— Elder Tim
Self-made decision (Chapter 9)
It did not take long for Joshua to make another blunder of not enquiring the Lord for making a decision that fundamentally is against what God told him to do. He thought that making peace with people far away was OK since they may not be living in the Promised Land. Making peace with the enemies may seem to be a good thing to do but not if they were supposed to be destroyed. They could have asked how far away did they come from and made sure that they were not in the region that God has promised to the Israelites.
Not sure why Joshua did not seek God for direction. Sometimes not unlike Joshua, we do things that we don’t even know why we do it. We are again reminded to seek God first before making major decisions.
Conquests going forward (Chapters 10-20)
Joshua seemed to have learned his lesson. After this before all the battle, he enquired on the Lord for instruction. The people of Israel had so much success that Joshua even asked God to hold the sun & moon in place for a day so the battle could be completed. After this, Israel enjoyed a long time of peace as they lived in the land allocated to each of the 12 tribes.
We need to remember always that we need to seek God for directions for everything we do. We may even ask God for supernatural help when we need it.
Honoring Levites (Chapter 21)
God commanded the through Moses that cities to the Levites for them to dwell in, along with their pasturelands for our livestock.” So by command of the Lord the people of Israel allotted to the Levites cities and pasturelands out of their inheritance.
Similarly we must not forget to take care of the physical needs of our pastors, evangelists and fitting coworkers of the church. We should not just take care of them with only the bare minimum. We need to make sure that they can live just as well as the people in general so that they could be relieved from the financial needs of the family and focus on God’s word and ministries. Not meeting the needs of God’s servants may end up with unwanted and unexpected dire consequences.
Alter of Witness (Chapter 22)
When the two and a half tribes who were to settle on the east side of Jordan returned back to their land after they have went to battle with all Israel on the west side, they erected an alter for their children might cease to worship the Lord. They built the altar, not for burnt offering, nor for sacrifice, but to be a witness between the both sides. When they did this, it was known to the tribes to the west side of Jordan, they got very upset with the tribes of the east side. They geared up to battle to fight with the east side tribes. Thankfully that after they heard the reasons for the east side tribes building the alter, they calmed down and said, “Today we know that the Lord is with us, because you have not been unfaithful to the Lord in this matter. Now you have rescued the Israelites from the Lord’s hand.” Peace was secured between everyone.
So many of us have a very bad habit of reacting too quickly without knowing all the facts, we must learn not to jump so quickly to conclusions without the full story. So many conflicts could have been avoided if we just made sure we had all the facts before we made the immature judgments. We should always seek out as much as we can before we come to faulty conclusions.
This alter of witness is another reminder for us that setting up memorials are great ideas that we should learn from.
Remain Very Strong in Good times (Chapter 23)
After a long time has passed, the Lord has given Israel rest from all their enemies around them. The encouragement from the old man Joshua was for them to be very strong; be careful to obey all that is written in the book of the Law of Moses. 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.
We need to be constantly reminded, especially in good times, to not forget God and obedience to Him.
Who shall we serve? (Chapter 24)
The book of Joshua ended with Joshua for the last time encouraged the people to fear the Lord and serve Him with all faithfulness. His final challenge to the people was for them to choose for themselves whom they will serve. But as for Joshua and his household they will serve the Lord.
This is the all critical summary challenge for all Christians, i.e. who will we choose to serve every day of our lives. If we say like Joshua that we will serve the Lord, we need to seriously ask ourselves if we have rid of all the foreign idols from our lives and serve God only. Are we still embracing things that hinder us to worship God alone?
The book of Joshua recorded the story of the challenges, struggles, successes, failures of how Israelites took possession of the Promised Land that God has promised them from the beginning of conquests to the last days of Joshua. There are so much we could learn from them, especially relative to how we can better live as Christians.
May the Lord richly bless us all with more profound knowledge of Him and deeper experience of His greatness in our lives!