March 30, 2023
Today we conclude our reading in Joshua with chapters 22 to 24. In those chapters we read about the eastern tribes of Reuben, Gad and one half the tribe of Manasseh. In addition we read of their return home and the death of another great leader in Joshua.
Chapter 22 –
With the land acquired Joshua sent the tribes of Reuben, Gad, and half the tribe of Manasseh back home. They had crossed the Jordan and helped their brothers take the land that the Lord had promised them. Joshua blessed them and sent them on their way. But he also challenged them to faithfully follow the law.
When they arrived back across the Jordan, they built a massive altar but when the rest of Israel heard about it they were upset. They were concerned the only proper palce to worship was Shiloh and they feared they would suffer if the these two and one half tribes served other gods. The entire community formed together to go to war against them.
When the tribes on the east side of the Jordan heard these accusations they cried out, The Mighty On, God, the Lord! The Mighty One, God, the Lord! The repetition of three different Hebrew names for God was a away of making an extreme oath. After the explanation, the delegation of tribes from the west breathed a sigh of relief and returned satisfied with what they had been told.
Two things we learn here: do not act in a hasty manner, and the second is take a stand. Although we do not want to be hasty we should stand for what is right.
Chapter 23 –
The next two chapters address Joshua’s farewell address to the people. Many years had passed since god had given the land to Israel.
Joshua was now an old man and he tells them all God has done for them much as Moses did but there is more history that has taken place. He said, It was the Lord your God who was fighting for you.
He tells them that it was the Lord who delivered them by driving out powerful nations before you. He then warns the about intermarriage. There is no biblical prohibition about marrying someone of another race but there is about marrying one of a different religion.
Chapter 24 –
Chapter 24 continues Joshua’s farewell address. He makes a series of statements and the people respond.
I gave you a land that you did not labor for God reminded them all they had they had built homes, planted vineyards, they were given to them.
Fear the Lord and worship Him in sincerity and truth. Take Him seriously.
Choose for yourselves today; Which will you worship? As for me and my household, we will worship the Lord.
The people responded to Joshua by saying No! We will worship the Lord.