Daybreak: Joshua 23:1-16
“Cleave unto the Lord your God, as ye have done unto this day.” (Joshua 23:8)
Today, while walking along the edge of a bluff, we spotted an old, storm-battered tree just hanging on to the side of the bank — barely attached, but still hanging on! Half of its support had given way as the ground had crumbled beneath it, exposing sturdy thick roots still clinging tenaciously to the remaining soil.
How important it is, when the storms of life assail us, to have roots that go deep. God does not promise to shelter us from storms. If He allowed no dark clouds to gather around and no winds to buffet us, would our “roots” ever grow strong? So often it is through adversity that we learn the most priceless spiritual lessons.
We may face times when the people we have depended on turn away. The support system we had grown accustomed to suddenly is not there. We feel alone and vulnerable and wonder if we will make it spiritually. With the Psalmist, our heart cries out, “I looked for some to take pity, but there was none; and for comforters, but I found none” (Psalm 69:20).
Whatever choices those around us may make, God does not leave us alone. Instead, He is with us, strengthening and supporting us and helping us to cling to Him. His promise is, “I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee” (Hebrews 13:5).
The adversity we face today is training us to be strong in Christ. Let us thank God that He is with us, and hold on!
Joshua’s farewell sermon to the Children of Israel was much like Moses’ when he was near the end of his life (Deuteronomy 31:1-21). Joshua was old and knew his time of death was near. He assembled the Children of Israel to deliver to them one last message in hope that they would live in accordance with God’s laws. He first reminded the people of all the things God had done for them, and of all the fulfilled promises they had witnessed. He urged them to continue to obey the Law of God, reminding them that if they did, God would continue to bless them. If they did not obey His Law, God would administer judgment.
The Israelites had fallen away from God and His Law before, and worshiped idols (Exodus 32); Joshua wanted to prevent it from happening again. He cautioned the elders of Israel to remain separate from the heathen nations that surrounded them. Joshua knew that if the Children of Israel chose to befriend the people of Canaan, they would be tempted to worship Canaan’s gods. He instructed the people to “cleave unto the Lord your God,” knowing that only God had the power to keep them.
The Hebrew verb dabaq, which means “to cleave or cling,” is used to designate a very close, physical proximity between two people. It also indicates the affection and loyalty that results in this type of close relationship. Joshua desired the Children of Israel to have this close relationship with God.
(Hannah’s Bible Outlines – Used by permission per WORDsearch)
III. The epilogue
B. The final addresses of Joshua
1. The first address (23:1-16)
a. An exhortation to faithfulness (23:1-13)
b. A warning about disobedience (23:14-16)
A Closer Look
- Joshua felt it was important to remind the Israelites of the promises they had witnessed God fulfill in their lives. What were those promises?
- What were the Children of Israel ordered to do, and not do, in response to the fulfilled promises? Why do you think Joshua felt it was necessary to give Israel such a harsh warning?
- Joshua gave the Children of Israel reasons they should love God. Why should you love God? What can you do to show that love?
When we cleave to the Lord throughout good times and bad, He will cause our roots to delve deeper into His Word. We are not easily moved when our roots are firmly planted in the Gospel.