8/21/14 Joshua and his Service
JOSHUA AND HIS SERVICE TO THE LORD AND MOSES
Morning Meditation 8/21/2014
Joshua 24:13-25, "And I have given you a land for which ye did not labor, and cities which ye built not, and ye dwell in them; of the vineyards and olive yards which ye planted not do ye eat. Now therefore fear the LORD, and serve him in sincerity and in truth: and put away the gods which your fathers served on the other side of the flood, and in Egypt; and serve ye the LORD. And if it seem evil unto you to serve the LORD, choose you this day whom ye will serve; whether the gods which your fathers served that were on the other side of the flood, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land ye dwell: but as for me and my house, we will serve the LORD. And the people answered and said, God forbid that we should forsake the LORD, to serve other gods; For the LORD our God, he it is that brought us up and our fathers out of the land of Egypt, from the house of bondage, and which did those great signs in our sight, and preserved us in all the way wherein we went, and among all the people through whom we passed: And the LORD drave out from before us all the people, even the Amorites which dwelt in the land: therefore will we also serve the LORD; for he is our God. And Joshua said unto the people, Ye cannot serve the LORD: for he is an holy God; he is a jealous God; he will not forgive your transgressions nor your sins. If ye forsake the LORD, and serve strange gods, then he will turn and do you hurt, and consume you, after that he hath done you good. And the people said unto Joshua, Nay; but we will serve the LORD. And Joshua said unto the people, Ye are witnesses against yourselves that ye have chosen you the LORD, to serve him. And they said, We are witnesses. Now therefore put away, said he, the strange gods which are among you, and incline your heart unto the LORD God of Israel. And the people said unto Joshua, The LORD our God will we serve, and his voice will we obey. So Joshua made a covenant with the people that day, and set them a statute and an ordinance in Shechem."
The key word I want us to consider is the word "serve." The children of Israel are reminded whom they did serve (verse 15), and whom they are to serve. The expression, "serve the Lord," or "serve Him," occur 9 times in this text.
We are saved to serve. We do not serve to be saved, but rather, we serve because God has foreordained that we serve.
SALVATION IS THE GROUND FOR SERVICE
Israel testifies what the Lord had saved them from, namely, from the bondage and bitterness of Egyptian tyranny, and from the enemies which surround their path as they were journeying to Canaan (verses 17, 18); and as a consequence they recognize that they ought to serve the Lord. This same principle is emphasized in relation to the believer in Christ. Again, we do not serve to be forgiven, but we are forgiven to serve. This is brought out in Ephesians 2:8-10, "For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast. For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them."
Titus 3:8, "This is a faithful saying, and these things I will that thou affirm constantly, that they which have believed in God might be careful to maintain good works. These things are good and profitable unto men."
"Ah! Nothing to do! For the sinner that's dead
Must needs have another to work in his stead;
And Jesus, in Calvary's terrible hour,
Redemption accomplished in marvellous power."
"Not a tittle of work till we're saved from our sins,
For that's just the point where true service begins
When the conscience is purged, and the heart is made glad,
And spirit set free that afore time was sad."
SEPARATION IS THE FORERUNNER OF SERVICE
The command of Joshua is clearing and cutting: "Put away the gods" (verses 14, 23). The vessels which God uses must be clean according to Isaiah 52:11, "Depart ye, depart ye, go ye out from thence, touch no unclean thing; go ye out of the midst of her; be ye clean, that bear the vessels of the LORD." This verse clearly set forth God's will concerning those who serve Him. First, it involves separation. The words, "go ye out from thence," is the Lord command to separation. When one mingles with the world, he will become defiled. Second, the words, "be ye clean," means that they must be ceremonially cleansed so that they have gone through the proper procedure of cleansing.
Separation from the world is definitely taught for New Testament Christians.
1. There is the separation of affections; 1 John 2:15 says, "Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world.. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him." This deals with our love. Luke 10:27 says, "And he answering said, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy strength, and with all thy mind; and thy neighbor as thyself."
2. There is religious separation; 2 Corinthians 6:14-18, "Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? and what communion hath light with darkness? And what concord hath Christ with Belial? or what part hath he that believeth with an infidel? And what agreement hath the temple of God with idols? for ye are the temple of the living God; as God hath said, I will dwell in them, and walk in them; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people. Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you, And will be a Father unto you, and ye shall be my sons and daughters, saith the Lord Almighty."
3. Separation involves warfare with the powers of darkness; James instructs those to whom he writes in James 4:7-8, "Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. Draw nigh to God, and he will draw nigh to you. Cleanse your hands, ye sinners; and purify your hearts, ye double minded." Satan must be resisted. We are in a battle and we can win. Satan has no power against the Name of Jesus.
Peter also speaks on this subject: 1 Peter 5:8-9, "Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour: Whom resist steadfast in the faith, knowing that the same afflictions are accomplished in your brethren that are in the world." The road of life is strewn with the casualties of believers who did not obey this exhortation.
4. There is the separation from the appearance of evil. 1 Thessalonians 5:22, "Abstain from all appearance of evil." If one considers this as too strict, that is a sure indication that the person is doing what he knows to be wrong.
5. We are to be non conformists. This is also a separation. Romans 12:1-2, "I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service. And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God." The world is out to neutralize the effect of the Christian. One of the ways it does this is to get the Christian involved in worldly practices so that there is no difference in the outward appearance.
SINCERITY AND TRUTH ARE ESSENTIALS IN SERVICE
Joshua 24:14 says, "Now therefore fear the LORD, and serve him in sincerity and in truth: and put away the gods which your fathers served on the other side of the flood, and in Egypt; and serve ye the LORD."
I think this is illustrated well in Malachi 1:6-8, "A son honoureth his father, and a servant his master: if then I be a father, where is mine honour? and if I be a master, where is my fear? saith the LORD of hosts unto you, O priests, that despise my name. And ye say, Wherein have we despised thy name? Ye offer polluted bread upon mine altar; and ye say, Wherein have we polluted thee? In that ye say, The table of the LORD is contemptible. And if ye offer the blind for sacrifice, is it not evil? and if ye offer the lame and sick, is it not evil? offer it now unto thy governor; will he be pleased with thee, or accept thy person? saith the LORD of hosts."
This is also brought out in Hebrews 10:19-22, "Having therefore, brethren, boldness to enter into the holiest by the blood of Jesus, By a new and living way, which he hath consecrated for us, through the veil, that is to say, his flesh; And having an high priest over the house of God; Let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience, and our bodies washed with pure water." This passage presents an open door to the Father's throne for believers. But there is an exhortation. The Scripture says, "Let us draw with a true heart in full assurance of faith . . ."
There is so much sham in modern worship. One goes to church on Sunday Morning and feel that that one service is enough. The Lord Jesus deserves better out of us. We need to find a way to worship when we come to the Lord's house instead of just showing up. This has to do with sincerity and truth. There is no acceptable service when sincerity and truth are set aside.
SINGLENESS OF AIM IS REQUIRED FOR SERVICE
The Lord will not divide His time with us and our worldly interests. Colossians 3:23-24, "And whatsoever ye do, do it heartily, as to the Lord, and not unto men; Knowing that of the Lord ye shall receive the reward of the inheritance: for ye serve the Lord Christ."
1 Corinthians 10:31, "Whether therefore ye eat, or drink, or whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God." This verse is a key verse to help us to know right from wrong. If it is not done for the glory of God, we should not do it.
Another word that might help us understand the singleness of aim, it the word focused. We need to stay focused. Satan distracts. The way he does it is to use the people of the world. James says in James 4:4, "Ye adulterers and adulteresses, know ye not that the friendship of the world is enmity with God? whosoever therefore will be a friend of the world is the enemy of God."
May the Lord help us to see that Salvation is the ground of service, Separation is the forerunner of service, Sincerity and truth are essentials of service, and Singleness of aim is staying focused on God's purpose in our lives.