TODAY’S READING: JOSHUA 22-24
The two and a half tribes who chose their inheritance on the other side of Jordan build an altar and call it Ed; Joshua exhorts Israel’s leaders; Joshua exhorts all the people of Israel and brings them to a point of decision.
HIGHLIGHTS & INSIGHTS:
Joshua 22 is a great lesson that teaches all of us to never choose less than God’s best! The two and a half tribes chose to live on this side of the Jordan River before they ever saw what God had in store for them on the other side. They settled for less than the best. In this chapter, Joshua allows them to leave Shiloh the place of “rest”, and go back to their chosen inheritance in Gilead, which means “stony place”. They chose to live in a place where it was difficult to farm and “bear fruit” (Matt. 13:1-5). God, in His patience and grace, allowed them to go because He never forces anyone to “live close to Him”. On their way back to their inheritance, they built an altar called Ed to remind their children that they worshipped the God of Israel, too. These two and a half tribes were trying to give the appearance of spirituality by building this altar, while living far from the presence of God (the Ark of the Covenant stayed with the other ten tribes in the Promised La!
nd). The lesson we all need to learn here is that you can’t fool anybody, especially your children, into believing that you live closer to God than you actually do. Are you doing what is “allowed” by God, building altars like “Ed” in your life to give the appearance of a Spirit-filled life, or are you seeking to do only those things that please the Lord? Either way, do realize that God and your family (i.e. your spouse and children) know the truthful answer!
In Joshua 23 and 24, Joshua pulls the leaders and people of Israel together to exhort, challenge, warn and call them into remembrance. Joshua’s main concern was that Israel remain a separated people, and not mingle with the heathen nations and worship their gods (23:7). How foolish it is to worship the gods of a defeated enemy! Yet, that is somehow what eventually happened! If they meditated on and obeyed God’s Word, then God would continue to bless them. If not, those blessings would be removed and in their place would be traps, snares and thorns. Be sure that you realize the sins we allow to remain in our lives will become just that...traps, snares and thorns (Num. 32:23 – “be sure your sin will find you out”).
Joshua brings the people to point of decision (Josh. 24:14-15). The decision was essentially this: Whom will you choose to fear, and whom will you choose to serve? The basic lesson is, whomever we fear (i.e. hold in awe), is whom we will serve. The principle includes both positive and negative aspects. When we fear God (i.e. when we hold Him in absolute awe and reverence), we will be what He wants us to be, and do what He wants us to do. In other words, we will serve Him. On the other hand, when we fear people (ie. when we revere them and think they’re awesome), we will be what they want us to be, and do what they want us to do. We will serve them. But don’t miss the message, everybody serves somebody! Not to choose God, is to choose Satan by default. When we hold ourselves in awe, choosing our own way, we fall into the snare of the devil, and actually become like Satan himself (See Isa. 14:12-14).
CHRIST IS REVEALED:
Through JOSHUA (the prophet), ELEAZAR (the priest), and JOSEPH (the King)– Joshua 24:29-33; The book of Joshua ends with three funerals (for Joshua, Eleazar and Joseph). A prophet, priest and king were buried right there in the middle of the inheritance. It is only through the death of the Lord Jesus Christ, our Prophet, Priest and King, that we have access to our inheritance in Him.