Joshua and Judges: Joshua's renewal of the covenant at Shechem before his death. Jos 24.

Class Outline:

Title: Joshua and Judges: Joshua's renewal of the covenant at Shechem before his death. Jos 24.  


Announcements / opening prayer:


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.


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.


DEU 6:6-9

And these words, which I am commanding you today, shall be on your heart; and you shall teach them diligently to your sons and shall talk of them when you sit in your house and when you walk by the way and when you lie down and when you rise up. And you shall bind them as a sign on your hand and they shall be as frontals on your forehead. And you shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates.


As a side note, it is right to state here that the teaching of the Bible, both in the old dispensation and the new is the only teaching that has increasingly raised, if not uniformly the public morals as well as the tone and standard of public morality. It has continued to exhibit a standard never yet attained, and it has proved the power to control public and social life, to influence and to mould it. What is also undeniable is that in the case of heathenism every advance in civilization has marked a progressive lowering of public morality, the earlier stages of national life always showing a far higher tone than the later. This is clear to any student of history, making it not easy to believe, that even they who oppose the Bible could wish that they succeeded in removing it from their society. If one were to look at civilizations before Christ, not in the Jewish home, but in the Gentile world and then to see how Christianity has changed the Gentile and in some cases, even the Jewish world, one would see a miracle.


It is ever true that those who oppose God create their own demise. The Roman historian Tacitus marked something special about the Jews - they regarded it as a crime to kill their offspring. Only the influence of God's truth has made for a successful and nurturing thing that we know as the family. There are very few who love and admire the antiquity of the Greeks or Romans who understand how unwanted children were left to die by exposure or the many crimes they committed to rid themselves of what they thought was a surplus population. In our shock we ask, "How is it that a person could commit child sacrifice to a pagan god?" We are the beneficiaries of many generations of Christian influence.


Historians like to paint the book of Joshua as a genocide since that's how other peoples generally operated. The world wants to conclude that the God of Israel is just like the gods of all others, but in fact it was God's discipline upon a people who were morally corrupt 400 years earlier and had grown steadily worse.


The book of Joshua is not about Israel vs. the Canaanite, but God vs. evil. It wasn't a type of nationality that brought judgment, but evil.


In fact, unbelieving Israel will be dealt the same judgment.


JOS 24:5 'Then I sent Moses and Aaron, and I plagued Egypt by what I did in its midst; and afterward I brought you out.


JOS 24:6 'And I brought your fathers out of Egypt, and you came to the sea; and Egypt pursued your fathers with chariots and horsemen to the Red Sea.


EXO 3:17

So I will stretch out My hand, and strike Egypt with all My miracles which I shall do in the midst of it; and after that he will let you go.


JOS 24:7 'But when they cried out to the Lord, He put darkness between you and the Egyptians [pillar of cloud, EXO 14:20], and brought the sea upon them and covered them; and your own eyes saw what I did in Egypt. And you lived in the wilderness for a long time.


EXO 14:10

And as Pharaoh drew near, the sons of Israel looked, and behold, the Egyptians were marching after them, and they became very frightened; so the sons of Israel cried out to the Lord.


JOS 24:8 'Then I brought you into the land of the Amorites who lived beyond the Jordan, and they fought with you; and I gave them into your hand, and you took possession of their land when I destroyed them before you.


JOS 24:9 'Then Balak the son of Zippor, king of Moab, arose and fought against Israel, and he sent and summoned Balaam the son of Beor to curse you.


JOS 24:10 'But I was not willing to listen to Balaam. So he had to bless you, and I delivered you from his hand.


JOS 24:11 'And you crossed the Jordan and came to Jericho; and the citizens of Jericho fought against you, and the Amorite and the Perizzite and the Canaanite and the Hittite and the Girgashite, the Hivite and the Jebusite. Thus I gave them into your hand.


These same people were stated by God to Abraham in Gen 15, over four hundred years prior, that he would possess their lands.


JOS 24:12 'Then I sent the hornet before you and it drove out the two kings of the Amorites from before you, but not by your sword or your bow.


EXO 23:28

And I will send hornets ahead of you, that they may drive out the Hivites, the Canaanites, and the Hittites before you.


The word used refers to the largest species of wasp. They are known to be an object of peculiar dread, a plague which deprives men of rest altogether. Some have argued that God sent literal wasps ahead of the Israelites, but it is most likely a figurative term which refers to the way in which God was able to strike them with fear and restlessness [hailstones, plague, dreams, etc.], which would weaken them so much that Israel would have an easy time destroying them.


JOS 24:13 'And I gave you a land on which you had not labored, and cities which you had not built, and you have lived in them; you are eating of vineyards and olive groves which you did not plant.'


DEU 6:10-11

Then it shall come about when the Lord your God brings you into the land which He swore to your fathers, Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, to give you, great and splendid cities which you did not build, and houses full of all good things which you did not fill, and hewn cisterns which you did not dig, vineyards and olive trees which you did not plant, and you shall eat and be satisfied.


All of this was from one guy whom God called out from a pagan land. From one man God now established His own nation as He had promised from the beginning.


JOS 24:14 "Now, therefore, fear the Lord and serve Him in sincerity and truth; and put away the gods which your fathers served beyond the River and in Egypt, and serve the Lord.


There are roughly 1,500 ancient Egyptian gods known.


Canaanite pantheon: El (father of the gods), Asherah (wife of El), Baal (Storm god; became most powerful), Ashtoreth (goddess of fertility), Anath (Baal's sister and wife, goddess of love and war).


The Mesopotamian pantheon, like the Egyptian, consists of hundreds of gods that represent every aspect of man and earth that man deems important.