Joshua 23 and 24 records Joshua’s final address/charge to the Israelites. He has led Israel into many battles, taking the land promised to them by God.
In 23:7 & 8 he says to refrain from serving other gods, but to hold fast to the LORD. This “hold fast” is like “cling.” Too often we walk the line of “how close can I walk to the edge without falling. The command is “stay close and cling to the Lord.” You won’t be in any danger of falling then. Don’t be the lamb wandering as close to the wolves as possible. Stay right by the shepherd.
In 23:10 Joshua shares the secret to their success in battle. One will put to flight a thousand of the enemy, for the Lord fights for us. This is His promise to us. You can stand on this promise.
So now we are to be diligent, and take heed to love the Lord. There’s a remnant of people in the land. If we love the Lord, then even that remnant will be driven out in like manner. But if we do not, if we join ourselves in marriage to those who are not children of the Lord, if we engage in their idolatry, then that remnant will become snares and traps. They will be whips on our sides, and thorns in our eyes. The end of a wrong relationship with them will be the perishing from this good land. It is difficult to see with thorns in our eyes, and without vision, the people perish.
Now Joshua is about 110 years old (maybe a little shy of this when he gives this charge), and says something that is echoed at the end of David’s life. “All the promises of God have been fulfilled, and not one has failed.” David said “In all my days, I have not seen the righteous forsaken, nor his children begging bread.” It is quite a thing to say at the end of a long life, that the Lord has done all He has promised. We can stand on these promises. More sure than we can trust in the sunrise, we can trust in His promises. He will drive the enemy from the land before us. One of us, with a right heart towards Him, will put a thousand to flight, for He fights for us.
The Creator of all we see, the Lord of Hosts, God of the Angel Armies, He fights for me. He will fight for you. What do we have to fear? Who can take you out of rest, when you rest in the Lord? The LORD gives you a land that is full of bounty, for which you did not have to labor. The unrighteous work day and night, toiling to amass wealth, power, influence. My God owns it all, and gives it to whom He pleases. We who have relationship with Him do not need to seek wealth. We do not need to seek influence. He gives these to us as He will. We can rest in Him, and enjoy the fruit of the vines we did not plant.
“So therefore”, the famous closing of Joshua, in his last public words, “choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve… But as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord… Put away the foreign gods which are among you, and incline your heart to the LORD God of Israel.” He then set up a memorial stone as a witness to the covenant the people made, that they will serve the Lord, and will obey His voice.
The time is now. This is the only time we have to act in. Right now, you must choose for yourself. No one can choose for you. In what direction will your family go? Will you serve the Lord? Will you serve others? Will you choose life, or will you choose death? My family and I have made that choice. We will continue to choose life.
This is my memorial stone.