約書亞記 23

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1 約書亞的遺言耶和華使以色列人得享平安,不受四圍仇敵的騷擾,已經有一段很的日子;約書亞已經老了,年紀不小了。

2 約書亞就把全體以色列人、他們的長老、首領、審判長,都召了,對他們:“我已經老了,年紀不小了。

3 耶和華你們的,因你們的緣故,向那些國家所行的一切事,你們都親眼見了;因為耶和華你們的為你們作戰。

4 你們,剩下來的這些國家,連同我剪除的列國,從約旦河起,直到日落之處的,我都按著你們各支派,用抽籤的方式,分給你們作產業了。

5 耶和華你們的必把他們從你們面前趕出去,驅逐他們離開你們,你們就必得著他們的地作產業,正如耶和華你們的所應許的。

6 所以你們要十分堅強,謹守遵行摩西律法上的一切話,使你們不偏向左,不偏向右;

7 使你們不與你們中間剩下的這些國家的人往;他們的名字,你們不可提,不可指著他們起誓,不可事奉他們,也不可敬拜他們;

8 只要照著你們一直以來所行的,緊緊倚靠耶和華你們的

9 因為耶和華已經把又又強的列國從你們面前趕出去;至於你們,直到今日,還沒有一能在你們面前站立得住。

10 你們可以追趕,因為耶和華你們的,照著他應許你們的,為你們作戰。

11 你們自己要十分謹慎,耶和華你們的

12 如果你們轉離耶和華,與你們中間剩下的這些國家的餘民聯絡,和他們通婚,互相往,

13 你們就必知道耶和華你們的必不再把這些國家從你們面前趕出去;他們必要成為你們的網羅和陷阱,肋下的鞭和眼中的刺,直到你們從耶和華你們的你們的這美地上滅亡為止。

14 “看哪,我今天要走世人必經的了。你們清清楚楚(“清清楚楚”原文作“意”)知道耶和華你們的應許賜福給你們的,沒有句落空;完全應驗在你們身上,沒有句落空。

15 耶和華你們的應許你們的一切福氣怎樣臨到你們身上,耶和華也必照樣使各樣的災禍臨到你們身上,直到把你們從耶和華你們的你們的這美地上消滅為止。

16 如果你們違背了耶和華你們的吩咐你們遵守的約,去事奉別的,敬拜他們,耶和華必向你們大發烈怒,使你們從他賜你們的美地上迅速滅亡。”


Exploring the Meaning of 約書亞記 23      

Napsal(a) Rev. Julian Duckworth

Joshua 23: Joshua’s farewell address to all Israel.

Now that the people of Israel are living in the land of Canaan according to the Lord’s promise to them, Joshua, now old, gathers Israel together and offers the people his final words. It is a review of God’s faithfulness to them, His power in their victories, the gift of a good land in which they may live, and finally, a warning: they must not turn away from the Lord and follow the gods of other nations, or the Lord’s anger will follow them.

The spiritual meaning of Joshua’s address is about our experience of the Lord’s activity in our lives, our responsibilities in the work of regeneration, and what happens in us when we drift away from our relationship with the Lord. Every part of Joshua’s speech touches on these subjects, and it is a shining statement for our spiritual well-being. We will look at each part of what Joshua says and their spiritual meanings.

Joshua called for all Israel, and for all of their leaders - their elders, their heads, their judges and their officers. Spiritually, what leads and commands our mind is what we hold as true, which then informs our actions.

Joshua says he is old and advanced in age. Spiritually, this stands for acquiring wisdom during regeneration. Perhaps ‘advanced’, with its range of meanings, is a clue here.

Then Joshua turns to the Lord and the conquest. Joshua reminds the Israelites of what the Lord has given them, and says that the Lord will help them drive out the remaining nations until the whole land is theirs. Spiritually, this is about the ways in which the Lord guides us through regeneration, and how He will be present in our continuing spiritual work.

Joshua then urges Israel to keep the law of Moses and not turn away from it, nor go among other nations who are alongside Israel, nor mention their gods, nor swear by them or serve them or bow down to them. For us, this means following the Lord, and not giving in to the other influences that could lead our lives - for example, greed or ambition. If we do give thought to these other things, they can entrap us. It is enough for us to see them in our mind and quickly refuse their place there.

Joshua then says that because the Lord has been fighting for Israel, no one has been able to stand against them. In verse 10, he says, “One man of you shall chase a thousand: for the Lord your God, he it is that fighteth for you, as he hath promised you.” This means when we acknowledge that the Lord rules our life and empowers us, the influences of hell will be powerless against our resolve.

Joshua then tells Israel that if they do turn to the other nations and their gods, the Lord would no longer drive out these nations, and they would become snares and traps for Israel. This is about the spiritual consequences of going against the Lord. This will inevitably bring on its own dangers, and we can be drawn in without realizing. The Lord can only drive out our spiritual enemies when we turn to Him for guidance.

Finally, Joshua says that not one thing God intended for Israel has failed to happen; so, just as God had given Israel many blessings, He would bring harm on Israel if they grew unfaithful. In our spiritual lives, this is only how things appear. We may feel that God is punishing us at times, but in reality we bring harm on ourselves when we no longer follow the Lord. So, Joshua says, the good land would be taken from them, just as the delight of heavenly life is taken from us if we turn away from the Lord.

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