Joshua 24: Reviewing God’s Purposes

This entry is part 132 of 150 in the series 365 Key Chapters of the Bible

People often begin well and end poorly. Consider, for example, the kings of Judah and Israel. Although many of them began by seeking after the Lord during their reign, many of them lost sight of Him. Joshua, however, is an example of what it means both to begin well and end well, finishing strong by continuing in faithfulness to the Lord.

Joshua knew that all of life is gift and grace. Before his death, he sought to impart this truth to the Israelites. He exhorted them to walk in the ways of the Lord, fearing, loving, and obeying Him.

Reviewing God’s Purposes

Joshua began his final speech by recounting how the Lord was faithful to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. He also reminded the Israelites of the Exodus, which is the defining moment of the people of Israel. The generation that passed through the Red Sea, however, ultimately rejected God. As a result of their disobedience, the generation of the Exodus would not be the generation of the conquest. Instead, their children would receive the Promised Land.

This history demonstrates that the Israelites could do nothing on their own. God was the One who had been fighting for them and redeeming them all along. They needed to trust and obey Him, walking in faith and dependence. Reviewing God’s purposes in how He had preserved them and cared for them would help them cultivate a sense of gratitude and dependence.

Serving the Lord

After reviewing the history of the Israelites, Joshua exhorted them to serve the Lord, not the gods of the Promised Land or the gods of Egypt. He knew that the Israelites would be tempted to turn to gods they could see, idols that had no power. We, too, have this struggle—instead of bowing down to wood or stone, we often figuratively bow to our work or finances or family.

Joshua knew that everyone will serve something. If we do not serve the One who made all things, the living God, then it is onerous. As a result, Joshua challenged the Israelites to serve the Lord. They responded by deciding to serve the Lord, acting as witnesses against themselves. Joshua made a covenant with them and set up a memorial, witnessing their decision to follow after God.

Placing Your Hope in God

The book of Joshua concludes with a mention of Joseph’s bones (Joshua 24:32). At the end of his life, Joseph had commanded that his bones be placed in the Promised Land (Genesis 50:24–26). This may seem like an odd way to end the book of Joshua, but it serves two purposes:

  1. It shows that Joseph put his hope in God instead of in the material world.
  2. It demonstrates that God always fulfills His promises.

Despite the long period of time as slaves in Egypt and as wanderers in the wilderness, God brought His people to the Promised Land. Such faithfulness should be praised!

This teaching is based on Ken’s Handbook to Scripture

Need help understanding the fear and love of the Lord? Read Ken’s article, “Delighting in the Fear of the Lord.”

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