Watching Daily At My Gates

April 4 Read Joshua 1:1-4

The conquest of the land of Canaan is about to begin. Moses, who led the people up to this point died on Mt. Nebo. He was shown the land of Canaan, but might not lead the people into it. Because of his sin of striking the rock in disobedience, he was not fit to finish the work. This task was given to Joshua, the son of Nun. He is described as Moses’ minister, both in Exodus 13 and in this section. He was the servant or personal assistant of Moses and is divinely ordained for this calling. His name originally was Oshea. Moses changed it to Jehoshua which means “Jehovah is salvation,” and he is actually called “Jesus” in Hebrews 4:8. His calling is to lead God’s people into the earthly Canaan, and as such typifies Christ who leads his people through this world of strife and sin into the heavenly Canaan. The Lord assures Joshua that he will give them the land of Canaan and he assures us that we too will possess the new heavens and earth. No enemy can withstand him! What a glorious promise for us to embrace by faith. Psalter 420;1, 2.

April 5 Read Joshua 1:5-9

The land which the Israelites were promised and are about to enter was inhabited by many peoples. They were strong and would be determined to fight to keep their cities and lands. An essential requirement for Joshua and his army is a reassuring word from the Lord himself, “Be strong and of a good courage.” This expression occurs several times, with Moses also speaking these same words to Joshua in the sight of all the people before he died. The Lord added another requirement that was necessary besides strength and courage to overcome the impending enemy. That requirement was obedience to the law. Not only must they keep the law, but must meditate upon it day and night. In this way the Lord would prosper them. Obviously, this word comes to you and me as well as we battle our enemies, the world, the devil, and our own sinful flesh on our way to the heavenly Canaan. Let us then, by faith, with strength and courage from above, follow the perfect Joshua, Jesus Christ, our Mediator and Redeemer. Psalter 149:1, 2, 6.

April 6 Read Joshua 1:10-18

In response to God’s command and in the assurance that God would prosper their conquest of Canaan, Joshua instructs the people to prepare food for their journey. Then he reminds the tribes of Reuben and Gad and the half tribe of Manasseh that although they were given the land east of the Jordan River for their inheritance, they must help with the conquest of Canaan. Their wives, children, and their flocks will remain on this side of Jordan, but all the mighty men of valor must go with the army of Israel until the Lord would give them rest. It is interesting to note in this regard that not all the men of these tribes assisted in the battles. According to Numbers 26, we read that there were one hundred thirty-seven thousand men able to go to war in these tribes, and Joshua 4:12, 13 informs us that forty thousand crossed Jordan to help their brethren. So that leaves ninety-seven thousand behind to protect and care for the women, children, and cattle. At any rate they willingly respond to Joshua’s instruction to accompany the army and threaten those with death who should refuse obedience, and they echo Moses’ and the Lord’s words, “only be strong and of a good courage.” Psalter 188:1-3.

April 7 Read Joshua 2:1-3

Before the army of Israel rises up to invade Canaan, Joshua sent out two men from the camp to spy out the land, especially Jericho. This city was about eight miles from the Jordan River, and was the gateway to Canaan. We may ask the question: “Was this action necessary, since Joshua himself spied out the country earlier and God promised to give them the land?” But we believe there is a deeper reason, and that the Lord had his purpose in this, especially in regard to Rahab. The men entered Jericho and lodged in the house of a harlot, but were spotted by the wicked inhabitants of the city who promptly informed the king. All this was sovereignly determined by God who directed the spies to Rahab’s house. Rahab was a changed woman from her old ways as a prostitute, and by God’s grace was given faith to believe. This faith comes to manifestation by her works, as we will see. Can this be said of us, dear reader? Is ours a living, active faith? Let us show that faith by being friends of God and enemies of the world. Psalter 403:1-3.

April 8 Read Joshua 2:4-13

These verses inform us that Rahab hid the spies from the king’s messengers and misled them into believing that the spies had already left. Scripture is silent regarding her lying, and although it is understandable on her part, lying is never to be justified. She informs the spies that Jericho’s inhabitants heard about the mighty works of the Lord and trembled with fear. She confesses that Jehovah is God in heaven and earth, and makes the spies swear that they will save her and her house when Jericho is defeated. Rahab was an elect child of God who lived in the depths of sin for a time, but was converted and plucked as a brand out of the fire in the way of faith. We find her name in Hebrews 11 as one who lived from faith and in God’s inscrutable wisdom she becomes a mother in Israel in the direct line of the geneology of Jesus. The lesson therefore, once again, is that we live by faith, die by faith, and are saved by faith. May God be pleased to grant us the necessary grace to emulate the living faith of Rahab in our lives. Psalter 280:1, 3, 4.

April 9 Read Joshua 2:14-24

Rahab is convinced that Israel will be victorious when they come upon Jericho and asked the spies to swear by the name of the Lord that they will save her family alive when this happens. The spies do not know at this time how the Lord will deliver the city into Israel’s hand, but they agree, with certain stipulations that must be met, namely that no one utter this business and that she gathers her entire family inside her house which will be marked with a scarlet cord. By this cord, the spies descend from her home and after spending three days in the mountain, return to Joshua. They relate to him all that happened plus the encouraging news that the inhabitants of the land were fainthearted because of them, emphasizing the fact that it was the Lord’s doing which caused this fear. This mighty God of Israel is also our God. He is the same yesterday, today, and forever. He will fight for us, deliver us from evil, and save us eternally. Blessed be his name! Psalter 399:1, 3, 4.

April 10 Read Joshua 3:1-8

The church of God as comprised by the nation of Israel stood at an important juncture in her life. Joshua led the nation to the banks of the Jordan River. There they beheld an impassible torrent of water which barred the way to the Promised Land. Joshua issues instructions to the people in regard to their crossing the river. They must consecrate themselves to behold the wonders that God will perform for them on the morrow. They must advance, when they see the Ark of the Covenant carried ahead by the priests, but maintain a reverent distance from it. It must be very evident to all that Jehovah is bringing his people into Canaan by his mighty power and not by their own ingenuity. As they pass into the land of promise they must keep their eyes on the ark which symbolized God’s presence. We too, as God’s people, are making a journey through the wilderness of sin en route to the Promised Land. We encounter many obstacles that would divert us away from the paths of righteousness. But with our eyes upon Jesus, led by his Spirit, we shall by faith overcome them, and enter the Promised Land. Psalter 352:1-4.

April 11 Read Joshua 3:9-17

The moment arrives when the actual crossing of Jordan takes place. Joshua reassures the people that the Lord will drive out the inhabitants of Canaan by this demonstration of his power. The priests who bore the ark stepped into the river and the water ceased to flow. We are informed that God caused the water to stand as a heap near the city of Adam, about fifteen miles upstream, and as a result the rocky bed of the river was laid bare. The Israelites then passed over on dry ground. Truly that was a wondrous and significant miracle that also speaks to us today. The people of Israel had to see that they were not overcome and destroyed by the waters of Jordan because of the priests and the ark which went before them. The ark with its blood sprinkled mercy seat covered their sins and pointed to Christ, the perfect High Priest, who made perfect atonement. We all must cross the Jordan River of death which we fear by nature, but our High Priest and Savior has gone before and opened the way, and by faith we follow him to Canaan’s rest. Psalter 29:1-3.

April 12 Read Joshua 4:1-13

As soon as the last of the people walked out of the river-bed of Jordan, the Lord gave some specific instructions to Joshua. An event of this magnitude must not be forgotten, and Joshua was told to erect a double memorial in remembrance of this miraculous crossing. Twelve men, one from each tribe are selected. Each man must carry a large stone from the midst of Jordan and bring it to the west side of the river. At the same time Joshua was told to take twelve additional stones and arrange them in a heap on the east side of the river where the priests stood who bore the ark. This was to be a tangible sign of this passing event. The number of the stones selected was not an arbitrary number, but consisted of twelve stones corresponding to the twelve tribes which is the number of election. This was a testimony to Israel and to us as well, that God, according to his election, opens up the way into the promised rest. “So then it is not of him that willeth, nor of him that runneth, but of God that sheweth mercy” (Rom. 9:16). Psalter 275:1-3.

April 13 Read Joshua 4:14-24

The twelve stones that the men of each tribe carried out of Jordan were set up for a memorial in Gilgal where the people camped on the west side of the river. We read that the memorial had a practical purpose, namely that this was a means for the instruction of their children. God’s word deals much with children. He establishes his covenant in the line of generations which means that they are his, and belong to his people. These stones were purposely meant to arouse their curiosity and stimulate questions. Their parents in turn were to teach them the significance of all the signs that the Lord provided. We, who are parents, are called to be faithful in teaching our covenant children the ways and wonders of the Lord. He has given us many means in home, school and church. May we by God’s grace be diligent in this our calling. Children and young people, pray that you may be receptive to this instruction. In this way, God is glorified and we are blessed. Psalter 213:1-3.

April 14 Read Joshua 5:1-9

The effect of God’s mighty power as displayed by the drying up of the waters of Jordan was soon made manifest. The kings of the Amorites and Canaanites became so weak with fear that the children of Israel could camp at Gilgal in safety from their enemies. The Lord providentially arranged this, so that the rite of circumcision could take place at this time. Joshua receives instructions from the Lord to administer the sign of the covenant to all who were born during the forty years after leaving Egypt. By this rite of circumcision the Lord rolled away the reproach from off the people, hence the name Gilgal, which means “rolling”. Only as a sanctified people could they fight the battles of the Lord and strive successfully to enter into the Promised Land. This certainly speaks to us too, for we fight the battles of the Lord on our pilgrimage to heaven. By virtue of our baptism we are called to “forsake the world, crucify our old nature and walk in a new and holy life.” Thanks be to God that by his Spirit “we shall finally be presented without spot or wrinkle among the assembly of the elect in life eternal.” Psalter 326:1-4.

April 15 Read Joshua 5:10-15

We note in this passage that the people once again resumed the keeping of the Passover. At the same time the manna ceased and they ate of the fruit of Canaan. Then our attention turns to Joshua who stands in the vicinity of Jericho. We may well imagine what is taking place in his mind as he contemplates the task laid upon him and how impossible it appeared. Israel must conquer Jericho, a strong and fortified city, the gateway to Canaan, and although the inhabitants feared Israel, they did not intend to surrender. Suddenly the figure of a man appeared before Joshua with a drawn sword in his hand. In response to Joshua’s challenge, he reveals himself as the captain of the Lord’s hosts. This was none other than the Old Testament manifestation of Christ, and Joshua falls to the ground and worships. We sometimes wonder, don’t we, how we can persevere in our daily battle against sin? We also wonder what our children will have to face as the world grows more wicked and intolerant. Don’t fear, people of God, but listen to our Captain: “In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world” (John 16:33). Psalter 398:1-3.

April 16 Read Joshua 6:1-11

Joshua receives instructions from the Captain of the Lord’s hosts about the manner in which Jericho will fall to Israel. He says to Joshua, “See I have give into thine hand Jericho…” This is a crucial statement which indicates that the enemy is already overcome and delivered into Joshua’s hands by Jehovah. No battle plans are given, no strategies are drawn up. Instead, a procession of the people must march around the city once each day for six days in succession. The armed men must go first, followed by seven priests with trumpets of ram’s horns. Next come the priests who carried the ark of Jehovah, and lastly, the rear guard which follow the ark. This must be a demonstration of the mighty power of God alone, and an exercise of faith on the part of the people. The people might not take the city of Jericho by their own strength. It must be the Lord’s work alone. We are not saved either by contributing a single thing to our own salvation. It is the Lord’s work from the beginning to the end. All praise and honor belong to him alone. Psalter 242:1, 3, 4.

April 17 Read Joshua 6:12-19

Obediently following the instructions from the Lord, the daily march around the city takes place. Once each day for six days the procession went around the city with the priests blowing the trumpets. The people however, were silent. It’s quite possible that some of the inhabitants of Jericho mocked the Israelites from the safety of the walls, considering this action sheer foolishness. However, they failed to reckon with the fact that the Almighty was in Israel’s midst. His presence, symbolized in the Ark of the Covenant, was the source and power of the whole march. He will uproot the kingdom of darkness and establish his typical kingdom in the land of Canaan. Everything in Jericho is pronounced cursed by the Lord. Only Rahab and her family are to be spared and items of precious metals which were to be brought into the treasury of the Lord. Because Jericho was the first city of Canaan which the Lord gave to his people, Israel had to sacrifice it to the Lord as the first-fruits of the land and the city itself laid to ashes. May we also learn from this to keep ourselves away from anything that would pollute our holy walk, and consecrate all that we have and all that we are to the Lord. Psalter 383:1, 4, 5.

April 18 Read Joshua 6:20-27

The trumpets sounded, the people shouted, and the walls of Jericho fell flat. What an extraordinary way to assault and capture a city. But it had to be this way. God had said to Joshua, “I have given into thine hand Jericho”. The people might not capture the city by their own power. They had to understand that it is God alone who makes possible the entrance into Canaan. God opened the way through the Jordan River and God gave them the city by a wonder of his grace. The people were to receive these blessings by walking obediently in faith. Hebrews 11:30 states, “by faith the walls of Jericho fell down after they were compassed about seven days”. Just as the land of Canaan is a gift of grace, so is salvation, and all it entails, a free gift of grace through Jesus Christ the Captain of our salvation. This passage closes with Joshua pronouncing a curse upon the man who would rebuild Jericho as a fortified city. This was fulfilled in I Kings 16:34 when Hiel the Bethelite did so, and as a result lost all his sons by death. Psalter 149:1, 3, 6.

April 19 Read Joshua 7:1-5

With confidence bolstered by the fall of Jericho, Joshua makes his plans to attack the city of Ai. Men are sent out to scout the city and they return with the report that it is a small city and that two or three thousand warriors would be sufficient to conquer it. Joshua commissions an army of three thousand men to accomplish this conquest, but they were put to the rout by the men of Ai and thirty-six Israelites were slain. The result was that “the hearts of the people melted and became as water.” Apparently they thought that the promise of God had failed. In light of the wonderful victory at Jericho, the fall of Ai appeared certain. But we read in the context that God was wroth with the children of Israel, for someone had appropriated to himself some of the accursed things of Jericho. All sin has consequences, and this was a bitter lesson for Israel to learn. God is just and his ways past finding out. As long as sin remained in their midst, victory would be impossible. Sin must always be confessed, sorrow expressed, and forgiveness sought. Only in this way can reconciliation to God take place and joy restored. Psalter 141:1, 2, 4.

April 20 Read Joshua 7:6-15

The defeat at Ai caused consternation in Israel and brought Joshua to the point of despair. Not realizing that the fault lay in the people, he wonders why the Lord dealt with them in this way. The Lord declares that Israel had sinned by transgressing his covenant and stealing things that were accursed. Israel was expressly commanded to refrain from taking anything to themselves of Jericho’s spoils. The inhabitants of Jericho had filled their cup of iniquity and they were ripe for judgment. The Lord’s heavy wrath was upon them and their possessions, and severe judgment must be meted out to the guilty one who stole from them. The Lord also prescribed the manner of punishment, namely that the guilty party and all that he had must be burnt with fire. This was a severe punishment, but the sin was great. May all of us learn not to covet the carnal things and pleasures of this sinful world, but rather set our affections on the things above. Psalter 325:1, 2, 3.

April 21 Read Joshua 7:16-26

In order to determine the guilty person who stole the accursed thing, the lot was taken by tribes, families and man by man. Each step was determined by the Lord, and the lot fell upon Achan from the tribe of Judah. We notice that even during this process with its inevitable outcome, Achan does not step forward to confess his sin but must be forced by Joshua to admit his guilt. He confesses to stealing a robe and some silver and gold. In compliance with God’s verdict, Achan’s entire family is stoned to death, and they, plus their possessions were burned with fire. A great heap of stones were raised over them as a warning to all the generations of Israel. Achan’s sin of coveting the riches of a wicked world and persisting in this sin showed that he was profane and ungodly. His family also partook of his sin by not exposing or rebuking him. This sin had been visited upon the nation of Israel as a whole with dire consequences. As a lesson to us, may we never condone the sins of our fellow saints, but seek in the proper way to remove the sin and restore the sinner lest the wrath of God fall upon us as a body. Psalter 83:1, 2, 3.

April 22 Read Joshua 8:1-13

After the sad history of Achan’s sin and Israel’s defeat by Ai, the Lord appears to Joshua to encourage him and the people. He assures Joshua that Ai will be given to them and gives explicit instructions as to how the city will be taken. Five thousand men of Israel are to lie in ambush on the west side of Ai, while the main body of Israel are to be stationed on the north side. The main army is to draw out the men of Ai as if they were fleeing. Then, when Joshua raises his spear, the men in ambush will come out of hiding and enter the open city. The main army then reverses its direction and closes in on the enemy. This plan involves deception, does it not? Can there possibly be deception ascribed to God? Our answer is emphatically no! God is a God of truth and veracity. But war has a history on earth almost from the beginning, principally the war of Satan’s seed against the woman’s seed. (Gen. 3:15) Warfare calls for wise deployment of forces to attain the desired end, and generals use various strategies to confound the enemy. We, as God’s people, must also fight, being “wise as serpents” (Matt 10:16) in our battle against the evil one. Psalter 92:1, 2, 7.

April 23 Read Joshua 8:14-29

God’s plan to take the city of Ai was carried out by Israel to perfection. The army of Ai was caught between the two forces of Israel’s army and completely destroyed. The ban of taking the spoil of wars was lifted and the people took of the cattle and goods of the city. Special mention is made of the stretching out of Joshua’s spear during the battle at which time the ambush arose and the main army turned to fight. This symbolized that the battle was of the Lord and that he would surely give them the victory. The city was burned, and the king of Ai was killed and hanged on a tree until eventide (Deut. 21:22, 23). His body was cast on the ground where the gate of the city was located, and a great heap of stones cast upon it as a memorial. We may at times feel overwhelmed by the wicked world around us, but God assures us of final victory as he did to Zerubbabel in Zech. 4:6, “Not by might, nor by power, but by my spirit, saith the Lord of hosts.” Psalter 389:1, 3, 4.

April 24 Read Joshua 8:30-35

After the conquering of Jericho and Ai, the land lay open for Israel to proceed further into Canaan. They traveled northward to Shechem where the two mounts, Ebal and Gerizim, were located. The ceremony which takes place there is rather briefly noted in this passage but we refer you to Deuteronomy chapters 11 and 27 where you will read a detailed account of Moses’ instructions to the people. Half of the tribes are to be gathered on Mt. Ebal, the mount of the curse, and the other half on Mt. Gerizim, the mount of blessing. The Ark of the Covenant is stationed between the mounts. An altar is built on Mt. Ebal for offerings and sacrifices. After the law of Moses was written on the plaster which overlaid the stones, the ceremony of blessing and cursing took place and the law read to the entire assembly. Space prevents us from delving into all the implications of this rite, but basically it means that God’s blessing will rest on the people in the way of love and obedience, while his curse will be upon them if they break the law and follow other gods. Thanks be to God that in the fullness of time, “Christ hath redeemed us from the curse of the law, being made a curse for us” (Gal. 3:16). Believe this gospel, people of God, and rejoice in his blessings. Psalter 113:1, 4, 12.

April 25 Read Joshua 9:1-15

The deception by the men of Gibeon was preceded by a confederation of the kings of Canaan. These kings were well aware of Israel’s great victories, so they decided to take the offensive in battle against them. The Gibeonites were of the Hivites and were in the path of Israel’s conquest of the land. The men of Gibeon resort to deception by claiming that they came from a far country and sought to prove it by their appearance and moldy provisions. They claim to have come in the name of Israel’s God and seek to make a treaty with Israel to the effect that they will not be harmed. Rather naively, the men of Israel agree to this deception and swear to let them live, but Scripture points out distinctly that “they asked not counsel at the mouth of the Lord.” The men of Gibeon were certainly wrong in this deception, but it was a serious error on the part of Joshua and the people. This speaks to us dear reader of the necessity to go to God in prayer constantly for direction and guidance in our daily lives. “In everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God. And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus” (Phil. 4:6, 7). Psalter 74:1, 2, 3.

April 26 Read Joshua 9:16-27

It took just three days for Joshua and Israel to learn that they were deceived by the Gibeonites. It was the same critical error they made before their initial attack on Ai, and as before it returned to plague them. They had failed to ask counsel of God, and now, because of their oath, they were bound to keep their word and not destroy them. We can scarcely blame the Gibeonites for their actions, but the main fault lay with Israel. Israel was now faced with the problem of how to punish the Gibeonites and still keep their oath to let them live. A solution was reached to make the Gibeonites hewers of wood and drawers of water for the congregation and for the house of the Lord. This undoubtedly was a fulfillment of the curse Noah pronounced in Genesis 9:25, “Cursed be Canaan, a servant of servants shall he be to his brethren.” To the surprise of Israel, the Gibeonites reacted with humble obedience. We do not know if they were ever assimilated into the nation of Israel, but they were apparently faithful in the service to which they were assigned. Psalter 194:1, 2, 3.

April 27 Read Joshua 10:1-11

When the king of Jerusalem heard about the utter destruction of Jericho and Ai, he and his people feared greatly. Compounding this fear was the fact that Gibeon made peace with Israel. Gibeon was a great city and was situated on high ground now under control of Joshua. So king Adonizedec formed an alliance with four kings of the south and they advanced upon Gibeon in retaliation for their making peace with Israel. Gibeon immediately sends messengers to Joshua for help. In response to this urgent plea, Joshua assembles his army and travels overnight to meet this enemy. Then we hear the Lord say to Joshua, “Fear them not for I have delivered them into thine hand.” This of course proved true, for it was not the might of the armies of Israel, but the might of the Lord that gained the victory. And as the enemy is fleeing before Israel, the Lord miraculously rained down huge hailstones that completely annihilated them. When the Lord is with us, we have peace and confidence. We can’t fight our spiritual battles in our own strength. In the way of faith and trust and obedience we experience his guidance day by day until we too, reach our heavenly Canaan. Psalter 358:1, 2, 3.

April 28 Read Joshua 10:12-14

Truly a miraculous event occurred when the children of Israel were fighting the Amorites. Joshua spoke in the name of the Lord and commanded the sun and moon to stop in their courses so the enemy could not escape in the darkness. Did Joshua realize the implication of all that is involved in a commandment such as this? Not likely, but we can be sure that God wished to show his power through Joshua for did he not say to him earlier, “I have delivered the enemy into thy hand”? Many attempts to explain this phenomenon have been given, most of which distorts the text or are farfetched conclusions based on unbelief. We, as God’s people believe the account as quoted in the book of Jasher, evidently a poetic book containing many wonderful works of God. God, who made the universe and upholds it daily, is supremely able to make one day into two. Because he has power over all things, they must work for the good of his people and for the destruction of the wicked. Let us bow in humility and praise and exalt his holy name now and forever. Psalter 285:1, 2, 3.

April 29 Read Joshua 10:15-27

Three incidents are brought to our attention in this passage of Scripture. First, in the aftermath of their victory, Israel returns to their camp at Gilgal in peace with no loss of life on their part. Second, a small number of the enemy managed to escape into fenced cities, and none of these, we read, “moved his tongue against any of the children of Israel”. Third, we have the matter of the five kings who fled the battle and hid themselves in a cave, and their subsequent judgment. In regard to the latter, Joshua brings the people to the cave at Makkedah and commands that the five kings be brought out. The captains of Israel’s armies are told to place their feet upon the necks of these kings as a symbol of complete dominance over them. The kings are then slain and their bodies hanged until sunset. Some, in today’s world, would criticize all this slaughtering as needless and atrocious. But in doing so, they criticize the Most High himself who has eternally decreed all things, and who alone is just and perfect in all his doings. We hope to enlarge on this aspect tomorrow. Let us bow in humble submission and gratitude to this great God in faith. Psalter 146:1, 2, 3.

April 30 Read Joshua 10:28-43

This passage deals with Joshua continuing his conquest of Canaan. No less than six cities are smitten and all their inhabitants killed plus Horam, king of Gezer, with his people who had come to help the city of Lachish. We read that the Lord delivered these people into the hand of Israel. How must we understand this warfare and its total annihilation? Do we claim as some that God is such a God of love that this slaughter should never have happened? Truly God is a God of love for his chosen people, but here we see the execution of divine judgment. The land was promised to Abraham and his seed and the Canaanites were usurpers. Their cup of iniquity was full and they were ripe for judgment. God is sovereign in divine reprobation as well as in divine election. Today, the ungodly are in control in most of the world and they pervert all things to their own wicked ends. They persecute the church that stands as a righteous witness against them. Jesus, the antitype of Joshua, by his death and resurrection will come again to fight the final battle against the wicked. He is our Captain, and the victory is ours by faith. Let us therefore put on the whole armor of God and follow this Captain so that we may stand against the wiles of the devil. Psalter 183:1, 3, 4.

May 1 Read Joshua 23

Israel’s conquest of the land of Canaan is over. The nations were subdued, the land divided among the twelve tribes, and six cities of refuge were built. Now Joshua had grown old and his two-fold task was finished. He had successfully subdued the land and divided the inheritance. Many years had since passed and realizing that his death was imminent, he summons all Israel to him for his first farewell address. He reminds them that although the nations have been subdued, there still remained some Canaanites in the land. These remaining enemies must be driven out, but only in the way of Israel being courageous and strong and cleaving with all their heart to Jehovah their God. The people are also warned not to mingle with these unbelievers or serve their gods lest the anger of the Lord be kindled against them and they perish quickly from off their good land. How timely this exhortation is for all of us, especially young people. Keep yourself unspotted from the world, seek godly friends and mates, and pray earnestly for strength to fight the good fight of faith. In this way you will experience blessings abundantly, and the church will prosper. Psalter 99:1, 2, 5.

May 2 Read Joshua 24:1-18

This last chapter of the book of Joshua begins with his second farewell address to the people. He again recounts all the history of achievements attained from the perspective of the Lord speaking to them. It was the Lord who gave them the land and victory over the enemy by his mighty power. Then Joshua speaks from his heart and admonishes the people to fear the Lord and serve him in sincerity and truth. He charges the people in the well known words of verses 14 and 15, but often misquoted, “choose you this day whom ye will serve”. This choice is not between Jehovah and idols. Rather it is stated that if it seemed evil unto them to serve the Lord, then they were to choose among the various idols of the nations, which would really make no difference because idols are all the same. Joshua makes his commitment by saying, “As for me and my house we will serve the Lord.” The people respond that they too will serve the Lord. Were the people sincere, dear reader, or was this vow taken too lightly? Surely, some were sincere, but we see from subsequent history that not all remembered God and his wonderful works. May God grant that our walk may be always consistent with our confession that he alone may be worshipped and adored by us. Psalter 360:1, 4, 5.

May 3 Read Joshua 24:19-33

When the people respond in the affirmative to Joshua’s exhortation to serve the Lord, he exclaims “ye cannot serve the Lord.” This appears to be a contradiction, but it really points out how impossible it is to serve God properly, for he is so holy, righteous and good that man by nature is incapable of serving him with a perfect heart as he deserves. Only by a heartfelt confession of sins, falling at the foot of the cross, and pleading Christ’s righteousness, can anyone serve him properly. Joshua wrote the words of the people’s assent in the book of the law of God and set up a great stone under an oak tree as a witness between them and God. The book of Joshua closes with his death at the age of one hundred and ten years, and he is described as a “servant of the Lord.” This is a fitting testimony of one whose work is finished and who has entered into his reward. Mention is made that the people served the Lord all the days of Joshua and the elders who outlived him. Let all of us thank God for faithful pastors and office bearers who instruct us, comfort us, and admonish us, and may God keep us faithful to him all the days of our lives. Psalter 55: 1, 2, 3.