Joshua Lesson 19

The Choices We Make Influence Us for Life

Joshua Chapters 23 and 24

1.    In Chapters 23 and 24, Joshua was in the final stages of his life here on earth.  He was around 110 years old at the time.  It had been many years since he had led the Israelites across the Jordan River, and into the Promised Land.  Just before his death, Joshua called together all the elders, leaders, judges, and officers of Israel to give his farewell address (akin to a verbal Last Will and Testament).  During a second speech (held at Shechem) Joshua reviewed the history that had brought them to the Promised Land, and renewed the Israelite’s covenant with God.  Try to imagine these massive gatherings of representatives from the twelve tribes, ready to hear from the man they had grown to admire and respect so much.  Passion and power just seems to ooze out of every word that Joshua spoke.  If you have not already done so, I would suggest that the group read chapters 23 and 24 aloud.  You can just sense the Spirit’s leading as you read these two chapters.
2.    Joshua uses these moments to do what he had done for his entire life, i.e., serve the Lord he loved and admonish the Jews he had led.  In his closing remarks, he gave his people, and us, words full of the wisdom that can only come through having a close personal relationship with our Lord.
3.    Joshua’s remarks were reminiscent of what had happened to the Jews in their Promised Land journey.  Also, he reminded them to love the Lord their God and to be careful to keep His commandments.  Joshua looks back and then ahead, as he tells the people how to have success in life.  He told the assembly to allow God to use them, to let God bless their endeavors, to experience God’s grace as He guides them, and to remain moral and pure as the key to their nation’s success.  Then he closed with a powerful challenge to get off the fence and make a decision to serve God.
4.    It’s amazing that we show so little honor to our senior citizens.  Nor do we allow them to share what they have learned in life.  We seem to always be searching for something newer, better, more innovative, and for fresher ideas to make the world a better place.
    Q1.  Read 2 Peter 1:12-14 and review the two speeches of Joshua in Chapters 23 and 24.  Then ask the group to discuss whether they agree or disagree that we should be honoring seniors more and learning from them.  Why or why not?

5.    In Joshua 23, Joshua reiterates his plan for being successful in the Promised Land, which also holds true for our lives today.  Even though Joshua is not just speaking about earthly riches, he does talk about the circumstances under which God will prosper His people.  In this chapter, he is reliving a life of God-honoring commitment and service with no regrets.  He says that we need to do the following things to prosper in life:
    a.    Obey the revealed will of God.  (Joshua 1-7-9; 23:6; 1 Sam. 15:22; Luke 11:28; John 15:10)
    b.    Hold fast to God (and no other gods) and be set apart to do all that is written in the book of the Law of Moses.  (Joshua 23:7, 8; 23:11-13;2 Cor. 6:14-17)
    c.    Love the Lord your God.  (Joshua 23:11; Mark 12:30)
    d.    Be pure and don’t compromise with those who don’t share your God honoring values, lest God not support you and you perish.  (Joshua 23:12-16; 1 John 3:1-3,6; 1 Pet.4:1-4)

    Q2.  Ask the group to recall a trial or a difficult situation they have experienced, and how God sustained them through it.

6.    Refer to God’s promises to Abraham in Genesis 12:2, “I will bless you … and you shall be a blessing.”  As heirs to this promise, through Christ, (Gal. 3:14-18) we should make the choice to be a blessing to others.
    a.    When we bless others, God takes care of our needs.  (Phil. 4:16-19)
    b.    When we give to others, this blessing will come back to us.  (Luke 6:38)

    Q3.  What are some needs we can supply, which would be a blessing to others?

7.    Here are some closing thoughts regarding Joshua’s remarks to the Israelites (from the two speeches found in Joshua 23 and 24):
    a.    Joshua says that the moral power of the new nation (i.e., the power that comes from moral purity and serving the Lord) is the key to its success.  He was basically saying, “I will prosper you, as long as you obey my commandments and remain pure.
    b.    When Jesus came to earth, he came to be the perfect example of this moral power.  He said by His example, “Do what I do.  Follow my example!”  Oh, how I yearn to see just a small measure of such power from our leaders today.

    Q4.  Ask the group to discuss a leader they have known, who leads, or did lead, with moral power.

    c.    Joshua moves on to speak about the grace of God.  What he says is that Abraham came from a pagan background (i.e., his father, Terah, served other gods).  Yet God used him mightily.  When God called Abraham unto Himself, he obeyed.  Approximately seven hundred years after Joshua, read what Isaiah said to the Jewish nation in Isaiah 51:1.  Also, look at what Paul said about the brethren in 1 Cor. 6:9-11.  And finally, look at what Paul said about himself in 1 Cor. 15:9-10.
    d.    Then Joshua issues a stern warning to the Israelites and to us today.  Read Joshua 24:20.

    Q5.  Ask the group to read Jeremiah 10:10 and discuss what God does to nations when He is angry with them.  Our nation’s destiny depends on our obedience!  Read Job 36:11.
    e.    Joshua’s remarks, and history, teaches us that when we (as a nation, a family, or an individual) obey God, He will bless us, and help us get through the trials of life.  Sadly, when we stray, and serve idols of our creation, we put ourselves on the path to separation and destruction.  Look at what the aged apostle, John, said in John 5:21, and what Jeremiah, the prophet, said in Jeremiah 2:9-13.
    f.    Joshua closes with a powerful statement in Joshua 24:15, when he says, “Choose whom you will serve … but as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.”

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