Time has passed, and the Lord had given much rest to Israel.
As Joshua grows old, it is time he called all of Israel
and it's leaders to gather for a farewell address.
And he reminds those old enough to remember...
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.
Joshua 23:3 NKJV
But it is important to also teach the younger generation...
those too young to fully recall the need to remain steadfast,
dedicated and faithful to God.
Therefore take careful heed to yourselves,
that you love the Lord your God.
Or else, if indeed you do go back,
and cling to the remnant of these nations...
these that remain among you,
and make marriages with them,
and go in to them and they to you,
know for certain that the Lord your God
will no longer drive out these nations from before you.
But they shall be snares and traps to you,
and scourges on your sides and thorns in your eyes,
until you perish from this good land
which the Lord your God has given you.
Joshua 23:11-13 NKJV
What exactly does all this mean...
...take careful heed to yourselves... Or else....
For these are not words we often use today.
So lets us look up their original language...
What take careful heed... means is
diligently guard your souls... or, to be on active watch.
And the reason it is set up with an Or else....
is because God knows how easily we can be influenced
when we just put off needed confrontation... one more day.
I mean, we may certainly intend to fight that battle,
change that habit,
confront and confess that sin,
work on that troubled relationship,
pay off that debt,
finish that project,
or move in the direction that we sense from God.
But then we stand still just one more day...
Tomorrow... we say to ourselves.
And we genuinely believe
that we are taking careful heed to ourselves...
and truly loving the Lord our God,
even when we put it off until tomorrow.
But what God is telling us...
is that when we simply stand still today
and do not take action,
we are living with, and among the remnant of those nations
that worship other gods.
We are living in, and like the world around us.
And it taints us, discolors us, dilutes us, and weakens us
so that we are no longer fully and wholly His.
And in the Old Testament day, God told them that
those people would become snares and traps to them.
They would be scourges to their sides and thorns in their eyes.
But now that the New Testament has been fulfilled...
this punishment shifted.
Don't get me wrong...
the sin is still the same.
But now I see that when Jesus came,
these punishments listed for my sin of standing still in the battle...
are the very punishments He bore.
This is how Jesus was punished for my clinging to the world.
For snares were set by the teachers of the law,
desperate to find Him guilty of blasphemy.
And the and trap was the kiss of death by Judas in the garden.
The scourges to His side were the beatings
by the Roman guard as they mocked Him.
And the thorns He wore as a crown, pressed down above his brow...
cutting deep, onto His eyes.
Until finally, He perished from this land... to rise again,
seated at the right hand of the Father in Heaven.
All the times I have I gotten lazy and delayed...
it honestly has never crossed my mind,
that those were the times I caused Him pain.
And while I cannot go back to remove that,
for surely other sins of mine, He died for as well,
But I will think upon this when I have a tendency to put it off...
Word of God... train me, today...
to diligently guard my soul and be on active watch for what distracts,
to love You by stepping into the battle for my heart and not stand still.
words cannot express
for taking upon Yourself
I was the unfaithful one...
putting off until tomorrow,
what needed to be done today.
I continue to delay
in the guarding of my heart,
soul and mind,
allowing the world and it's idols
to creep in again.
Forgive me and help me, Lord!
Guide me and change me.
Help me to find the balance...
consecrated and set apart
from the world.
And yet, help me to remain
and lacking judgement
toward the people around me.
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