Committing to Faithful Service
- source for questions
Joshua 23:1 through 24:33
- key verse for memorization
“Be ye therefore very courageous to keep and to do all that is written in the book of the law of Moses, that ye turn not aside therefrom to the right hand or to the left.” (Joshua 23:6)
Joshua made two speeches at the end of this book emphasizing how good the Lord had been to the Children of Israel. His advanced age was the reason for his gathering “all Israel” unto himself, and this text block has been noted as his farewell address to them. Joshua took this opportunity to remind them that they were eyewitnesses of God’s mighty deeds, and he admonished them to be faithful to the Lord and obey His Law.
Joshua went on to remind them that God brought their patriarch, Abraham, from “the other side of the flood,” (Joshua 24:3) referring here to the great river Euphrates, not to the great Flood of Noah’s day. He pointed out the great lengths that God undertook to establish this people as His people.
Although Terah (Abraham’s father) and Nachor (Abraham’s brother), had knowledge of the one true God, they compromised their faith by mixing with the idolatrous culture in Haran. God chose Abraham and established His covenant with him because he obediently followed the voice of God.
Sometimes God used ordinary elements to accomplish His purpose. Joshua reminded the elders of the time that God sent a swarm of hornets to drive out the inhabitants of the land allowing the Children of Israel to possess houses already built as well as crops already cultivated.
As Joshua ended his discourse to them, the Children of Israel said, “The Lord our God will we serve, and his voice will we obey” (Joshua 24:24). True to their word, for a time, they kept the covenant they made with God by the hands of Joshua long after he, and the elders who outlived him, died.
- When God commissioned Joshua to be Moses’ successor, He provided Joshua with divine encouragement, exhorting him to be courageous and obedient to God’s will (see Joshua 1:5-9). What similarities do you see between this instruction and the opening words of Joshua’s farewell address to the nation in Joshua 23:6-11? What conclusion can we draw from these two Scriptures regarding how Joshua responded?
- Joshua 23:3 describes the Lord as “he that hath fought for you.” What had God done for the Israelites up to this point? Use Joshua 24:2-13 as a guide.
- In Old Testament times, God fought physical battles for His people. What type of “battles” do we face today?
- What was Joshua’s first command to Israel in this exhortation? What was his second? (Joshua 23:6-7)
- What were the conditions of God’s promise to fight for the Israelites? (Joshua 23:7) How can we be assured that God is fighting for us?
- Joshua 23:11 states the third command: to love the Lord. How did the Children of Israel demonstrate their adherence or lack of adherence to this command? How can we show the world through our actions that we, too, love the Lord?
- What did Joshua do to commemorate the people’s covenant renewal with God? (Joshua 24:25-27) What are some examples of “monuments” in a Christian’s life?
- If you knew you had only one month to live, would your attitude and behavior change? If so, in what way? What would you say to your friends, family, neighbors, and coworkers in your “final address”?
Faithful service to God is built upon the foundation of a born-again experience. As we purpose to “cleave unto the Lord” and “love him with all our heart,” we will consecrate ourselves to the service of the Lord.