But As For Me And My House, We Will Serve The Lord
Reprint from the July 2012 issue of The Evangelist
Joshua 24:1-20 – “And Joshua gathered all the Tribes of Israel to Shechem, and called for the Elders of Israel, and for their heads, and for their Judges, and for their Officers; and they presented themselves before God (at the Tabernacle, where the Altar and the Ark of the Covenant were).
“And Joshua said unto all the people, Thus says the LORD God of Israel, Your fathers dwelt on the other side of the flood in old time, even Terah, the father of Abraham, and the father of Nachor: and they served other gods. (When Grace found Abraham, he was an idolater. In fact, in one way or the other, all who do not know the Lord are guilty of the sin of idolatry. With many it is the worship of ‘self.’ Even in Christendom, idols are plentiful, although in a different form than during the time of Joshua. Many worship their churches, their denominations, etc.)
“And I took your father Abraham from the other side of the flood (the Euphrates River), and led him throughout all the land of Canaan, and multiplied his seed, and gave him Isaac (the Lord was the Author of all of these things, as it pertained to Abraham).
“And I gave unto Isaac Jacob and Esau: and I gave unto Esau Mount Seir, to possess it; but Jacob and his children went down into Egypt."
“I sent Moses also and Aaron, and I plagued Egypt, according to that which I did among them: and afterward I brought you out. (From this Chapter, we learn that Joshua stood in the Office of the Prophet. We find the proof of this in Verses 2 and 27. In fact, everything between these two Verses, and including those Verses, is prophetic.)
“And I brought your fathers out of Egypt: and you came unto the Sea; and the Egyptians pursued after your fathers with chariots and horsemen unto the Red Sea."
“And when they cried unto the LORD, He put darkness between you and the Egyptians, and brought the Sea upon them, and covered them; and your eyes have seen what I have done in Egypt: and you dwelt in the wilderness a long season. (It was the Will of the Lord that Israel would spend a short period of time in the wilderness, in order that they might learn faith and trust in Him. That time frame would have been approximately 2 years; however, they instead would spend approximately 40 years in the wilderness because of unbelief. It was truly ‘a long season.’)
“And I brought you into the land of the Amorites, which dwelt on the other side Jordan; and they fought with you: and I gave them into your hand, that you might possess their land; and I destroyed them from before you (as long as Israel served the Lord, the Lord fought for them).
“Then Balak the son of Zippor, king of Moab, arose and warred against Israel, and sent and called Balaam the son of Beor to curse you:
“But I would not hearken unto Balaam; therefore he blessed you still: so I delivered you out of his hand."
“And you went over Jordan, and came unto Jericho: and the men of Jericho fought against you, the Amorites, and the Perizzites, and the Canaanites, and the Hittites, and the Girga-shites, the Hivites, and the Jebusites; and I delivered them into your hand (seven nations strong, which were defeated by the Lord).
“And I sent the hornet before you, which drove them out from before you, even the two kings of the Amorites; but not with your sword, nor with your bow (the Lord used the lowly hornet to effect victory).
“And I have given you a land for which you did not labour, and cities which you built not, and you dwell in them; of the vineyards and oliveyards which you planted not do you eat."
“Now therefore fear the LORD, and serve Him in sincerity and in truth: and put away the gods which your fathers served on the other side of the flood, and in Egypt; and serve you the LORD.
“And if it seem evil unto you to serve the LORD, choose you this day whom you will serve; whether the gods which your fathers served who were on the other side of the flood, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land you dwell: but as for me and my house, we will serve the LORD (the warrior cannot answer for others, but he does answer for himself; and his answer should be the answer of every human being on Earth).
“And the people answered and said, God forbid that we should forsake the LORD, to serve other gods;
“For the LORD our God, He it is Who brought us up and our fathers out of the land of Egypt, from the house of bondage, and which did those great signs in our sight, and preserved us in all the way wherein we went, and among all the people through whom we passed:
“And the LORD drove out from before us all the people, even the Amorites which dwelt in the land: therefore will we also serve the LORD; for He is our God. (The people answered correctly; however, as the near future would prove, their hearts were not exactly according to their words.)
“And Joshua said unto the people, You cannot serve the LORD: for He is an Holy God; He is a jealous God; He will not forgive your transgressions nor your sins. (The idea is, the word ‘forgive,’ as used here, ‘signifies to remove or to bear the burden of guilt.’ In other words, God could not do such, if proper Atonement is not made, which is the proper Sacrifice, which is a Type of the Cross, and Faith in that Sacrifice. ‘Transgressions’ signifies ‘a breach of covenant.’ One can have Forgiveness, Mercy, and Grace only on the basis of the Crucified Christ, and Faith in that atoning Work [Jn. 3:16; Eph. 2:8-9].)
“If you forsake the LORD, and serve strange gods, then He will turn and do you hurt, and consume you, after that He has done you good (in all of this, God doesn’t change; He rewards obedience, and brings Judgment on disobedience).”
The Hebrew name “Joshua” is “Jesus” in the Greek. So, the Joshua who would lead the Children of Israel into the Promised Land was a prefigurement of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, Who leads the Child of God into the Spiritual Promised Land.
Many have thought that the Land of Promise was a type of Heaven; it is not. It is a physical type of the Spiritual Inheritance given to us in this great Christian walk. As there were Jebusites, Hivites, Canaanites, and others in the Land of Promise; in Heaven, there are no enemies of God or God’s People there.
As Joshua “took the land,” we too are to “take the land” as it regards our Spiritual Inheritance. Though there be many enemies that cannot be conquered in the natural, however, if we follow the Lord as Joshua followed the Lord, we will find these victories in our own lives. God has one Way of Victory and we must never veer from His Way, which is complete Faith in Christ and the Victory He won for us at Calvary.
We find in this Book that Joshua stood in the Office of the Prophet, we find the proof of that in Chapter 24, Verses 2 through 27.
JOSHUA’S FINAL ADDRESS
Chapter 24 is Joshua’s final address to the Children of Israel. In His final statement one sees that Joshua reminded the Children of Israel of the great victories God had won for them, beginning with Abraham’s Call, a Call of Grace that would bring him out of a pagan nation and through him would bring forth the Nation known as Israel. What a God we serve, a God of Grace and Mercy that though Abraham was an idol-worshipper, there was something in his heart that longed to know God, and Grace would save Abraham’s heart.
As Joshua reminded God’s People of all the past Miracles and great Works performed by God on their behalf, so too should we as Ministers remind the church of what Christ has done for us. We must continually keep before them God’s Mighty Acts and Miracles and constantly remind them that our Lord is “the same yesterday, today, and forever” (Heb. 13:8).
Sadly, Joshua knew that even as he spoke to them that the people were idolaters. The Twenty-third Verse of Joshua says, “Now therefore put away, said he, the strange gods which are among you. . .” They hid these false gods and idols in spite of them seeing the Lord do great and mighty things. An idol is anything that takes the place of God.
Today there are idols in the church just as it was then; idols, such as denominations, churches, religious rules, and activity. Some in the church even make idols out of preachers. It’s interesting to note that many in the church are more likely to defend a preacher before they defend the Lord and the Bible.
Anything in which the Believer places his faith other than Christ and Him Crucified and Resurrected constitutes an idol. Of course, they will deny this but in the Eyes of God that’s exactly what it is. The church world is by and large wrapped up into works, and good works, but too many begin to put their faith in their works and not Christ, even though they might not be aware of it, but it’s happening, and it’s an idol in God’s Eyes. Everything we do and everything we are must be founded on Christ and Him Crucified. If it’s not, then it’s “strange gods.”
Under Joshua, the people of Israel had tremendous leadership. The church needs leadership, and I’m not talking about religious hierarchy, but men and women who have been Called and Touched by the Hand of God, who have the anointing, and will stand up and proclaim “thus saith the Lord,” without fear or favor. We need today, more Joshuas, Isaiahs, Jeremiahs, Ezekiels, John the Baptists, and Pauls, Peters, James’, and Johns, who are not afraid of public opinion or political correctness. A nation and the church can rise only as high as its leadership.
“AS FOR ME AND MY HOUSE, WE WILL SERVE THE LORD”
Though there are 33 Verses in this final Chapter, Verse 15, in a sense, wraps up the entire Chapter.
The world and unfortunately much of the church pulls and tugs at the Christian in order that the Believer departs from God’s Way. God’s Way is the Bible and the Cross. We as the People of God must stand up to the world and proclaim that we are going to serve God no matter what Laws are passed, no matter how much fun they make of us and even persecute us. We must stand firm against the world and its many vices, and stand up for Holiness and Righteousness.
I can’t answer for anyone else, “But as for me and my house, we will serve the LORD.”
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