Saturday, October 22, 2011

Joshua 22-24 October 20, 2011

The boiling frog fable suggests that if you place a frog in hot water he will jump out. However if you slowly increase the temperature of the water the frog will not notice the subtle changes. The moral is that people should be aware of gradual changes in their lifestyles for fear that they eventually suffer undesirable consequences.
 Joshua no doubt is worried about leaving the Israelites, warning them against the slippery slope into idolatry and sin.
Joshua 22-24 Going Home
Have you experienced sending a child out into the World; college, marriage, or the working world? My daughter is still near; in fact she purchased the Belmont house. My mother had stroke over 6 years ago, so I built my retirement home in Cramerton to be close enough to help my dad care for her.
Now my son is another matter, Kurt left to pursue a career. He went all the way to Seattle, Washington. I visited him there and in Albuquerque, NM. He never stayed in any other place long enough to visit. FL, TN, AK, TX, CA, and now Michigan. I rarely get to see him and he doesn’t call very often. I try to avoid preaching to him because he was raised to love the LORD. But some words of wisdom seemed appropriate since he is in the World.  
Be careful to obey the Law, Do not associate with the wrong people; do not swear. Hold fast to the LORD your God, as you have been taught. Beware of the enemy.
 We all know who the enemy is! I still pray for my son that he will hold fast to the LORD and stay in God’s WORD before the World gets into him.
Ladies, Satan is alive and well in the United States and he wants your children.
 Can you believe we are finishing the Book of Joshua? I have really enjoyed this study. In the last 3 chapters Joshua delivers two important messages, 20 years apart.
I have titled my Lecture Going Home.
Please open your bibles to Chapter 22
Ø Eastern Tribes Go Home
Joshua gives the eastern tribe praise for a job well done.
22:  1 Then Joshua summoned the Reubenites, the Gadites and the half-tribe of Manasseh 2 and said to them, “You have done all that Moses the servant of the LORD commanded, and you have obeyed me in everything I commanded. 3 For a long time now—to this very day—you have not deserted your brothers but have carried out the mission the LORD your God gave you. (Remember the command in Joshua chapter 1). 4 Now that the LORD your God has given your brothers rest as he promised, return to your homes in the land that Moses the servant of the LORD gave you on the other side of the Jordan.
Joshua gave these 2 ½ tribes some words of wisdom and a caution.
5 But be very careful to keep the commandment and the law that Moses the servant of the LORD gave you: to love the LORD your God, to walk in all his ways, to obey his commands, to hold fast to him and to serve him with all your heart and all your soul.”
This is a scripture I could put on the walls of my home.
Deuteronomy 6:9  Write them on the doorframes of your houses and on your gates.  
It doesn’t take long for a misunderstanding to cause a rift between the tribes.
 10 And when they came unto the region about the Jordan, that is in the land of Canaan, the children of Reuben and the children of Gad and the half-tribe of Manasseh built there an altar by the Jordan, a great altar to look upon.
This altar was massive and could be seen afar off.
 12 And when the children of Israel heard of it, the whole congregation of the children of Israel gathered themselves together at Shiloh, to go up against them to war.
Phineas, son of Eleazer the priest, along with a leader from each of the 9 ½ tribes accuse…
The Eastern Tribes 16 How could you break faith with the God of Israel, turn away from the LORD and build an altar?
18 If you rebel against the LORD today, tomorrow he will be angry with the whole community of Israel.
19 They reminded their brothers of the sin of ACHAN and the punishment served on his entire family. The Eastern Tribes insistently answer…
22“The Mighty One, God, the LORD! The Mighty One, God, the LORD! He knows! And let Israel know! If this has been in rebellion or disobedience, may the LORD himself call us to account.
No, we just wanted to build a witness and memorial for our children’s sake. Unless in later years they might be accused of not having a part in the LORD’s inheritance.  
 29 “Far be it from us to rebel against the LORD and turn away from him today by building an altar for burnt offerings, grain offerings and sacrifices, other than the altar of the LORD our God that stands before his tabernacle.”  (Remember the golden calf)
Phineas and the other leaders were pleased with the reply, verse 31says “you have not acted unfaithfully toward the LORD in this matter.”

Christian sisters, sometimes misunderstandings happen between members of God’s family. Prejudging another person’s actions, jumping to conclusions and acting in haste; can destroy a friendship, split a church, or cause a war.
Proverbs 18:13  (AMP)He who answers a matter before he hears the facts--
                                                it is folly and shame to him.
John 7:14 Stop judging by mere appearances, and make a right judgment.”
Remember before you say it: THINK…
T--Is it true?
H--Is it helpful?
I--Is it inspiring?
N--Is it necessary?
K--Is it kind?
Ø Chapter 23  Before you go…

1-Joshua allotted all the land, but there were survivors remaining in the land.
The LORD gave very specific orders: Joshua give the tribe a stern warning. 
·        7 Do not associate with these nations that remain among you;
·        do not invoke the names of their gods or swear by them.
·        You must not serve them or bow down to them.
8 But you are to hold fast (cleave, cling) to the LORD your God, as you have until now. 
The KJV used cleave is used 50 times.  Strong’s dictionary defines the word as hold fast, abide, follow close, be joined, keep pursue hard, stick, take, cling.
The LORD God of Israel was a promise maker and a promise keeper. 14 Every promise has been fulfilled; not one has failed.
Critical thinking skills uses the IF…THEN statements.  If your play with fire; your will get burned.
Who knew God had taught this lesson years ago in His WORD specifically in Joshua 23:12-13
·        12 “But if you turn away
·        ally yourselves with the survivors that remain among you
·        if you intermarry with them and associate with them,
·        13 Then the LORD your God will no longer drive out these nations before you.
 Instead, they will become snares and traps  for you, whips on your backs and thorns in your eyes,
15 But just as every good promise of the LORD your God has come true, so the LORD will bring on you all the evil he has threatened.
Ladies, do we have to worry about the influence of friends, neighbors and coworkers?
Share an off-colored joke.  Join a friend for a drink. Visit a place of questionable reputation. I confess that after my divorce that I joined friends in such places. I remember feeling so dejected, unloved, and unattractive. I rationalized it: After all I was with the preacher’s daughter. Of course I only drank water with lemon and cherries. Ladies those places are dark for a reason.
Corinthians 6 14 Do not be yoked together with unbelievers. For what do righteousness and wickedness have in common? Or what fellowship can light have with darkness? 15 What does a believer have in common with an unbeliever?
Psalm 141:9 Keep me from the snares they have laid for me, from the traps set by evildoers.
1 Timothy 4:1 The Spirit clearly says that in later times some will abandon the faith and follow deceiving spirits and things taught by demons.
1 Peter 5:8 Be self-controlled and alert. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. The thief comes only to steal, kill, and destroy. John 10:10

Ø Joshua 24 Remembering our Past: We are Witnesses

 1 Then Joshua assembled all the tribes of Israel at Shechem. He summoned the elders, leaders, judges and officials of Israel, and they presented themselves before God.
Joshua recalled their history and list their forefathers from Terah, father of Abram, Isaac, Jacob, Joseph in Egypt, through Moses and Aaron,
 “This is what the LORD, the God of Israel, says:  Notice at all the verbs in this chapter!
Verse 3 I took your father Abraham and led him throughout Canaan and gave him many descendants.
6-  I brought your fathers out
7-  You saw with your own eyes what I did to the Egyptians.
8-  I gave Amorites into your hands
9- I destroyed them from before you, and you took possession of their land.
10- I delivered you from Balak, the king of Moab
11- I gave all the nations of Canaan into your hands.
12…You did not do it with your own sword and bow. 13 So I gave you a land on which you did not toil and cities you did not build; and you live in them and eat from vineyards and olive groves that you did not plant. 

Do you remember the little cars for children at the beach that run on rail? My children would sit in those electric cars, push the “gas” pedals and turn that steering wheel pretending that they are actually driving the car. All the time the rail beneath the car would keep them from going off track. Ah, those were that day!
I’m sure the children of Israel felt pretty secure after conquering the Promise Land, but through it all God had been in control.  
Have you even been puffed up with pride feeling you had accomplished some massive feat in your own strength? When I finished my National Board Certification, I was pretty cocky. Strutting around thinking I did it all by myself. True I didn’t get help from my county supervisors or teammate. But I didn’t get a perfect score in science on my own. God provided NCAA tutors, the natural resources and the inspiration for my subject. God continues to provide what I need!
 14 “Now fear the LORD and serve him with all faithfulness. Throw away the gods your forefathers worshiped beyond and serve the LORD. 15 then choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve. But as for me and my household, we will serve the LORD.”
 19… He is a holy God; he is a jealous God. He will not forgive your rebellion and your sins. 20 If you forsake the LORD and serve foreign gods, he will turn and bring disaster on you and make an end of you,
 22 Then Joshua said, “You are witnesses against yourselves that you have chosen to serve the LORD.”  Verses 14 and 23 indicate that there are still idols among the people Israel.
 25 On that day Joshua made a covenant for the people, at Shechem he drew up for them decrees and laws. 26 recorded these things in the Book of the Law of God. Then he took a large stone and set it up there under the oak near the holy place of the LORD.
 27 “See!” he said to all the people. “This stone will be a witness against us. It has heard all the words the LORD has said to us. It will be a witness against you if you are untrue to your God.”
Ø Joshua Going “Home” 3 Burials in the Promised Land
 28 Joshua 29 died at the age of 110 30 And they buried him in the land of his inheritance, at Timnath Serah.33 And Eleazar son of Aaron died and was buried at Gibeah

31 Israel served the LORD throughout the lifetime of Joshua and of the elders who outlived him and who had experienced everything the LORD had done for Israel.

 32 And Joseph’s bones, brought up from Egypt, were buried at Shechem- became the inheritance of Joseph’s descendants.
This is significant because Joseph believed the LORD and asked that his bones be taken to the Promise Land.

What would you say to your children if you knew you time was short? Would you tell them how God is your provider, He is the mighty God and you trust him to care for you to the end?
In order to share with our children not only do we have to know the Word of God but we also have to know the God of the Word and grow in our fellowship with Him.
Will you hold fast to the LORD so that your home going will be a celebration?
Closing PRAYER