約書亞記 23

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1 耶和華使以色列人安靜,不與四圍的一切仇敵爭戰,已經多日。約書亞年紀老邁,

2 就把以色列眾人的長老、族長、審判,並長都召了,對他們:我年紀已經老邁。

3 耶和華─你們的因你們的緣故向那些國所行的一切事,你們親眼見了,因那為你們爭戰的是耶和華─你們的

4 我所剪除和所剩下的各國,從約但河起到日落之處的,我已經拈鬮分給你們各支派為業。

5 耶和華─你們的必將他們從你們面前趕出去,使他們離開你們,你們就必得他們的地為業,正如耶和華─你們的所應許的。

6 所以,你們要大大壯膽,謹守遵行摩西律法上的一切話,不可偏離左右。

7 不可與你們中間所剩下的這些國民攙雜。他們的,你們不可提他的名,不可指著他起誓,也不可事奉、叩拜;

8 只要照著你們到今日所行的,專靠耶和華─你們的

9 因為耶和華已經把又又強的國民從你們面前趕出;直到今日,沒有一在你們面前站立得住。

10 你們必追趕,因耶和華─你們的照他所應許的,為你們爭戰。

11 你們要分外謹慎,耶和華─你們的

12 你們若稍微轉去,與你們中間所剩下的這些國民聯絡,彼此結親,互相往

13 你們要確實知道耶和華─你們的必不再將他們從你們眼前趕出;他們卻要成為你們的網羅、機檻、肋上的鞭、眼中的刺,直到你們在耶和華─你們所賜的這美地上滅亡。

14 我現在要走世人必走的。你們是意的知道耶和華─你們所應許賜福與你們的沒有句落空,都應驗在你們身上了。

15 耶和華─你們所應許的一切福氣怎樣臨到你們身上,耶和華也必照樣使各樣禍患臨到你們身上,直到把你們從耶和華─你們所賜的這美地上除滅。

16 你們若違背耶和華─你們吩咐你們所守的約,去事奉別,叩拜他,耶和華的怒氣必向你們發作,使你們在他所賜的美地上速速滅亡。


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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