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26 May 2020 – Joshua 23:1-8

After a long time had passed and the LORD had given Israel rest from all their enemies around them, Joshua, by then a very old man, summoned all Israel—their elders, leaders, judges and officials—and said to them: “I am very old. You yourselves have seen everything the LORD your God has done to all these nations for your sake; it was the LORD your God who fought for you. Remember how I have allotted as an inheritance for your tribes all the land of the nations that remain—the nations I conquered—between the Jordan and the Mediterranean Sea in the west. The LORD your God himself will push them out for your sake. He will drive them out before you, and you will take possession of their land, as the LORD your God promised you. “Be very strong; be careful to obey all that is written in the Book of the Law of Moses, without turning aside to the right or to the left. 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. But you are to hold fast to the LORD your God, as you have until now. – Joshua 23:1-8

Adolph Harstad writes:

At the start of his speech, Joshua credits the LORD for all of Israel’s victories: “You yourselves saw all that the LORD your God did to all these nations from before you. Yes, the LORD your God, He was warring for you!” The nation experienced His miraculous power when the hearts of the Canaanites melted; when He stopped the waters of the Jordan, so His people could cross on dry land; when He toppled the walls of Jericho; as the Israelites advanced into the heart of the land when the sun stood still; and during the southern and northern campaigns. Israel’s success everywhere was the LORD’s success for His people. The Israelites know this well. Yet the fact needs to be repeated and impressed upon the hearts of God’s people so that loyalty to the LORD will flow from their hearts. His people can show faithfulness and love toward their LORD only after they are first filled with His love and moved to faithfulness toward Him. …

The past acts of the LORD to defeat His enemies, who are also Israel’s enemies, furnish confidence for Israel’s future. Joshua impresses that God’s covenant faithfulness and promises will continue for their benefit: “The LORD your God, He will push them away from before you and He will drive out them from before you.” Much work remains if Israel is to take full possession and hold on to the land. But in the future also the LORD will fulfill His ancient promises and deliver new blessings. He will never leave nor forsake His people. It may be the end of an era for Israel with Joshua about the enter His eternal rest. His departure, however, will not mean the end of covenant blessings for Israel. In addition to knowing that past promises have been fulfilled, knowing that the LORD will continue to do now and in the future instills continuing love and loyalty. He is our God, our help in ages past, our hope for years to come. The Psalm of Moses, which expresses that same truth, is already now in the possession of Israel as Joshua speaks.

MEMORY WORK – Shorter Catechism Q/A 62
Q. 62. What are the reasons annexed to the fourth commandment?
A. The reasons annexed to the fourth commandment are, God’s allowing us six days of the week for our own employments, his challenging a special propriety in the seventh, his own example, and his blessing the sabbath day.