Tuesday, September 19, 2017

A message to national Leaders

Read Joshua 23.

Nearing the end of his life, Joshua delivered two major addresses.  The first is in this chapter and it is directed to the leaders of Israel.  The speech emphasizes a singular message of national life and death, repeated three times.

1. How we got here.  (vv.1-8)
Yes, they were on the land.  But the reason they were there was according to God's everlasting covenant-promise to Abraham. 
Yes, they fought the battles to capture the land.  But "it was the LORD your God who has fought for you." (v.3b)
Yes, they controlled the land.  But there remained much left to do in order to actually possess all the land.  For their future they would need to "be very strong to keep and do all that is written in the Book of the Law of Moses..." (v.6)  This statement is right out of Joshua 1 and has been his guiding life principle ever since.
Yes, they knew and served the Living God.  But there were many luring, spiritual distractions.  "But you shall cling to the LORD your God." (v.8)

2. How to protect what we have.  (vv.9-13)
With God on their side, Israel was invincible.  Again, Joshua repeated that it was "God who fights for you." (v.10)
Instead of obedience to God, this time he stated, "Be careful to love the LORD your God." (v.11)
And then came the warning of giving in to the sinful distractions around them that would pollute the nation spiritually.  The first result would be "that the LORD your God will no longer drive out these nations before you." (v.12)  Second, they would suffer, perish, and lose the land.

3. How to preserve our future.  (vv.14-16)
"Not one word has failed of all the good things that the LORD your God promised concerning you." (v.14)
This was followed by the reminders again of how God has provided and the disaster of sinning against Him.

The scripture states clearly that God raises up one and puts down another.  Leaders and peoples can become prideful that it was by their own doing that they have come to power.  Righteous exalts a nation, but sin is a reproach to any people."  (Proverbs 14:34)

The take away statements for all of us are:
God is faithful and keeps His promises.
God's people are to cling to Him alone, to be strong, obeying God's word and loving Him.

There are blessings for obedience and severe consequences with great loss for disobedience.

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