Sunday, December 23, 2012

Cling To God!

Joshua:  6 “So be very careful to follow everything Moses wrote in the Book of Instruction. Do not deviate from it, turning either to the right or to the left. 7 Make sure you do not associate with the other people still remaining in the land. Do not even mention the names of their gods, much less swear by them or serve them or worship them. 8 Rather, cling tightly to the Lord your God as you have done until now. 9 For the Lord has driven out great and powerful nations for you, and no one has yet been able to defeat you. 10 Each one of you will put to flight a thousand of the enemy, for the Lord your God fights for you, just as he has promised. 11 So be very careful to love the Lord your God. 12 But if you turn away from Him and cling to the customs of the survivors of these nations remaining among you, and if you intermarry with them, 13 then know for certain that the Lord your God will no longer drive them out of your land. Instead, they will be a snare and a trap to you, a whip for your backs and thorny brambles in your eyes, and you will vanish from this good land the Lord your God has given you. 14 Soon I will die, going the way of everything on earth. Deep in your hearts you know that every promise of the Lord your God has come true. Not a single one has failed! 15 But as surely as the Lord your God has given you the good things He promised, He will also bring disaster on you if you disobey Him. He will completely destroy you from this good land he has given you. 16 If you break the covenant of the Lord your God by worshiping and serving other gods, His anger will burn against you, and you will quickly vanish from the good land He has given you.” Joshua 23:6-16 (NLT).

Before dying, Joshua gathered the people of Israel together and gave them final words of encouragement and instructions to help them stay faithful and loyal to God. Joshua had faithfully and wholeheartedly served God. He personally eye witnessed Israel’s escape from Egyptian slavery, God’s parting of the Red Sea, and God’s deliverance of Israel into the Promise Land.  Moreover, Joshua was a talented leader and a great general, but he always gave the glory to God for his success. 

Now, Joshua gave the people his final words and the wisdom behind his success (Joshua 1:5-9). First, Joshua instructed the people to obey God’s Word first in their lives (Joshua 23:6). God desires our obedience to Him and His Word (see e.g., 1 Samuel 15:22; Proverbs 21:3; Isaiah 1:11-17; Jeremiah 7:22-23; Hosea 6:6; Micah 6:6-8; Mark 12:32-33). Joshua knew that God’s Word is faithful and God’s promises never fail (Joshua 23:14). Second, Joshua commanded the people to only worship the true and living God (Joshua 23:7-8). Third, Joshua directed the people not to worship, bow down, or love any other gods (Joshua 23:9-16) as this would compromise their complete loyalty and allegiance to the true and living God (Deuteronomy 5:26; Deuteronomy 6:4-9).

In essence, Joshua instructed the people to respect the Lord, to love Him wholeheartedly, and to willingly serve Him as God (see also Joshua 24:14-15). God is faithful and trustworthy.  Most important, God loves us and gave His Son, Jesus to save the world (Matthew 1:21-23; John 3:16; Romans 6:23). Joshua encouraged the people to keep trusting, obeying, and loving God. God would protect them against their enemies just as God had fought for the Israelites in the past (e.g., Joshua 10:11-14).  So, love God and trust in Him!

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God bless you! You are loved by God (Romans 5:5).