Joshua: The Final Days
Chapter 13:1: Joshua was old and advanced in years and the Lord said, "There is still much land to be possessed." It's a sad thing that there were no other leaders in Israel to take over from Joshua. In Christendom today also, godly men are dying and so much land is yet to be possessed.
In Chapter 14:6-15, we see that although Caleb is now 85 years old, his faith is still as vibrant as it was 40 years earlier. He asks Joshua to give him a hilly country filled with huge giants and he says that he will drive them all out. So Joshua gave Hebron to Caleb. What a challenge and an encouragement it is to see godly, old men even today, who like Caleb, have "wholly followed the Lord God of Israel" (verse 14), and are overcomers who are growing stronger in their faith even in their old age!
In contrast to Caleb's example, we read the sad story of whole tribes in Israel who did not drive out the Canaanites from many areas of Canaan. Thrice we read that the Israeli tribes "did not, or could not, drive the Canaanites out". (15:63; 16:10, 17:12). this is a picture of the vast majority of Christians who have not driven out sins like anger, lust and bitterness from their lives-sins that Jesus came to save us from.
The remaining chapters deal with the occupation of Canaan and the tribes settling down to their possessions.
In Chapter 21:44 we read these wonderful words: "There failed not ought of any good thing which the Lord had spoken unto the house of Israel; all came to pass." This will be our testimony when we stand with the Lord in eternity today. Many believers will discover in that day that they did not experience or enjoy many of God's promises because of their unbelief, like 600,000 Israelites who perished in the wilderness. But those who did believe (like Joshua and Caleb) will rejoice in that day that they experienced and enjoyed every single one of God's promises during their earthly lifetime. What regret there will be in the hearts of many believers in that day for their unbelief. So let us trust in the Lord with all of our hearts and claim every one of His promises, for "For all the promises of God find their Yes in him. That is why it is in him that we utter our Amen to God for his glory." (II Corinthians 1:20)
In Chapter 22:10-34 we have a beautiful story that illustrates how misunderstandings can be removed and conflict averted, if we adopt the simple method of talking to the other party face to face before criticizing or judging them. The 2 1/2 tribes of Israel who had decided not to live in Canaan but on the eastern side of Jordan. made a duplicate of the tabernacle's bronze altar and erected it at the border between their land and Canaan. When the other 9 1/2 tribes saw this, they immediately imagined that it was an act of rebellion against God. But they decided to clarify the matter first. Then they discovered that far from being an act of rebellion, it was done only to ensure that succeeding generations of the 9 1/2 tribes do not reject the succeeding generations of the 2 1/2 tribes because of their living on the other side of the river. And the matter was resolved peacefully. Would tht all Christians had the same common sense to hear the other side before coming to their own wrong conclusions!
In Chapter 23. we read of Joshua's farewell address to the Israelites. He knew he was about to die. So he warned the Israelites to be very firm in sticking to the Word of God and in being separate from the heathen nations around them. Then the Lord would be with them, and (verses 1-10)!! But if they compromised, the the Lord would fulfill His threats just as He had fulfilled His promises-and destroy them (verses 14-16).
In Chapter 24, Joshua quickly reviews Israel's history from the days of Abraham and reminds them of God's care for them. he then exhorted them to "fear the Lord and serve Him in sincerity and truth" And then he said that whatever their decision may be, as far as he and his house where concerned, they would only serve the Lord (verses 14-15). We see there that Joshua took a decision not only for himself but also for his house. He was the head of his house and decided that his children were going to worship and serve the Lord alone. He did not offer his children a choice in the matter, like he offered the Israelites. Christian leaders need to lead their families first of all, and must have children who also follow the Lord and serve Him.
God needs many people like Joshua all over the world today.
Approximate Dates Of Israel's Patriarchs
Abraham: 2166-1991 B.C.
Isaac: 2066-1886 B.C.
Jacob: 2006-1950 B.C.
Moses: 1526-1406 B.C.
Joshua: 1500-1390 B.C.