Joshua 23 gives us a fantastic set of guidelines for how to live. Joshua “was a venerable old man” and is preparing to die. He calls all Israel together to give them his farewell sermon. “God has given rest from all their surrounding enemies” for a long time. They have experienced His faithfulness and are living in the Promised Land. “Not one detail has failed of all the good things God….promised”. He has been absolutely true to every detail in the word that He gave Moses long ago. Joshua makes it clear why: “He did it because He’s God, your God”. The relationship with God is extremely personal. It is not a blanket thing. It is between God and you or God and me. One on one, moment by moment, He wants to be in relationship with us. Joshua warns the people that just because things have been going well doesn’t mean it is a guarantee of the future. And it is a somber and very intense warning. “God will bring to pass every bad thing….if you leave the path of the Covenant….go off and serve and worship other gods…..God’s anger will blaze”. So it is pretty simple. Keep God where He belongs – front and center in life – and things go well. Veer off and do my own things and it won’t go well. God has been faithful, but He expects the same in return from us. Scripture is full of examples of what happens when people get off the path. We need to make sure we don’t follow that and leave the safety and blessing of a deep relationship with God.
Fortunately Joshua tells us the keys to staying on track with God. He lists a number of critical factors that we all need to focus on so we walk in obedience and finish strong. Here is what Joshua tells us to do:
“1. Stay strong and steady
2. Obediently do everything written in the Book
3. Don’t miss a detail
4. Don’t get mixed up with the nations that are still around
5. Don’t so much as speak the names of other gods
6. Don’t swear by other gods
7. Don’t worship or pray to other gods
8. Hold tight to God
9. Vigilantly guard your souls
10. Love God”
Ten things that Joshua leaves with his people to assure they stay on track and with God. We would do well to learn these and live these every day. God is the same God and has the same desire for you and me. He is the only deal. We need to get focused and walk completely and obediently with Him.