A Voice in the
Wilderness

site navigation

free newsletter



                           *** PORTIONS ***


Re: As It Was...So will it be (Joshua 23:15)

"Therefore it shall come to pass, that as all the good things have come 
upon you which Jehovah your God has spoken to you, so Jehovah will bring 
upon you every evil thing, to destroy you from this good land which 
Jehovah your God has given to you.  When you have transgressed the 
covenant of Jehovah your God, which He has commanded you, and have gone 
and served other gods, and bowed down to them, then the anger of Jehovah 
will burn against you, and you shall perish quickly from off the good 
land which He has given to you." (Josh23:15-16)

While at first glance you might be thinking we're going to be "negative" 
again here, to talk about God's "punishment" for disobedience, this is 
actually a supplement to June's article; somewhat to add confirmation 
and validity to something that was addressed there. There we observed 
how Jesus' birth, life, death and resurrection FULFILLED PROPHECY. And 
furthermore, the fact that, since He had fulfilled 'past' prophecy 
to-the-letter, that we can have firm confidence in His promises 
regarding the 'future'; His promise to come and "receive" Believers to 
Himself (Jn14:3) in resurrection and rapture (Jn11:25-26). The fact that 
past fulfillment authenticated, validated and guaranteed His promises 
regarding the future.

In this passage in Joshua, God is specifically spelling out this same 
concept to Israel.

Let's review a minute: At the promises of God beginning with Abraham, 
Israel was redeemed out of Egypt, they were given the Law and further 
promises about inheriting the land of Canaan originally covenanted to 
Abraham and his seed. They crossed the Jordan River, and had 
unprecedented military victories as they took possession of the land of 
promise. The land has been divided up between the tribes by lot. And now 
Joshua is getting old and he is giving Israel some closing exhortations 
before it will be time for him to die.

The account tells us: "And Jehovah gave them rest all around, according 
to all that He had sworn to their fathers. And not a man of all their 
enemies stood against them; Jehovah delivered all their enemies into 
their hand.  Not a word failed of any good thing which Jehovah had 
spoken to the house of Israel. All came to pass." (Josh21:43-45)  And 
reviews to them the great prosperity they've inherited in the land. 
(24:13)

And so Joshua now reviews with Israel: "And you know in all your hearts 
and in all your souls that not one thing has failed of all the good 
things which Jehovah your God has spoken concerning you. All of them 
have come to pass for you; not one word of them has failed" (23:14)

This is the context of our opening passage. God had promised "blessing" 
to Israel...if they obeyed Him, keeping His commandments, and not being 
diverted to idolatry. But now Joshua is also reminding them of the 
"curse". Here's how God had given it to them:

"Behold, I set before you today a blessing and a curse:   the blessing, 
if you obey the commandments of Jehovah your God which I am commanding 
you today;  and the curse, if you do not obey the commandments of 
Jehovah your God, but turn aside from the way which I am commanding you 
today, to go after other gods which you have not known." (De11:26-28)

God also exhorted them, that when they should come into the land of 
promise, and experience His blessings and would "..have eaten and are 
full; then be on guard that you not forget Jehovah who brought you out 
of the land of Egypt...You shall fear Jehovah your God and serve Him, 
and swear by His name...You shall not go after other gods, the gods of 
the peoples who are all around you...lest the anger of Jehovah your God 
burn against you and destroy you from off the face of the earth." 
(~De6:10-15)

Is this not what we see around us. Quite often those who are overflowing 
with wealth do not trust in God, but in their own riches. As Jesus said 
about the near-impossibility for a person of wealth "to enter the 
kingdom of Heaven". (Mt19:23-24) Thus, also, in speaking of submission 
to one's "master", that no one can serve "two masters", He says, "It is 
impossible to serve God and mammon (money)." (Mt6:24)

God's desire for Israel was to shower them with blessing. Even in later 
years when they would be in rebellion, He would chide them to be 
obedient, and see if He wouldn't "open the windows of Heaven" to them in 
blessing. (Mal3:10)

Well, right 'now' Israel is sitting pretty. God has given them 
overwhelming victory over their enemies, and they are sitting in luxury 
of the wealth of the land. 

Israel had obeyed God's commands: "As Jehovah had commanded Moses his 
servant, thus Moses had commanded Joshua, and thus Joshua did. He did 
not turn aside from anything of all that Jehovah had commanded Moses." 
(11:15)  And God had fulfilled His promises to Israel, for blessing.

God had promised blessing in return for obedience. They obeyed; God 
blessed; AS GOD HAD PROMISED; to-the-letter. (every "jot and tittle" 
Mt5:18) And so now Joshua is exhorting them that JUST AS IT HAS HAPPENED 
that God fulfilled the "blessing" if they obeyed; warning them that, if 
they turn and become unfaithful, JUST AS SURELY would they experience 
the "curse" if they were to turn away from God to idols. God's past 
faithfulness to His own word for "blessing" would be just as 'faithful' 
regarding the "curse". God promised -both-, conditionally; conditioned 
upon Israel's fidelity in following God. God has fulfilled the one 
condition. That fulfillment guarantees the fulfillment of the 'other' 
condition, if Israel rebels.

There are many who whine at God's Word:  Surely a God of luuuuv wouldn't 
subject people to "torture-in-hell" for eternity. They do not see all of 
God's fulfilled promises; they do not understand; thus they do not 
accept God's Word that says, "..the soul who sins shall die.." (Ez18:4) 
And they don't accept that "...the smoke of their torment ascends 
forever and ever; and they have no rest day or night.." (Rev14:11) That 
"...the worm does not die, and the fire is not quenched.." (Is66:24, 
Mk9:44)

If you happen to be one of those who thinks the Bible is full of "fairy 
tales", may I suggest to you that you keep your eyes on Israel in the 
coming months. Islam and the entire Arab world wishes to push them "into 
the sea" (forget those 'treaties' with Egypt and Jordan!). And the rest 
of the world is siding with the Arabs. And Israel's supposed "best 
friend" (USA) will be double-crossing them shortly; the process of that 
double-cross has already begun with this push for the "road-map"; as the 
CIA has also been busy training the PLO, and giving all sorts of 
military technical aid to many of Israel's enemies in the region. As God 
prophesied, "And -ALL- the nations of the earth will be gathered 
against.." Jerusalem. (Zec12:3, 14:2)  Many have wondered 'how' America 
could fit such a scenario, being Israel's "friend". Well, that process 
is -already- underway!

Folks, keep your eyes open. If you don't believe the Bible...watch 
Israel in the coming months. Things are only just 'beginning' to ramp up 
to some rather spectacular events as God makes Himself known to the 
world. Israel has been in similar straits in the past, with overwhelming 
odds against her. Those are the situations God seems to delight in, to 
reveal Himself, both to Israel, and to the world.

But if your heart is sensitive to God's drawing upon your soul, hear how 
Joshua exhorts and chides Israel way back 3400 years ago:  Before God 
called to Abram, his family served "other gods". (24:2) But God called 
Abraham, made a covenant with him, and Abraham "believed God" and it was 
accounted as "righteous". (Gen15:6, Rom4:3) Joshua reviews the 
highlights of God's fulfilled promises, and then exhorts: God fulfilled 
His promise for blessing; now if you disobey, He will fulfill the curse, 
also...

"Now therefore, fear Jehovah, serve Him in sincerity and in truth, and 
put away the gods which your fathers have served on the other side of 
the River and in Egypt. Serve Jehovah!" (24:14) "Now therefore, he said, 
put away the foreign gods which are among you, and incline your heart 
unto Jehovah the God of Israel." (24:23)  

The exhortation to you is to respond as Israel did: 

"Jehovah our God we will serve, and His voice we will obey!" (24:24)