Joshua 23 Commentary
Joshua – slave, special aide, general, leader, commander-in-chief. Who else qualifies more than Joshua to do this important citation? He was probably in his late thirties or forties when Israel left Egypt. He had seen all. You want to believe a man like this. This one and the next chapter are reserved for Joshua’s closing remarks.
These two chapters should be telling us about Joshua’s exploits – and he had many such moments. Interestingly, Joshua’s story becomes the story of the Commander of the armies of the LORD whom he had met in person just before the conquest of Jericho. He, and not Joshua, is the real star of the real-life movie that has unfolded right before our eyes.
He says of the Commander, “himself will push them out for your sake. He will drive them out before you, and you will take possession of their land”.
The saint does well to remember that the Commander who stood tall with a drawn sword, and before whose presence Joshua took off his sandals, is the same LORD Jesus of Revelation 19 with a sharp sword coming out of His mouth. “He will strike down the nations.”
“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.” These are the parting words of Joshua to the nation. They are the same words that were passed on to him as he took over from Moses. It is every man’s duty to pass on the same message to his children.
Further Joshua warns the people not to ‘intermarry with them and associate with them’. Keep away from sin. Don’t associate with sin. Know the difference. This message is loud and clear for us today. The mention of snares and traps resonates with the devil’s way of operating, by schemes and lies that we find in the New Testament. The mention of ‘whips on your backs and thorns in your eyes’, may refer to the pain and suffering that the ensnared saint undergoes. It is real. Watch and pray.
Joshua is now very old and about to transition. He has been a very courageous soldier but he knows the victories have come because the LORD is faithful. He has generously fulfilled all the promises. Reading chapter 23 is like having lunch with an old man. He has unpacked your future by looking back. The LORD has honored His part of the contract; will you honor yours?