(2) Blessings of God Come Only Through Obedience
Joshua, now facing the end of his life, summons the elders, leaders, judges, and officials of all Israel to bid farewell and to offer his final commands; . He encourages them to keep in mind that they were allotted the land of all the nations that remained, and that “The LORD your God himself will drive them out of your way…. and you will take possession of their land, as the LORD your God promised you.” There was, however, a condition to this promise – “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.” God’s continued blessing upon the nation was conditional upon their faithfulness to Him and their continued obedience to the Law of Moses; similarly, spiritual victory for us today comes only through God’s intervention as we too are obedient to God’s commands Therefore, the key to God’s continual blessings is: “hold fast to the LORD your God”: “love the Lord your God” : do not align or associate with evil: do not violate God’s covenant The consequence of failure to be obedient to God’s command would be to their demise: “God will no longer drive out these nations before you. Instead, they will become snares and traps for you…. until you perish from this good land, which the LORD your God has given you.” unfortunately, this has been the downfall of the nation as recorded by the accounts in the books of the Kings and Chronicles.
As he continues his farewell Joshua reminds them of their history up to that time, from the call of God to Abraham to their conquering the land, reminding them that they did not accomplish anything by their own strength . He then challenges them to make a decision, a decision that each and every one of us to this day has to make; “Now fear the LORD and serve him with all faithfulness…. But if serving the LORD seems undesirable to you, then choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve”. We too need to make that decision whether we will turn our backs upon the old sinful life and follow the leadership of God, or continue in our godless life; Joshua takes his stand by declaring, “But as for me and my household, we will serve the LORD.” . The response of the people is that they would wholeheartedly be obedient to God’s commands and to follow Him; “We too will serve the LORD, because he is our God.” reminiscent of a past encounter at Mount Sinai where the people uttered a similar commitment and Joshua had to remind them that “You are not able to serve the LORD. He is a holy God; he is a jealous God. He will not forgive your rebellion and your sins.” , it is impossible for anyone of us to serve God with our own ability, we need to commit our lives on a daily basis to the control of The Holy Spirit of God to empower us to do His will. So Joshua confronts them on their commitment to serve God, “If you forsake the LORD and serve foreign gods, he will turn and bring disaster on you and make an end of you, after he has been good to you.” , and again implores them to turn from any form of idol worship and to cling to the Lord their God and places a stone as a witness to their commitment, “It will be a witness against you if you are untrue to your God.”
And so Joshua’s leadership and conquest had come to an end as he served the Lord his God faithfully, the continuance was now up to the nation to follow God faithfully.