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Joshua: Day 19

Joshua’s Farewell Address

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Today's Text: Joshua 23:1-16, Joshua 24:1-33, Matthew 11:28-30, Hebrews 4:1-13

Text: Joshua 23:1-16, Joshua 24:1-33, Matthew 11:28-30, Hebrews 4:1-13

Even the greatest leaders die. As Joshua prepared for the end of his life, he addressed Israel—those people of God who had followed him through impossible circumstances to an improbable reward.

“I am now going the way of all the earth, and you know with all your heart and all your soul that none of the good promises the Lord your God made to you has failed. Everything was fulfilled for you; not one promise has failed.”
- Joshua 23:14

It was time for Joshua to go. In keeping with his steady voice as their leader, Joshua’s farewell address was a plea for Israel to do three things: Remember what God has done. Obey Him courageously and completely. Worship Him alone.

I like to picture the scene as Joshua stood there in front of the tribes, relaying one last message from the Lord. I like to imagine the passion in his voice as he recounted their treacherous journey—how God rescued His people from generations of idol worship and multiplied their descendants, how He rescued them from slavery in Egypt and sustained them in the wilderness, and how He ushered them into the promised land, handing them every victory along the way. This line is my favorite:

“I gave you a land you did not labor for, and cities you did not build, though you live in them; you are eating from vineyards and olive groves you did not plant.”
- Joshua 24:13

The Lord did it all. And Joshua, with all the earnestness his 110 years could muster, was asking Israel to remember, to obey, and to worship the God of the Rescue.

This was not a call for arbitrary emotion or passive intention. This request was active and specific. Joshua gave the people instructions specific to their time and circumstance, but his admonition echoes even to us: “You are witnesses against yourselves that you yourselves have chosen to worship Yahweh” (Joshua 24:22). In other words, Don’t just say this. Mean it. Do it.

“We are witnesses,” they said back to him.

“Then get rid of the foreign gods that are among you and offer your hearts to the Lord, the God of Israel” (v. 23).

I like Joshua’s style: “Okay then. Get on with it.”

Joshua was a good leader. But even he did not perfectly fulfill the promises he solicited from the people. Even Joshua was a sinner in need of a savior. He was used by the Lord to secure a tangible inheritance for his people. But, like Joshua himself, that inheritance was only temporary. The rest from war would not last.

Not even Joshua could bring God’s people salvation.

Joshua couldn’t, but Jesus did.

Jesus obeyed perfectly and followed the Father faithfully. And when we did not and could not? Jesus satisfied God’s wrath for our sin and granted us the eternal benefit of His perfect obedience (Romans 3:25-26). Jesus has gone ahead of us into the very death that was ours and conquered it on our behalf (2 Timothy 1:10). Christ secured for us an inheritance that is eternal, a rest that will last (Hebrews 4:9).

Here in the last chapters of Joshua, as we look back over the epic story of what God did for His people, we lean in and listen to the wise old man’s words: Remember what God has done. Obey Him courageously and completely. Worship Him alone.

Be faithful to the God of the Rescue. And when your faithfulness fails, lean wholly on the grace of Christ.

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  • “Remember what God has done. Obey Him courageously and completely. Worship Him alone.”

    “Be faithful to the God of the Rescue. And when your faithfulness fails, lean wholly on the grace of Christ.”

    Love this! It is so true that we typically start following Christ with a right and sincere heart. But the battle with our sinful nature is a real thing. We are going to have times where we get tripped up and fail him. BUT we have the amazing grace (unmerited favor) of God to cling to when we do to help make us right with God again! That’s more than amazing. That’s crazy grace! Thank you Father that you love us like you do!

  • “…the God of the rescue…” LOVE IT!!

  • What an amazing journey through the book of Joshua that was…through it all, God provided! Thank you She Reads Truth, for providing such a great study for us to grow deeper in our relationships with our heavenly papa! God is Good!

  • Keri McCue

    Remembering what God has already done in your life is so vital! So many times I get discouraged but then I remember how He has come through for me before and that He IS in control. When we feel discouraged and broken, we can always be reassured by His unwavering loyalty and protection!

    http://www.littlelightonahill.com

  • churchmouse

    Adding my prayers for healing, physically and emotionally.

  • Hey all, can you please pray for me? I have been sick the past couple of days with a fever that has been going up and down. Just that it will go away soon and be able to catch up in my devo reading for today! And that I would be able to catch up on my work as best as possible. Thanks so much, love you all!!

    • She Reads Truth

      Sarah, I’m so sorry you aren’t well. Praying for you, friend.

      xoxo-Kaitlin

      • Skigranny1

        I am praying as well. I know some of you have prayed for me in my trip to Laos. Prayers are greatly appreciated and I know the Lord is responding. The prayers of His children are heard and answered. Pray your fever leaves and you can rest and relax in Him. This study has been awesome. Great is His faithfulness!

  • Ladies- please pray for me. My husband and I are pursuing ministry – he is preparing for ordination and working at a church in our neighborhood. I work in a nonprofit that helps empower disconnected young people to pursue professional careers – those who may not have access to traditional pathways to employment. We both feel God’s grace present in our lives, and love our community and the opportunity to work out God’s grace here.

    This summer we experienced a trauma with the birth of our beautiful first baby – I experienced a severe tear that still hasn’t healed. I had a botched repair after delivery, wound broke down further and had to have two subsequent surgeries. I am afraid I will have issues with incontinence ahead in my future that will preoccupy me and keep me from fully being present in the ministry and life God has called us to. I am trying to be faithful and trust Gods provision but it can be hard to come to grips with my new reality – feeling pain, unable to run, uncertain of when I can have sex again. I don’t want this to keep me from the life I know God is calling us to lead in community in our city, and I know it only will if I let it. BUt yet sometimes I also feel mad at God – why would he have allowed this to happen? We prepared for our birth and were in the best hospital. How could this have been our outcome?

    I trust he will use it for our good, as he has been faithful before, but this is such a scary and hard thing.

    As I wait to heal, I struggle and can be tempted to read message boards of other women who have experienced similar severe tears – some of them are very hardened, and reading some of the horror stories has a bad effect on my mood. I want to fill my mind with positive things and stories of God’s love, provision and grace. I don’t talk with a lot of people in my life about what happened as I am a bit protective. And I know that sharing my struggles with my husband and family can weigh on them. Could I ask for your prayers today? It strengthens me to know that women out there understand, and can encourage me and lift me up in prayer. And that you trust God’s faithfulness even in the midst of suffering and that this does not have to be a tragedy but that it really truly could be something that God redeems for his glory. Thanks

    • Maura

      I will be praying!! Trust and lean, He is blessing you in many ways and your pain and this hard time will not be your focus as you give to him, Jesus will lift you up. He loves you dear lady!!

    • Theresa

      Praying for you, your husband, your family and your work. May God surround you with His peace and healing and guide you through all of this. Amen.

    • Margaret

      Praying for you. I have been there. I had a severe tear during childbirth that left me with a fistula. I had surgery and it is 99% healed (my daughter is now 9). I know well the discomfort, worry and embarrassment that can come from not having control over this important part of your body. As hard as it is to not have immediate answers about the “why”, God is in control all the time and uses our suffering for good. I try to focus on the light at the end of the tunnel, knowing that sometimes we can’t even see the light, but we keep traveling through the tunnel, trusting that it is there. And we know He is there. God bless you and your family.

      • Erin

        Thank you Margaret and all! Margaret do you experience any pain or discomfort today from your tear? How long did healing take?

        • Margaret

          Erin, I’m sorry for the delay in responding! No pain at all now. Just occasionally some gas passes “through the wrong door”. On the timeline, my daughter was born in August, I had surgery in May, and by mid-summer I was in pretty good shape, except for the gas issue.

          To the site administrator – is there a private way Erin and I can get in touch to talk more? If you want to, Erin. :)

    • Marina

      Praying for you, Erin!

    • Caroline

      bless your heart, Erin! I will be praying for you. though I did not have a severe tear, I did have similar issues related to my pregnancy. the biggest blessing for me has been a PT who specializes in the pelvic floor. she has worked miracles. for me, it was just as much retraining my mind as my body. love and prayers to you.

    • Nat

      Bless you, I had a two traumatic births, not resulting in tears but in emergency c-sections. My youngest is 2.5 years and I am only just starting to get past being mad with God. Until the end of Sept I had bearly opened my bible in over 3 years, so great was my anger over the first birth. I pray you will clings to God in this time and not shut him out, I know now that I have returned to him just how much I have needed him in that time and have been hurting myself by closing my heart. I am so grateful for this site and for the people who comment, who have helpe me to reconnect with God.

      I pray for fast healing, for successful healing and that your relationship with your husband remains close through this period.
      With much love xx

    • Skigranny1

      I am in complete agreement with all of these prayers. I can only imagine how frustrating this can be and how it seems there is no way you can move forward with your plans. But God is bigger than all of this and He can make His plan work no matter what the enemy may throw out there. Keep your eyes up and on Him. Also praying for wisdom for doctors around you and that God will do something more than you ever hoped or imagined.

    • Armanda

      I am praying for you Erin. Even though things are so difficult for you right now remember He never will lose His grip on you. You can trust Him and know that He’s using this for your good and His glory.

  • Remembering, again, it was God who rescued and preserved us. Continuing the journey to obey Him courageously and completely; also asking forgiveness whenever we recognize failure, even as we don’t recognize failure. Simply choosing everyday to serve and obey the Lord.

    Thank you SRT for another in-depth study in God’s word.
    Thank you SRT community for your thoughts, and prayers.
    Looking forward to our next studies.

  • I love the depth of scripture your writers venture into. It is truly refreshing to dig into the word of God, and be led to do so by yall! Thank you! – Your sis

  • Oh how often I feel like I fall so short on the “Mean it. Do it.” part. But praise Jesus for his faithfulness and grace each day!

  • I love how God took Joshua from “Joshua, son of Nun, Moses’s assistant”(ch 1: 1), to “Joshua, son of Nun, the servant of the Lord” (ch 24:29).

    Thank you, Father, for molding us always into the people you desire us to be. Would we be continually open to your love, correction and guidance!

    • cj8of8

      Wow.. good catch! He is so so faithful to finish what He starts. . Amazing. Praise you Jesus!

    • Betsy P.

      Oh, I love this!!! What a beautiful image of the transformation that the Lord can accomplish through a life and heart surrendered to Him.

  • Plant a tree or smaller perennials in your yard as remembrances to what God has done for you. I have planted bleeding hearts in my yard. Each of the three was there reminding me of God’s faithfulness to me in times of trouble. Share your story with your children and be reminded of God’s goodness each time you are outside in your yard!

    • Heather (MNmomma)

      I absolutely love this!

    • Betsy P.

      I love this too! Through the book of Joshua, I’ve been reminded that I am more forgetful than I care to admit. I know that I could absolutely use physical, tangible reminders of God’s faithfulness in my life :)

  • Oh I love how Joshua captured what we should do! I’m starting to brew on some ideas of how I can visually remember what God has done in my life (I have a gratitude journal but would like to do more). Anyone have things they do/have done to share?

    • Cristy

      Journaling, yes, and I also will note it in my Bible sometimes – by the scripture that pertains to what happened. I am more likely to come back to it, then my journals.

    • Betsy P.

      I’ve been thinking on this, too. One of my favorite “stones of remembrance” that I’ve had since I was a little girl is a small, clear, heart-shaped necklace that contains one mustard seed inside of it. On days when I find my faith or strength waning, it is a visual reminder that Christ’s power is perfected in my weakness.

      I love keeping journals, too.

    • mixmemeg

      We have an “altar” in our home. It is a simple, large, glass, see-through vase. And beside it we have a basket of ordinary rocks/stones. Anytime God shows up, or we are thankful for something He has done or brought us through, we take a stone and write on it with a sharpie. Making sure to include the date. Then we place this stone in the vase. Over time the vase is getting full, and we have a visual of the faithfulness of God. We’ve taught our kids to do this too…I love the practical way of practicing remembrance!

    • Naomi

      A few Sundays ago a visiting missionary shared that he and his family have a “blessing jar.” Every time they receive a blessing or an answer to prayer they write it down on a piece of paper and put it in the jar. Then on New Year’s Eve they gather together as a family and read all of the blessings in the jar.

  • I love this reminder “This was not a call for arbitrary emotion or passive intention. This request was active and specific. Joshua gave the people instructions specific to their time and circumstance, but his admonition echoes even to us: “You are witnesses against yourselves that you yourselves have chosen to worship Yahweh” (Joshua 24:22). In other words, Don’t just say this. Mean it. Do it.”!!! We have to be accountable to each other and to our God. We are in this life together people and we have to lovingly keep each other on track to worship Yahweh and only Him. He is our provision, our protector, our savior. We must stay true to him. Help us Lord. We cannot do this without you. Thank you SRT for reminding us of this truth.

  • I have loved this study, thank you!!

  • churchmouse

    Every prayer that begins with the word “Help!” is a plea to the God of the Rescue. Every day it seems as though I need rescuing from something : a bad attitude, a poor decision, harsh words, unkind actions. Rather than sink into a pit of despair that I am so very needy, may I “remember what God has done. Obey Him courageously and completely. Worship Him alone.” Praise God that every day He does not give up on me. He still reaches forth His hand for me to grasp firm.

    • Cecelia

      Amen, Churchmouse. I have been thinking on these things in the trenches of parenting. It’s been a rough while, I start out alright and yet I often end up feeling like a parenting fail. The enemy whispers that now I’ve done it, God won’t be able to redeem this, you’ve gone too far. Or you can’t worship! you’re a mess.
      But God. He redeems. He loves and even before I ‘failed’ he KNEW that’s how it would go down and he provides grace and mercy through the blood of his precious son. When I feel like I ‘can’t’ worship is exactly when I must. God is faithful no matter my good days or my bad days. Being needy is a good place to be with God. He is faithful to fill us up. He’ll never leave us thirsty.

  • God’s words is alive and active!

  • What an epic way for Joshua to end his time with the people He shepard. He allowed himself to be used by God in a big way. I pray this for my boys. His call to his people to remember the Lord is a call for us too, to this day. God help me to remember all you have done!

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