Be a Witness
The last 3 chapters of Joshua exemplify the importance of witnessing to ourselves and to others the selfless love and fidelity of God.
What is witnessing? It is the act of observing or experiencing something and speaking about it, as the truth. Joshua 22:34 highlights the name of the altar on the other side of the Jordan; A witness between us that the Lord is God.
Joshua's last message to the Israelites in chap 23, highlights the following;
1. to remember His goodness and dwell on His favour (vs 3-5)
2. to not forget His law and hold on to it (vs 6-8)
3. the Lord would fight for them if they loved Him like He taught them (vs 9-11).
4. otherwise, His anger would drive them out of the land (vs:15-16).
In chap 24:22, the people accept to be witnesses of the law and covenant. They accept to do what God wants and Joshua erects a stone in vs 27 as a witness; a stone that heard the people and a stone that would be a witness against them if they are untrue to God.
Joshua didn't choose a leader because all the adults present had taken an oath to be witnesses of God's law, to remember it, to live by it and to talk about it to their children. Each of us is a witness and a leader today.
When Jesus left the disciples, He gave them a similar commission; they were to be His witnesses to the world, abiding by His word to bring people into Light, by driving out Darkness.
He is the Living Stone listening to us, the Stumbling Block which many reject; those who accept His witness become living stones and witness to others what they have seen and experienced. This is how His love is spread when each of us witnesses like He did.
Let us pray that this Christmas season, we be true witnesses of His sacrificial love to as many as possible. Stay blessed.
"But as for me and my household, WE WILL SERVE THE LORD" Joshua 24:15
Joshua was born in Egypt as a slave child.He assisted Moses during the 40 years of wilderness journey.Always had complete faith in the power and faithfulness of God. After the death of Moses, God appointed him to lead Israelites to Canaan, to conquer the land and to divide it for them.He was a mighty military general who always obeyed the mighty God.
Just before his death at the age of 110, he called all the leaders of Israel to Shechem and is giving a farewell speech. He is helping them to make a covenant with God. He exhorted them to remain faithful to God. (Joshua.23:6-8). He reminded them about the faithfulness of God by giving a brief history of what the Lord has done for them. (Joshua.24:2-13)
Joshua exhorted them to "Throw away the god's your forefathers worshiped beyond the River and in Egypt and serve the LORD" Joshua.24:14.
After this Joshua is giving them an option to choose between the LORD and the god's which their ancestors worshiped or the god's of the people around. Then he declared that "But as for me and my household, we will serve the LORD". Joshua.24:15. At this Israelites also declared that "We too will serve the Lord, because he is our God." Joshua.24:18. Joshua reminded them that "He is a Holy God, he is a jealous God. He will not forgive your rebellion and your sins". Joshua.24:19. Finally he asked them "throw away the foreign god's that are among you and yield your hearts to the Lord, the God of Israel". Joshua.24:23.
Do we remember, how our forefathers lived?
(Their Egyptian life- lack of proper education, job / income, food, housing or facilities....) Who brought us to this stage today?. (Land flowing with milk and honey- everything in plenty. Modern education, job +income, modern housing with facilities, name, fame.....)
Are we thankful to God or going after other god's- god of money, god of name and fame, god of luxuries...
Are we ready to throw away all such god's from our life? Today can we declare with Joshua that "we will serve the Lord"? Do our household join us in this declaration?
What is our understanding of "serving the LORD"? Is it simply attending a church, giving some offerings + subscription or anything more than that?
Let us serve the Lord because He is our God.
"The Mighty One, God, The Lord" Joshua 22:22
The tribes of Reuben, Gad and the half tribe of Manasseh returned to Gilead, after completing the conquer of Canaan. On the way, they built an imposing Altar at Geliloth near the Jordan in the land of Canaan. (Joshua.22:10) When the rest of Israel heard about it, they assembled at Shiloh to go to war against them.
They sent Phinehas, son of Eleazar the priest and a leader from each of the 10 tribes to enquire about it. (Joshua.22:13,14). Their main concern was "How could you turn away from the Lord and build yourself an altar against him now?" Joshua.22:16. They couldn't think of anyone rebelling against God and building any altar other than the Altar of the Lord our God.
The eastern tribes replied that they built this altar to be a witness between us and the generations that follow, that we will worship the Lord at His sanctuary, with our burnt offerings, sacrifices, and fellowship offerings."
At this Phinehas and others understood the sincerity of the eastern tribes and went back peacefully. The eastern tribes named their altar " A witness between us that the LORD is GOD." Joshua.22:34.
Are we disturbed when our dear ones are going away from God?
Are we doing anything to make sure that our dear ones are properly following the Lord? Are we trying to bring them back to God?
Are we doing anything to make sure that our generations will continue to worship the Lord?
Here we see the last, dramatic gathering of Israel before the passing of Joshua.
Joshua chose a special place, Shechem.
Shechem is modern Tel Balata.
In Shechem at least four notable events happened in the lives of Israel.
Abraham came into the Promised Land and first camped at Shechem and there he built an altar to the Lord there.
When Jacob came back into the Promised Land, he first camped at Shechem. He called the place, El Elohe Israeland built an altar there.
Jacob’s sons Simeon and Levi deceptively lured the men of Shechem into a massacre, murdering all the men of the city
When God told him to go to Bethel, he buried all the idols at the terebinth tree near Shechem.
Here God is speaking through Joshua, reminding the people of how He has faithfully provided for them in the past.
Joshua chose a special place to remind the people of God’s faithfulness.
We all have our own personal Shechem—the places where God has met us in a special way.
. The places where God has fulfilled His promises.
….. The places where God has answered our prayers
What is our past with God?
Remember what God has done in our past, and recognize God in our present.
Praise Him for what He has done.
Trust Him with whatever is going on now.
Humble ourselves and try to understand what the Lord is doing around us.
He will faithfully lead us and strengthen us, as we go forward..
Come out and be separate.
Time again we see in the Old Testament, the Lord instructing the Israelites that they should not intermarry with the people of the nation's where they lived because they would turn their hearts away from serving the Lord.
Deuteronomy 7:3 says,
"Do not intermarry with them.Do not give your daughters to their sons or take their daughters for their sons."
1 Kings 11.2 says,
"You must not intermarry with them because they will surely turn your hearts after other gods."
Here,in Joshua 23.12-13 Joshua gave stern warning to the Israelites not to marry the people of the land which they had possessed. He said that they would become snares and traps for them... meaning that they would set a net that would entangle their feet and they would be trapped in their paganic activities.
Whips on their backs... meaning that they would manipulate them and subject them to hard labor mercilessly and
Thorns in their eyes... meaning that they would dwell with them and irritate them and nag them constantly causing them great pain.They would not be able to get rid of them even if they wished. The pagan people would drive them to obedience to their false gods of their understanding by their idolatries.
Dear friends we live days? where Christian youth freely mingle with the non believers and and get united with them in marriage
.When elders and parents counsel them with good intentions of correcting them these youngsters argue that they would influence their non believing partners after marriage and lead them to salvation.
Let us not be deceived.
* In 2 Corinthians 6:14 Paul very clearly says "Do not be yoked together with unbelievers.For what do righteousness and wickedness have in common?
Or what fellowship vcan light have with darkness?
What harmony is there between Christ and Belial?
What does a believer have in common with a unbeliever?.
For we are the temple of the living God..... Therefore come out of them and be separate".
The devil is trying hard to ruin Christian families by adopting various methods.
One such way is tempting the Christian youth to fall in the trap of non believers and be wedded to them.
Let us not become victims of Satan's cunning devices.
There are certain things which God has prohibited for His children and let us not trespass His commands.
Let us bring forth godly generation by abiding by the laws of the Lord.