Monday, March 17, 2014

Joshua 22-24 Warning against idolatry

From Joshua 22-24

Josh 22.1-9; Story; The Eastern Tribes Return Home
Josh 22.10-34; Story; The Eastern Tribes’ Altar of Witness causes a stir
Josh 23.1-16; Instruction; Joshua’s Charge to Israel’s Leaders. The LORD is faithful, do all his commands
Josh 24.1-13; Story; The Covenant Renewal at Shechem
Josh 24.14-28; Story; The people of Israel is to choose whom they will serve
Josh 24.29-33; Story; Joshua’s Death and Burial
Passage and comments
The LORD has brought them into the promised land. The allotments have been dealt out. Land is still to be conquered. Joshua about to die. These are his remaining assurances and instructions.
14 “And now I am about to go the way of all the earth, and you know in your hearts and souls, all of you, that not one word has failed of all the good things that the Lord your God promised concerning you. All have come to pass for you; not one of them has failed. 15 But just as all the good things that the Lord your God promised concerning you have been fulfilled for you, so the Lord will bring upon you all the evil things, until he has destroyed you from off this good land that the Lord your God has given you, 16 if you transgress the covenant of the Lord your God, which he commanded you, and go and serve other gods and bow down to them. Then the anger of the Lord will be kindled against you, and you shall perish quickly from off the good land that he has given to you.” (Josh 23.14-16)
The covenant that includes the promises of God also includes curses. Just as the LORD is righteous and is  faithful to his promises so to will he bring down the curses on Israel if she is unfaithful. Now that Israel has entered Joshua gives a strong warning to persevere resisting sin. He particularly warns them against idolatry.
Story of Israel
If we know in advance Israel’s history we know she does not remain faithful. In fact, despite some people, her history is marked by grumbling and idolatry. After a long tortured period, Israel was judged and punished. The LORD made good on his promise to curse Israel if she was disobedient. As Nehemiah recalls;


6 “You are the Lord, you alone. You have made heaven, the heaven of heavens, with all their host, the earth and all that is on it, the seas and all that is in them; hand you preserve all of them; and the host of heaven worships you. 7 You are the Lord, the God who chose Abram and brought him out of Ur of the Chaldeans and gave him the name Abraham. 8 You found his heart faithful before you, mand made with him the covenant to give to his offspring the land of the Canaanite, the Hittite, the Amorite, the Perizzite, the Jebusite, and the Girgashite. And you have kept your promise, for you are righteous. (Neh 9.6-8)


22 “And you gave them kingdoms and peoples and allotted to them every corner. So they took possession of the land of Sihon king of Heshbon and the land of Og king of Bashan. 23 You multiplied their children qas the stars of heaven, and you brought them into the land that you had told their fathers to enter and possess. 24 So the descendants went in and possessed the land, sand you subdued before them the inhabitants of the land, the Canaanites, and gave them into their hand, with their kings and the peoples of the land, that they might do with them as they would. 25 And they captured fortified cities and a rich land, and took possession of houses full of all good things, cisterns already hewn, vineyards, olive orchards and fruit trees in abundance. So they ate and were filled wand became fat and delighted themselves in your great goodness. (Neh 9.22-25)


26 “Nevertheless, they were disobedient and rebelled against you and cast your law behind their back and killed your prophets, who had warned them in order to turn them back to you, cand they committed great blasphemies. (Neh 9.26)
Story of Jesus
After Jesus died and rose again. Paul one of his early followers looked back at the history of Israel and suggested we learn from it.
6 Now these things took place as examples for us, that we might not desire evil as they did. Do not be idolaters as some of them were; as it is written, “The people sat down to eat and drink and rose up to play.” We must not indulge in sexual immorality as some of them did, and twenty-three thousand fell in a single day. We must not put Christ to the test, as some of them did and were destroyed by serpents, nor grumble, as some of them did and were destroyed by the Destroyer. Now these things happened to them as an example, but they were written down for our instruction, on whom the end of the ages has come. 11 Now these things happened to them as an example, but they were written down for our instruction, on whom the end of the ages has come. 12 Therefore let anyone who thinks that he stands take heed lest he fall. 13 No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man. God is faithful, and he will not let you be tempted beyond your ability, but with the temptation he will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it. 14 Therefore, my beloved, flee from idolatry (1 Cor 11.6-14)