Joshua 23:6-16 (NIV) 6 “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. 7 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. 8 But you are to hold fast to the LORD your God, as you have until now. 9 “The LORD has driven out before you great and powerful nations; to this day no one has been able to withstand you. 10 One of you routs a thousand, because the LORD your God fights for you, just as he promised. 11 So be very careful to love the LORD your God. 12 “But if you turn away and ally yourselves with the survivors of these nations that remain among you and if you intermarry with them and associate with them, 13 then you may be sure that the LORD your God will no longer drive out these nations before you. Instead, they will become snares and traps for you, whips on your backs and thorns in your eyes, until you perish from this good land, which the LORD your God has given you. 14 “Now I am about to go the way of all the earth. You know with all your heart and soul that not one of all the good promises the LORD your God gave you has failed. Every promise has been fulfilled; not one has failed. 15 But just as every good promise of the LORD your God has come true, so the LORD will bring on you all the evil he has threatened, until he has destroyed you from this good land he has given you. 16 If you violate the covenant of the LORD your God, which he commanded you, and go and serve other gods and bow down to them, the LORD’s anger will burn against you, and you will quickly perish from the good land he has given you.”
On verses 6-16: Joshua’s parting message to the leaders of Israel is very clear: stay faithful to God and keep His commands. If you do, you will flourish in the land God has given you. If you don’t, you will perish from the land God has given you.
The same holds true for us today: obey God and stay in the land; disobey God and be driven from the land. The problem is that all of us have sinned, served other gods and violated God’s commands. Because of our sin, we don’t deserve to live in the good land God had planned for us and were kicked out. But because God loved us, He sent Jesus Christ to do what we failed to do. Jesus Christ obeyed all of God’s commands and met all of God’s requirements, and then Jesus died on the cross to pay for our sins, such that anyone who places their trust not in their own performance or worthiness but in Jesus Christ and what He did for us, God restores us back to the good land He planned for us.
That is both the holiness and the grace of God at work. It wasn’t about our faithfulness but about how God is faithful to His promises, how “not one of all the good promises the Lord you God gave you has failed” (v14).
Heavenly Father, thank You that though we were unfaithful to You, You are always faithful to us. Thank You that when we deserved to be banished from the good land You planned for us because of our sin, You made a way for us to be restored to that good land by sending Your Son Jesus. Thank You that though I failed to obey all Your commands, Jesus obeyed Your commands perfectly. Thank You that it is Jesus’ righteousness and Jesus’ death on the cross for our sins that enables us to live in the good land You planned for us. In Jesus’ name, AMEN!