Joshua and Judges: Joshua's renewal of the covenant at Shechem before his death. Jos 24.
length: 63:37 - taught on Nov, 29 2016
Title: Joshua and Judges: Joshua's renewal of the covenant at Shechem before his death. Jos 24.
Announcements / opening prayer:
PSA 2:1 Why are the nations in an uproar,
And the peoples devising a vain thing?
PSA 2:2 The kings of the earth take their stand,
And the rulers take counsel together
Against the Lord and against His
PSA 2:3 "Let us tear their fetters apart,
And cast away their cords from us!"
PSA 2:4 He who sits in the heavens laughs,
The Lord scoffs at them.
PSA 2:5 Then He will speak to them in His anger
And terrify them in His fury:
PSA 2:6 "But as for Me, I have installed My King
Upon Zion, My holy mountain."
PSA 2:7 "I will surely tell of the decree of the Lord:
He said to Me, 'Thou art My Son,
Today I have begotten Thee.
PSA 2:8 'Ask of Me, and I will surely give the nations as Thine inheritance,
And the very ends of the earth as Thy possession.
PSA 2:9 'Thou shalt break them with a rod of iron,
Thou shalt shatter them like earthenware.'"
PSA 2:10 Now therefore, O kings, show discernment;
Take warning, O judges of the earth.
PSA 2:11 Worship the Lord with reverence,
And rejoice with trembling.
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.
Overwhelming grace demands gratitude, obligation, and obedience.
This appeal does not presuppose any gross idolatry on the part of the existing generation, which would have been at variance with the rest of the book, in which Israel is represented as only serving Jehovah during the lifetime of Joshua. We must assume that this warning was passed on to the next generation, but it was a warning they did not heed and they found themselves in slavery all over again.
In the best apple bunch there are always a few bad ones.
The appeal is not only to the few who are there who are secretly bowing before little statues of Egyptian or Canaanite gods, but to all of them who secretly desire to worship idols in their hearts.
This was a faithful generation, but in every man there is the gravitational pull of the sin nature and always the potential to worship an idol. Joshua's brief history lesson, in which Jehovah has shown overwhelming grace is the reminder that they need to push back or to lay aside any call from the sin nature to seek the pleasures of idolatry, which are only pleasures for a season and then produce death.
Any man's mind may find itself trying to worship desired idols and at the same time attempt to worship Jehovah. One cannot serve two masters.
False gods tolerate other deities, as all the pagan religions did. In these false religions you are allowed to worship other gods as long as you believe that your head pagan god is the strongest of them all. The true God does not tolerate any false god or falsehood period. In Israel, the Canaanite gods acknowledged the existence of Jehovah as just another god, and at the times that Israel defeated them, the Canaanites took the perspective that their own gods were angry at them and so allowed Jehovah to have victory. The subsequent generations of Israelites were told by their neighbors that they could worship Baal and Jehovah at the same time and so enjoy the fulfillment of the flesh through Baal and the victory and prosperity of Jehovah. But how often does God describe Himself as a jealous God.
They compromise or mix the two so that they can have both worlds, but that cannot be had. Idols are to be completely put away.
JOS 24:15 And if it is disagreeable in your sight to serve the Lord, choose for yourselves today whom you will serve: whether the gods which your fathers served which were beyond the River [Mesopotamia], or the gods of the Amorites [Canaanites] in whose land you are living; but as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord."
"disagreeable" - ra = bad, evil, or wicked. Though a recipient of super abounding grace a man may consider service to Jehovah as an evil thing.
The reality of man is that it is possible, even when being the actual recipients of God's super-abounding grace in real time, standing in a land that could not be theirs by any natural means, to find serving to the Lord to be disagreeable.
Since this is true, every person, every believer should fear being obtuse towards God.
We are walking around with ticking time bombs inside us, meaning the sin nature. It can be handled through the grace of God, but it is still very dangerous.
And if you address as Father the One who impartially judges according to each man's work, conduct yourselves in fear during the time of your stay upon earth; knowing that you were not redeemed with perishable things like silver or gold from your futile way of life inherited from your forefathers, but with precious blood, as of a lamb unblemished and spotless, the blood of Christ.
Joshua states that if the entire nation found it disagreeable to serve the Lord then he and his house still would, which indicates that anyone was able to, that if the nation went apostate any person or family could remain faithful.
Any person or family may fully worship God no matter how much apostasy exists around them. There are no excuses.
Faithful men in apostate times face certain sufferings that they wouldn't in faithful times, but God has every life under control and no one gets more than they are able to bear.
"Choose for yourselves" - worship of God cannot be forced upon a person. It must be a true desire in his heart.
JOS 24:16 And the people answered and said, "Far be it from us that we should forsake the Lord to serve other gods;
JOS 24:17 for the Lord our God is He who brought us and our fathers up out of the land of Egypt, from the house of bondage, and who did these great signs in our sight and preserved us through all the way in which we went and among all the peoples through whose midst we passed.
JOS 24:18 "And the Lord drove out from before us all the peoples, even the Amorites who lived in the land. We also will serve the Lord, for He is our God."
The people assert that forsaking the Lord does not tempt them, and that would prove to be true for this generation.
Joshua makes a firm point that words are just words if they are not backed up by faith. Any proclamation is useless if it is not carried out.
JOS 24:19 Then Joshua said to the people, "You will not be able to serve the Lord, for He is a holy God. He is a jealous God; He will not forgive your transgression or your sins.
JOS 24:20 If you forsake the Lord and serve foreign gods, then He will turn and do you harm and consume you after He has done good to you."
They must be sure to know that they cannot serve God in words only. Any idols must go, from house and from heart. Only the grace of God and faith gives the power to remove idols.
There are a number of situations that would cause a person to serve God in words only. They may be forced to go to church or are at least expected to go. It may be peer pressure from a family or neighbor or group or community. It may be that the person thinks it will bolster their marketability in business or in a relationship. It may be that a person thinks others are watching him and expecting it. We could likely think of many more reasons.