SCRIPTURE: Joshua 23:1-16
1. “After a long time had passed and the LORD had given Israel rest from all their enemies around them” – They are now experiencing a season of rest after many months of warfare, and after 40 years of wandering. This must have been “heavenly”.
2. “It was the LORD your God who fought for you” – Time can cause people to forget, so Joshua reminds them again of all that the Lord has done for them. This is important because their work is not done. Sometimes (like after a church building campaign), people can pull back and rest, and not get back into the game. There are still strongholds in the land that need to be addressed. The mission is not complete….
3. “Be very strong; be careful to obey all that is written in the Book of the Law of Moses, without turning aside to the right or to the left” – A call to renewed zeal and determination, to not let the fire go out, and to not compromise on the high and holy calling the Lord has for them.
4. “Do not associate with these nations that remain among you” – It is not that God does not care for the nations, in fact His desire is that the nations be blessed through Israel (Genesis 12:1-3). The problem is the nation of Israel is too fragile at this stage, and is at risk of being easily infected by the idolatry and immorality of the day. They need to be established in the Lord as a nation first, then the Lord will use them to be a light.
5. “They will become snares and traps for you” – This is in fact what happens. If we are not rooted in the Lord, we become infected by the world. This is a constant challenge for God’s people, to be in the world, but not of the world. Those who neglect their spiritual center put themselves at huge risk, and will eventually fall. How much time do I spend renewing myself in the Lord before I enter into day to day living?
6. “You know with all your heart and soul that not one of all the good promises the LORD your God gave you has failed. Every promise has been fulfilled; not one has failed” – If anything goes wrong, it will not be because God went back on His word, or failed to keep His end of the bargain (covenant).
7. “The LORD’s anger will burn against you” – Once again, God’s anger is not vengeful or vindictive, He is not subject to emotional rage. His anger is justified, and it is always shaped by, and the reslt of, His deep love. He is patient, but eventually He must allow us to experience the wages of our sin, if we turn against Him.
Lord, show me the snares and traps in my own life. Remind me daily to strengthen my spiritual center in You, so that I am armed and prepared for living in, but not of, the world. Amen.