Joshua 23-24 – The Pep Talk

As a kid, I wasn’t very good at sports. When I was in the eighth grade, my parents insisted I play basketball. Two things came out of my short-lived basketball career:
  • I spent most of my time on the bench.
  • I fell and broke my arm the first time I was put into the game!
But there’s another thing I remember…the coach’s pep talks in the locker room at half-time. These talks were always the same…reminding us of what we had learned, challenging us to totally commit to the task before us, and sending us out to prove ourselves.
In Joshua chapters 23 and 24, God is using Joshua to give a similar pep talk to the Israelites. Joshua reminds them of all God has done for them, and how every resource, accomplishment, and victory has come, not from themselves, but from God. Then, he calls them to follow God’s instructions obediently and completely; clearly reminding them of what will happen if they don’t exercise such allegiance and obedience.
And then, the people of Israel declare that they will serve the Lord alone, forever. Three times they affirm this…as if they are all putting their hands in a circle before they break. Then they leave the locker room and go out into the land to prove it. (v. 28.)
In the end, the old leaders pass away, leaving Israel out on the court to prove themselves.
Like Israel, we’ve heard the pep talk. We know the plays. We’ve made the promises. Now we need to prove ourselves by doing everything we’ve been instructed to do. And we need to do this out of complete allegiance to our Coach..our God.

Joshua 11 – War Takes Time

You have to be careful when you read the Bible, or you could easily be deceived. This statement may sound blasphemous or just plain wrong, so let me explain. I’m not saying the Bible is not true. It is! What I’m saying is that the Bible seeks to communicate truth about God and who He is. Consequently, historical accounts are focused more on that than the details or timelines of the event. If we don’t keep that in mind, we can be deceived into thinking the events we’re reading were accomplished quickly, simply, or easily.

Read moreJoshua 11 – War Takes Time

Deuteronomy 6 – God’s Locker Room Instructions

Just before a big game, a coach will gather the players together in the locker room and go over instructions about the attitudes and behaviors they will need to win the game.

You would think that Moses would give the same kind of locker room instructions just before sending the Children of Israel across the Jordon river to fight for the Promised Land. But that’s not the case!

In Deuteronomy chapter 6, instead of telling them what they need to do to win the battle, Moses tells them what they need to do after they have won the battle. He warns them not about the struggle, but about the success.

It’s true. Once we’ve achieved the success we’ve desired, we must be even more on our guard, for complacency is much more threatening than combat. Struggle heightens your senses, while success dulls them. When we’re in need, we acknowledge our dependency on God. When our bellies and our bank accounts are full, we act out of self-sufficiency.

So Moses reminds them that when the battle is over, and they are living in the peace and prosperity they always dreamed of, then it’s even more important that they…

  • Revere God as the One and only sovereign Creator and Sustainer.
  • Respond obediently and promptly to His commands and directions.
  • Recall all He has done for them.

This sounds like a good reminder/warning for us. Compared to the rest of the world, we are very wealthy…even the poorest of us. We live in an abundance that much of the world can’t imagine. We’ve been blessed with this, but not guaranteed it.

So don’t forget to revere the God of your blessings. Don’t forget to respond obediently to His commands and directions. And don’t forget to recall His mighty interventions in your life.