote the knowledge and practice of true religion and virtue, and the encrease of science among them and us--and generally to grant unto all Mankind such a degree of temporal prosperity as he alone knows to be best.


Jos 24: Renewal of the covenant at the National Assembly in Shechem - the place that Abraham received his first promise in Canaan.


It was at Shechem, on mountains Gerizim and Ebal that the law was read to this generation after they had entered the Promised Land. However, it is likely that the main reason for choosing Shechem was that Abraham received the first promise from God after entering Canaan.


Shechem was also the place that Jacob, upon returning from Mesopotamia, cleansed his house of their idols and Joshua is going to renew the covenant which involves the renunciation of idols.


GEN 33:18 Now Jacob came safely to the city of Shechem, which is in the land of Canaan, when he came from Paddan-aram, and camped before the city.


GEN 33:19 And he bought the piece of land where he had pitched his tent from the hand of the sons of Hamor, Shechem's father, for one hundred pieces of money.


GEN 33:20 Then he erected there an altar, and called it El-Elohe-Israel [God is the God of Israel].


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GEN 35:1 Then God said to Jacob, "Arise, go up to Bethel, and live there; and make an altar there to God, who appeared to you when you fled from your brother Esau."


GEN 35:2 So Jacob said to his household and to all who were with him, "Put away the foreign gods which are among you, and purify yourselves, and change your garments;


GEN 35:3 and let us arise and go up to Bethel; and I will make an altar there to God, who answered me in the day of my distress, and has been with me wherever I have gone."


GEN 35:4 So they gave to Jacob all the foreign gods which they had, and the rings which were in their ears; and Jacob hid them under the oak which was near Shechem.


When Joshua says:

JOS 24:23 "Now therefore, put away the foreign gods which are in your midst, and incline your hearts to the Lord, the God of Israel."


The example speaks more loudly in this place than in any other.


This entire assembly, young and old, were about to embark on living in the land, being settled in the land, making memories and family histories, and establishing a legacy. The group is made up of tribes and within those tribes, leaders and families made up of individuals, and they are all, to a man, under this covenant. Each one is responsible, and there will always be some who want something else, but enough of them must agree since they are an elect nation.


The covenant is unconditional. Israel will possess the land. The enjoyment of the land in each generation will depend on their adherence to the conditional Mosaic covenant (law).


A single person or an entire family may love the Lord and follow His ways, but if the rest of the nation does not then that generation will perish and even the faithful will suffer with the rest, though it is true that their suffering will be for blessing. However, the church is not a nation in which such a dynamic exists. It is true that a Christian may find himself in a nation that rejects natural or moral law and so suffers with the rest of the nation (like a Christian in Mosul today) or a Christian may find themselves isolated and alone with no one to share in the faith or to gather with due to the apostasy of the many around them, but in the church age it is an individual that stands or falls. There are no Christian nations.


JOS 24:1 Then Joshua gathered all the tribes of Israel to Shechem, and called for the elders of Israel and for their heads and their judges and their officers; and they presented themselves before God.


JOS 24:2 And Joshua said to all the people, "Thus says the Lord, the God of Israel, 'From ancient times your fathers lived beyond the River, namely, Terah, the father of Abraham and the father of Nahor, and they served other gods.


Nahor, Abraham's brother, is the grandfather of Rebecca (Isaac's wife) and the great-grandfather of Rachel and Leah (2 of Jacob's wives).


Abraham would go to Canaan when God told him to and of course God knew that. Could there have been another in Ur who would have gone and who would have believed in Jehovah? We cannot know, but we do know that it wasn't some wonderful and special lineage that was chosen.


Since Terah and his son Nahor served other gods, just like the rest in Ur, their line was not chosen for any merit on their part.


 In its time, Ur was a city of enormous size, scope, and opulence which drew its vast wealth from its position on the Persian Gulf and the trade this allowed with countries as far away as India. From the beginning, Ur was an important trade center owing to its location at a pivotal point where the Tigris and Euphrates run into the Persian Gulf. Archaeological excavations have substantiated that, early on, Ur possessed great wealth and the citizens enjoyed a level of comfort unknown in other Mesopotamian cities.


video - Ur of the Chaldees


They were demon worshippers and one of them was called and he had faith. There is no merit to Abraham or to the daughters of Nahor who became Israel's mothers.


Rabbis have been inclined to conjecture reasons for Abraham's choosing, for instance, that he didn't like idol worship and was persecuted for this and so he left. No reasons can be surmised other than his faith. We do not know if Abraham truly believed in idolatry before his call. Any guess is conjecture. It is obvious that he lived in the midst of it, but his attitude towards it is not given.


JOS 24:2 And Joshua said to all the people, "Thus says the Lord, the God of Israel, 'From ancient times your fathers lived beyond the River, namely, Terah, the father of Abraham and the father of Nahor, and they served other gods.


The ancestors of Israel dwelt from time immemorial, on the other side of the stream (the Euphrates), in Ur of the Chaldees.


JOS 24:3 'Then I took your father Abraham from beyond the River [Euphrates], and led him through all the land of Canaan, and multiplied his descendants and gave him Isaac.


JOS 24:4 'And to Isaac I gave Jacob and Esau, and to Esau I gave Mount Seir, to possess it; but Jacob and his sons went down to Egypt.


By this we know that the sons of Israel fully know the history of the patriarchs since Joshua did not give them a detailed history. The next generation is not ignorant of it.


Did they teach all of this to their children? We ask because we know that the next generation did not know the Lord. Yet, Joshua's generation were faithful and God fearing. We know they would have taught all things, including all the Law to their children.


JDG 2:10

And all that generation also were gathered to their fathers; and there arose another generation after them who did not know the Lord, nor yet the work which He had done for Israel.