Verse 15 – This verse holds two very famous quotes: “…chose you this day whom you will serve…” “But as for me and my house we will serve the Lord.” The choice is yours (ours). Will you be led by the Spirit? The way we choose to live our lives will show others to whom we serve.
Verses 16-18, 21 – All the people boldly claimed that they would never forsake the Lord but, they didn’t keep that promise. That old saying, “Talk is cheap,” will come to pass soon enough. It’s easy to say we will follow God without compromise, but it’s much more important to live like it. Yet the people of Israel followed God throughout Joshua’s lifetime, which was a great tribute to Joshua’s faith in God and powerful leadership.
Verse 23 – To follow God requires destroying and putting away, completely out of your life anything that gets in the way of hindering your worship of God. Just to mention a few: greed, wrong priorities, jealousy, and prejudices.
Verses 24-26 – The purpose of the covenant between Israel and God was for Israel to become a holy nation that would influence the rest of the world for God. The conquest of Canaan was a means to accomplish that purpose, but Israel became preoccupied with the land and forgot about the Lord God. Does this sound familiar? Our purpose cannot be the facility we worship in or the stuff (things ) God has blessed us with. Our purpose has to always be, bringing people to Christ.
Verses 29-31 – The response of the whole nation during these years is a tribute to both Joshua’s leadership and to the God he faithfully served.
Verse 33 – Joshua and Eleazar (Aaron’s son) had died but not before laying before the people, the fundamentals of what it means to have faith in God. This covenant requires us to renounce the principles and practices of the culture around us that are hostile to Gods plan. This is to be done by binding ourselves together with others who have faith in God. There is power in numbers.
Verses 6-13 – Joshua knew the weak spots of the people. Before dying, he called the people together and gave commands to help them where they were most likely to slip. Whom we associate with and the relationships we have can also attempt to tempt us in our weak spots. Joshua’s entire instruction can be summarized in verse 8; “Hold fast to the Lord your God!” Joshua had been a living example of those words, and he wanted that to be his legacy. What will your legacy be to those you leave after you’re gone?
Verse s 12-16 – This chilling prediction about the consequences of intermarriage with the Canaanite nations eventually became a reality. The Book of Judges shows story after story of how Israel suffered because they did not follow God wholeheartedly. Our God was patient with Israel just as He is today with us as believers. However, let’s not confuse His patience with approval. Beware of desiring to have things your own way. You may just get it and have to suffer the consequences.
Joshua Challenges the Eastern Tribes
Verses 2-4 – In Numbers 32:20-22, these tribes were given the land on the east side of the Jordan. Before they settled down though they had to promise to help the other tribes to conquer the land on the west side of the Jordan. They did this. Now they were permitted to return to their families and build their city. Beware of the temptation to quit too early and leave God’s work undone.
Verse 5 – Joshua briefly restated the central message Moses gave the people in Deuteronomy. Obedience should be based on our love for God. If we know who we are in Christ, we will joyfully love and serve Him. Don’t let anything take your love away that you have developed for your Father.
Verses 11-34 – When the tribes of Reuben and Gad and the half-tribe of Manasseh built an altar, the rest of Israel feared that these tribes were setting up their own religion against God. When Phinehas discovered the truth, only setting up a memorial rather than the pagan sacrifice, war was averted. We should too as Christians hear the whole story before reacting.
Verse 17 – For the story of how Israel turned away from God and began to worship Baal at Peor, see Numbers 25:1-18.
Verse 20 – For the story of Achan, a man who allowed greed to get the best of him, see chapter 7 of Joshua.
Verses 26-28 – This altar patterned after the altar of the Lord, was to remind the people that they all worshiped the same God.
Verses 2, 3 – The Levites were to minister before God on behalf of all the people so they were given cities scattered throughout the land. Although Jerusalem was far away from the homes of many Israelites almost no one lived more than a day’s journey away.
Verses 43-45 – God is faithful in fulfilling every promise. God’s promises will be fulfilled according to His timetable, not ours, but we know His Word is sure. The more we learn of His promises to His children, the easier it is to hope for those yet to come. We have to learn to be patient and wait on our future.
Verses 2-6 – There had to be a city of refuge that God had commanded Moses to set up when they entered the promise land. These cities were to be scattered throughout the land. Their purpose was to prevent injustice, especially in case of revenge. The Levites were in charge of these cities. They were to ensure that God’s principles of justice and fairness were kept.
Verses 47, 48 – The tribe of Dan found that some of their land was difficult to conquer, so they chose to migrate to Leshem where they knew victory would be easier. It’s easy to trust God when the going is easy, but when it gets tough and things look impossible, then our faith in God is put to the test. Have faith in God that He’s great enough to deliver you in any situation.
Verse 49 – Why was the land divided among the tribes? (1) Boundaries gave each tribe ownership of an area promoting loyalty and unity that would strengthen each tribe. (2) The boundaries reduced conflicts that might have broken out if everyone had wanted to live in the choicest areas. (3) The boundaries fulfilled the promised inheritance to each tribe that began to be given as early as the days of Jacob (Genesis 48:21, 22).
With most of the land conquered behind them, Israel moved their religious center from Gilgal to Shiloh. The tent of meeting was part of the tabernacle and was where God lived among His people (Exodus 25:8).
The family of Samuel, a great priest and prophet, often traveled to Shiloh, and Samuel was taken there when he was a small boy (1 Samuel 1:3, 22). The tabernacle remained in Shiloh about 300 years.
Verse 2 – Seven of the tribes of Israel had not been assigned their land yet. They gathered at Shiloh and Joshua cast lots to determine which areas would be given to them. God would make the choice, not Joshua or any other man. By this time, the Canaanites were in most places. They were weakened and were no longer a threat.
Verses 3-6 – Joshua asked the people why they were putting off possessing the land. Why do we put off doing tasks that we know are according to the purpose God has given us? Sometimes we think the task is too difficult or boring or maybe because we can’t see the end result. We just don’t do it. But, continuing to not do it shows a lack of discipline and in some cases out right disobedience. Procrastination is not our friend.
Verse 8 – The Urim and Thummim (Leviticus 8:8) may have been used. No matter what process Joshua used, this process removed human choice from the decision – making process and allowed God to match tribes and land as He saw fit.
Verse 11 – The tribe of Benjamin was given a narrow strip of land that served as a buffer zone between Judah and Ephraim, the two tribes that would later dominate the land.
Verse 16 – The valley of Ben Hinnom became associated with the worship of Molech (the Ammonite god) in Jeremiah’s time. These rites involved the sacrifice of children. Later the valley was used for burning garbage and the corpses of criminals and animals. Thus, the name became a synonym for hell.
Verses 3, 4 – Women did not traditionally inherit property in Israelite society, but Moses put what was the right thing to do over tradition (Numbers 27:1-11). In fact, God told Moses to add a law that would help other women in similar circumstances inherit property as well. This rings true in so many situations today; people refuse to honor a reasonable request because “we have never done it that way before.” However, Joshua honored what Moses had written.
Verses 14, 15 – Caleb took what God gave him and moved ahead with fulfilling that purpose in the land (verses 14:12). He was confident God would help him drive the inhabitants out. In contrast, the two tribes of Joseph were given rich land and lots of it, but yet were afraid of the inhabitants that they needed to drive out, instead they simply asked for more land. However, Joshua asked them to prove their sincerity first by clearing the unclaimed forest areas. They agreed, but failed to carry through what was required of them (judges 1:27).