W.I.S.H. – Weekly Insights for Spiritual Health 11-10-2021
Read: Joshua 23-24
Joshua is “old and well advanced in years” (23:2) as the book of Joshua draws to a close. He is prepared to “go the way of all the earth” (23:14). No one in the Bible is as true to character and to his understanding of God’s word as Joshua. The name “Joshua” is actually the English rendering of the Hebrew name “Yeshua”, which means “Yahweh saves”; in the Greek speaking era of the New Testament the Greek rendering of “Joshua” is “Jesus”. So the name of the person who is most faithful to God and God’s word in the Old Testament has the same name as the person in the New Testament who is the most faithful to God and God’s word.
In a final act of leadership Joshua calls the tribes together and prepares them for the next stage of God’s people in the promised land. He recounts the promises of God and notes that God has kept every one of those promises (23:14). Joshua recaps the story of the covenant, all the way back to Abraham and Sarah, and all the way forward to their present day. Like Moses before him, Joshua sets forth a challenge to reaffirm and to keep the covenant with God. Just as Moses had challenged them to “choose this day” a path of life or death (Dt. 30:15), so Joshua challenges them to “choose this day whom you will serve” (24:15).
Joshua warns them, like Moses did, that if the people fail to keep the covenant, God’s judgement would be against them. The concern is corruption – that God’s people will tainted by the practices or beliefs of the pagans still living in the land. The people are clear about their choices (Joshua 24:16-18, v. 21, v. 24) “Far be it from us to forsake the Lord and serve other gods…” which of course is exactly what happens. The irony is built into the story to be told generation after generation.
That’s a pattern in the story of God’s people. God delivers them, blesses them, warns them to keep the faith, and they prosper. In prosperity they stray from faithfulness to God, which results in needed reform, crisis, disaster, and for God’s deliverance. That’s a pattern of human nature afflicted with sin. How do we break the pattern in our lives? We remember God’s acts of salvation, we recount God’s promises, we monitor our spiritual health, we reform and repent when in error, and we admit we need a savior. Yeshua, Joshua, Jesus – because “God Saves”.
Pastor Rob Nystrom