Dave Burnette's Commentary

Joshua Chapter 23

Written By: God through Inspiration
Penned By: Joshua 
Date Penned: (1406-1370 BC)
Overview: A Record of Israel in the Promised Land (c 1-24)
Theme: Dividing the Promised Land (c 13-24)
Message: Joshua's Last Message (v 1-16)

Joshua 23 Commentary

(23:4-5) Israel Fails to Drive Out the Cannnaites - Some of the land that Joshua had assigned to the various tribes remained unconquered. Israel's gradual occupation of the land had an ecological reason (see Exodus 23:29-30), a military reason (see Judges 1:19), and a theological reason (see Judges 2:20-3:4). Israel's ensuing unfaithfulness delayed the settlement process by several centuries; instead of driving out the remaining Canaanites, Israel absorbed them, bringing God's people even greater temptations to unfaithfulness. Joshua knew this to be a real danger (Joshua 23:15-16). We need to root out sinful influences in our lives rather than allow them to lead us into sinful practices.

(23:6-13) Joshua Gives Instructions - Joshua knew the nation's weak spots. Before dying, he called the people together and gave commands to help them where they were most likely to slip: (1) Follow all that is written in the book of the law of Moses without turning aside; (2) don't associate with the people remaining in the land or worship their gods; and (3) don't intermarry with them. These temptations were right in their backyard. Our associations and relationships can be temptations to us as well. It's wise to identify our weak spots before we break down. Then we can develop strategies to overcome these temptations instead of being overcome by them.

(23:8) Joshua's Final Words of Encouragement - Joshua was dying, so he called all the leaders of the nation together to give them his final words of encouragement and instruction. His whole message can be summarized in this verse: *Cleave unto the Lord your God." Joshua had been a living example of those words, and he wanted that to be his legacy. For what do you want to be remembered, and what do you want to pass on to those you will leave behind? You can leave them nothing better than the encouragement to hold on to God and the example of a person who did.

(23:12-16) God's Paitence is Not His Acceptance - This chilling prediction about the consequences of intermarriage with the Canaanite nations eventually became a reality. Numerous stories in the book of Judges show what the Israelites had to suffer because of their failure to follow God wholeheartedly. God was supremely loving and patient with his people, just as he is with us today. But we must not confuse his patience with us as approval of or indifference to our sin. Be careful about demanding your own way, because it might have unintended, painful consequences.

Dave Burnette's Life Application

Follow the Instructions

Each day we walk through the Bible chapter by chapter making an application of our text to help us grow in the Lord. Many applications can be made from each day's text. Today we Continue in the book of Joshua with Chapter 23 and we see Joshua nearing the end of his life as he addresses the Leaders of Israel. He gives them counsel to remember the Law of Moses and cling to the Lord's instructions. In making application we see our need to cling to the instructions of our Lord in the Bible. Just as Israel failed to follow the instructions we too stray form the instruction of the Bible. The consequences are failure in out lives. It reminds me of many a toy I have had to assemble at Christmas time. I resist the instructions to end up failing at assembling the toys correctly. In life we do the same. Much time and heartache would be eliminated by just simply following the instructions. How about you? Do you follow the Instructions of the Bible? Let us learn from the final words of Joshua and follow the Instructions of the Lord. 


Joshua 23

Joshua 23

 1And it came to pass a long time after that the LORD had given rest unto Israel from all their enemies round about, that Joshua waxed old and stricken in age.

 2And Joshua called for all Israel, and for their elders, and for their heads, and for their judges, and for their officers, and said unto them, I am old and stricken in age:

 3And ye have seen all that the LORD your God hath done unto all these nations because of you; for the LORD your God is he that hath fought for you.

 4Behold, I have divided unto you by lot these nations that remain, to be an inheritance for your tribes, from Jordan, with all the nations that I have cut off, even unto the great sea westward.

 5And the LORD your God, he shall expel them from before you, and drive them from out of your sight; and ye shall possess their land, as the LORD your God hath promised unto you.

 6Be ye therefore very courageous to keep and to do all that is written in the book of the law of Moses, that ye turn not aside therefrom to the right hand or to the left;

 7That ye come not among these nations, these that remain among you; neither make mention of the name of their gods, nor cause to swear by them, neither serve them, nor bow yourselves unto them:

 8But cleave unto the LORD your God, as ye have done unto this day.

 9For the LORD hath driven out from before you great nations and strong: but as for you, no man hath been able to stand before you unto this day.

 10One man of you shall chase a thousand: for the LORD your God, he it is that fighteth for you, as he hath promised you.

 11Take good heed therefore unto yourselves, that ye love the LORD your God.

 12Else if ye do in any wise go back, and cleave unto the remnant of these nations, even these that remain among you, and shall make marriages with them, and go in unto them, and they to you:

 13Know for a certainty that the LORD your God will no more drive out any of these nations from before you; but they shall be snares and traps unto you, and scourges in your sides, and thorns in your eyes, until ye perish from off this good land which the LORD your God hath given you.

 14And, behold, this day I am going the way of all the earth: and ye know in all your hearts and in all your souls, that not one thing hath failed of all the good things which the LORD your God spake concerning you; all are come to pass unto you, and not one thing hath failed thereof.

 15Therefore it shall come to pass, that as all good things are come upon you, which the LORD your God promised you; so shall the LORD bring upon you all evil things, until he have destroyed you from off this good land which the LORD your God hath given you.

 16When ye have transgressed the covenant of the LORD your God, which he commanded you, and have gone and served other gods, and bowed yourselves to them; then shall the anger of the LORD be kindled against you, and ye shall perish quickly from off the good land which he hath given unto you.