Listent to this Sermon: 

Download the Notes: 10202013AreYouSeriousJoshua23And24DonRuhl

Are You Serious? 

What does your faith mean to you?

Joshua 23 and 24

Don Ruhl • Savage Street, Grants Pass, Oregon • October 20, In the year of our Lord, 2013



  1. If what Don Patton showed us last weekend during our seminar is true, 
    1. if the laws of science fit the creation model and not the evolution model,
    2. if the Earth is young as scientific and biblical data indicate,
    3. if the fossils formed because of a global flood,
    4. if the Dead Sea Scrolls show the accuracy of the transmission of the Bible,
      1. then there is a God in heaven,
      2. He created us, and
      3. the message we find in the Bible is 100% true,
        1. meaning that Jesus of Nazareth is the Son of God,
        2. who came to save us from our sins, and
          1. He will return one day to retrieve us
          2. that we might go to heaven.
  2. Also, if all this is true, 
    1. how can we go about our faith and Christianity
    2. half-heartedly or lackadaisically?
      1. How can we treat Christianity and the church as a matter of convenience?
      2. How can we choose other things over worship?
  3. Listen to what a great leader said to the Israelites about God’s religion. 


  1. Joshua 23.1–5 – God, the Nations, and the Church

    1 Now it came to pass, a long time after the Lord had given rest to Israel from all their enemies round about, that Joshua was old, advanced in age. 2 And Joshua called for all Israel, for their elders, for their heads, for their judges, and for their officers, and said to them: “I am old, advanced in age. 3 You have seen all that the Lord your God has done to all these nations because of you, for the Lord your God is He who has fought for you…” (Jos 23.1–5).

    1. The aged Joshua lived to be 110 years old (24.19).
      1. What had he seen in his lifetime?
      2. What would someone with that many years have to say to us?
    2. He reminded Israel
      1. that the Lord fought for them against the wicked nations in Canaan,
      2. that Joshua had divided the land to the tribes,
      3. that after expelling the wicked nations, the Lord would give Israel the land.
  2. Joshua 23.6–13 – Do God’s Will

    6 “Therefore be very courageous to keep and to do all that is written in the Book of the Law of Moses, lest you turn aside from it to the right hand or to the left…

    11 “Therefore take careful heed to yourselves, that you love the Lord your God” (Jos 23.6–13).

    1. The Lord fought for them and gave them land, therefore,
      1. Joshua exhorted them to do everything the Lord commanded them to do
      2. to keep them from going after the idols of the Canaanites.
    2. Joshua reminded the Israelites
      1. that the Lord made Israel invincible,
      2. therefore, they were to love Him.
    3. If they failed to obey the Lord and to love Him,
      1. He would not complete the driving out of their enemies, but
      2. would leave them in the land to harass Israel.
  3. Joshua 23.14–16 – From Blessing to Cursing

    14 “Behold, this day I am going the way of all the earth. And you know in all your hearts and in all your souls that not one thing has failed of all the good things which the Lord your God spoke concerning you. All have come to pass for you; not one word of them has failed” (Jos 23.14–16).

    1. Joshua was ready to die, but he wanted to remind them
    2. that the Lord kept all His promises, so that
      1. even as He had blessed them for their obedience,
      2. so He would curse them for their disobedience.
  4. Joshua 24.1–7 – Deliverance from Bondage

    1 Then Joshua gathered all the tribes of Israel to Shechem and called for the elders of Israel, for their heads, for their judges, and for their officers; and they presented themselves before God. 2 And Joshua said to all the people, “Thus says the Lord God of Israel: ‘Your fathers, including Terah, the father of Abraham and the father of Nahor, dwelt on the other side of the River in old times; and they served other gods. 3 Then I took your father Abraham from the other side of the River, led him throughout all the land of Canaan, and multiplied his descendants…’” (Jos 24.1–7).

    1. Joshua gathered all Israel, including their leaders,
      1. to the geographical center of the land, and
      2. they all presented themselves before God.
    2. Their fathers, those previous to Abraham, but including Abraham’s father,
      1. lived on the other side of the Euphrates River, and
      2. served idols.
        1. In that environment,
        2. Abraham became a believer in our God.
    3. Verse 3 refers to the end of Genesis 11 and the beginning of Genesis 12.
      1. The Lord called Abraham out of what is now Iraq,
      2. brought him to the very land in which they were dwelling,
        1. showing that the Lord keeps His promises,
        2. even if it is hundreds of years later.
    4. Between the time of Abraham’s calling and Israel’s dwelling in Canaan,
      1. Joshua reminded them of how the Lord sent Moses and Aaron
      2. to lead Israel out of Egypt by plaguing Egypt,
        1. then by dividing the Red Sea, and
        2. sustaining them in the wilderness for 40 years.
  5. Joshua 24.8–13 – God’s Determination to Bless

    The Lord God continued to speak,

    8 “‘And I brought you into the land of the Amorites, who dwelt on the other side of the Jordan, and they fought with you. But I gave them into your hand, that you might possess their land, and I destroyed them from before you” (Jos 24.8–13).

    1. Even before Israel entered the Land of Canaan,
      1. Israel had to fight battles, and
      2. they won those battles and the lands of their enemies.
    2. When one of their enemies hired a prophet to curse Israel,
      1. the Lord would not listen to the prophet, but
      2. turned the wished-for curse into a blessing.
    3. Those things showed that the Lord would be with Israel, and so
      1. when it came time to enter the land and to start taking it,
      2. they took the land easily.
        1. The Lord even used the hornet to drive out the enemies.
        2. Imagine if hornets covered our land, we would get out!
          1. Therefore, Israel enjoyed cities and farms
          2. that had already been established,
            1. just like we do as Americans, and
            2. just like we do as Christians.
              1. As Americans, we come into a nation already established.
              2. As Christians, we come into the church already established.
    4. The Lord our God was determined to bless Israel, because
      1. He was and is determined to bless the world.
      2. All this set the stage for the entrance of the Messiah into the world, and
        1. the giving of the Messiah,
        2. which was God’s gift to the world, delivered by Israel,

          16 “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life” (John 3.16).

          22 “…salvation is of the Jews” (John 4.22).

          1 What advantage then has the Jew, or what is the profit of circumcision? 2 Much in every way! Chiefly because to them were committed the oracles of God (Rom 3.1–2).

          4 …[the] Israelites, to whom pertain the adoption, the glory, the covenants, the giving of the law, the service of God, and the promises; 5 of whom are the fathers and from whom, according to the flesh, Christ came, who is over all, the eternally blessed God. Amen (Rom 9.4–5).

          1. All those good things had to come into the world somehow.
          2. The Lord chose Israel to be the vehicle.
  6. Joshua 24.14–25 – Choose the Lord

    14 “Now therefore, fear the Lord, serve Him in sincerity and in truth, and put away the gods which your fathers served on the other side of the River and in Egypt. Serve the Lord! 15 And if it seems evil to you to serve the Lord, choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve, whether the gods which your fathers served that were on the other side of the River, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land you dwell. But as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord” (Jos 24.14–15).

    1. All these things being true, Joshua commanded them to do these things:
      1. Fear the Lord.
      2. Serve the Lord in sincerity and in truth.
      3. Put away any gods that evidently they had retained.
      4. Make a choice about what God they would serve.
        1. We have to make a decision, and
        2. no decision is a decision.
          1. It is a decision against following the Lord, and
          2. for following something else.
            1. This is not a game.
            2. You will never do anything more serious.
              1. Are you serious about following the Lord?
              2. Rededicate yourself.
    2. The people rejected the idea of forsaking the Lord and serving other gods,

      16 So the people answered and said: “Far be it from us that we should forsake the Lord to serve other gods; 17 for the Lord our God is He who brought us and our fathers up out of the land of Egypt, from the house of bondage, who did those great signs in our sight, and preserved us in all the way that we went and among all the people through whom we passed. 18 And the Lord drove out from before us all the people, including the Amorites who dwelt in the land. We also will serve the Lord, for He is our God” (Jos 24.16–18).

      1. Yahweh God had brought them out of the house of bondage in Egypt.
      2. Yahweh God had performed miraculous signs in the wilderness.
      3. Yahweh God had preserved them in the wilderness.
      4. Yahweh God had given them the land.
      5. Therefore, they would serve Him, because He was their God.
    3. However, Joshua told them that they could not serve the Lord,

      19 But Joshua said to the people, “You cannot serve the Lord, for He is a holy God. He is a jealous God; He will not forgive your transgressions nor your sins. 20 If you forsake the Lord and serve foreign gods, then He will turn and do you harm and consume you, after He has done you good” (Jos 24.19–20).

      1. He is a holy God.
      2. He is a jealous God.
      3. He would not forgive their transgressions and sins, and
        1. if they forsook Him,
        2. He would do them harm, even after doing them good.
    4. They people insisted that they would serve the Lord,

      21 And the people said to Joshua, “No, but we will serve the Lord!” (Jos 24.21).

    5. To that, Joshua said that they were witnesses against themselves,
      1. that they had chosen the Lord, and
      2. that they would serve Him.

        22 So Joshua said to the people, “You are witnesses against yourselves that you have chosen the Lord for yourselves, to serve Him.” And they said, “We are witnesses!” 23 “Now therefore,” he said, “put away the foreign gods which are among you, and incline your heart to the Lord God of Israel.” 24 And the people said to Joshua, “The Lord our God we will serve, and His voice we will obey!” 25 So Joshua made a covenant with the people that day, and made for them a statute and an ordinance in Shechem (Jos 24.14–25).

        1. They affirmed their witness.
        2. He urged them further
          1. to put away the foreign gods among them,
            1. showing that they had not yet committed themselves
            2. 100% to the Lord their God, and
          2. to incline their hearts to the Lord God of Israel.
    6. As Joshua continued to drive home the serious nature of serving the Lord,
      1. they got his point and
      2. affirmed again
        1. that they would serve the Lord and
        2. that they would obey His voice.
    7. If you listen to what Joshua said to them,
      1. you will notice that evidently they still had idols with them,
      2. even as they did in the wilderness, as Stephen said,

        42 “Then God turned and gave them up to worship the host of heaven, as it is written in the book of the Prophets:

        ‘Did you offer Me slaughtered animals and sacrifices during forty years in the wilderness,
        O house of Israel?
        43 You also took up the tabernacle of Moloch,
        And the star of your god Remphan,
        Images which you made to worship;
        And I will carry you away beyond Babylon.’”
        (Acts 7.42–43)

    8. Joshua knew that they might forget
      1. what the Lord had done for them, and
      2. their commitment and feelings toward the Lord,
        1. even as we might easily forget
        2. the awesome information Don Patton shared with us last week.
          1. You had faith before,
          2. believing with all your heart
            1. that there is a God,
            2. that Jesus once lived and died on the Earth, and
              1. that all events in the Bible truly happened, but
              2. our seminar made those things even more real.
    9. Do not forget what you experienced last week.
  7. Joshua 24.26–33 – Gaining the Inheritance

    26 Then Joshua wrote these words in the Book of the Law of God. And he took a large stone, and set it up there under the oak that was by the sanctuary of the Lord. 27 And Joshua said to all the people, “Behold, this stone shall be a witness to us, for it has heard all the words of the Lord which He spoke to us. It shall therefore be a witness to you, lest you deny your God” (Jos 24.26–30).

    1. Verse 25 said that Joshua made a covenant with the Lord
      1. concerning their promises to the Lord, and
      2. Joshua wrote those things down,
        1. which is why we can read of them today, and
        2. Joshua set up a stone that heard all that the Lord had said.
    2. Then Joshua died.
      1. The people all went to their inheritances, and
      2. they buried Joshua in his inheritance.
    3. The writer noted that,

      31 Israel served the Lord all the days of Joshua, and all the days of the elders who outlived Joshua, who had known all the works of the Lord which He had done for Israel (Jos 24.31).

      1. The generation that spoke the words we have reviewed,
      2. followed the Lord all the days of Joshua and
      3. all the days of the elders who outlived Joshua.
        1. This typifies the Book of Judges, and
        2. truly it typifies people everywhere,
          1. that a leader sets the tone for the life
          2. of a nation, a church, a business, or whatever.
    4. Israel also kept the words of Joseph,

      32 The bones of Joseph, which the children of Israel had brought up out of Egypt, they buried at Shechem, in the plot of ground which Jacob had bought from the sons of Hamor the father of Shechem for one hundred pieces of silver, and which had become an inheritance of the children of Joseph (Jos 24.32).

      1. Hundreds of years before, Joseph told Israel to do this, and
      2. they buried his bones in Canaan.

        25 Then Joseph took an oath from the children of Israel, saying, “God will surely visit you, and you shall carry up my bones from here” (Gen 50.25).

        1. His brothers, who sold him into Egypt, were buried in Egypt, but
        2. he was buried in the Land of Canaan.
          1. Christians say that burials are not important, but
          2. that is not what you see in the Bible.


  1. There is a God who led Israel out of Egypt, 
    1. across the wilderness,
    2. sustaining them for 40 years,
      1. then leading them over the Jordan River,
      2. helping them to conquer the land,
        1. giving them an inheritance in the land, and
        2. providing them with leaders.
  2. There is a God who created Israel and who created you. 
    1. You shall meet Him.
    2. Joshua told us how to prepare for that meeting.
      1. Are you doing what he said?
      2. Begin today, do not delay.
  3. If Joshua were here today, 
    1. he would tell you how serious this is,
    2. that you must serve God sincerely,
      1. making a decision today
      2. to follow the God of heaven, and
        1. to believe that Jesus of Nazareth
        2. is the Son of God.