Me and My House

Joshua is giving his final fairwell address to the nation of Israel, having gathered them from across the entire land. Joshua is warning the people to stay true to the one true God, Yahweh. He recounts for them that their people left the traditions of their fathers, particularly the father of Abraham, who worshiped gods and idols in his house, to follow one God, the God of Israel.

But now, despite their best efforts, there are still people who serve other gods who remain in the Promised Land. They also serve and worship other gods, but Joshua implores the Israelites that they should stay separate from them, that they should not intermarry with them, because by doing so, they will go to their ruin. God will no longer allow the Israelites to stay in the Promised Land. He will no longer protect them, and instead, the Israelites will be driven out of the land that God has given to them.

If you violate the covenant of the LORD your God, which he commanded you, and go and serve other gods and bow down to them, the LORD’s anger will burn against you, and you will quickly perish from the good land he has given you.

Joshua 23:16

So the Promised Land is conditional – conditional upon the idea that they will serve the Lord, and serve him only. The Israelites can have no other gods. They can have no one else before him. He is the one and only. If the Israelites will obey these commandments, then they will stay in the land. If they will not, punishment will rain down upon them and they will be driven out.

We know, of course, that they leave God. They walk away from him. Despite having been given everything, the Israelites betray the Lord and do not continue to serve him. The history of the rest of the Old Testament is the story of the Israelites’ betrayal of the Lord, and in fact, they do come to their ruin. Several nations come to attack and rule over the Israelites, and they win. And the Israelites are scattered to the four corners of the earth. They no longer have access to the Promised Land.

Except there was a prophecy that God would gather his people from the north, the south, the east, and the west and at some point they would return home. And that is exactly what happened. In 1947, the people of Israel returned to nation of Israel, back in the Promised Land, back to Canaan, and this is the root of much of the conflict that we have seen recently in the Middle East. In the same way that there was war many millenia ago as Joshua and the Israelites entered the land, there continues to be war in the land even today.

And that war will only come to peace in one way. Only through the coming of the one true king, and the one true kingdom, Jesus Christ, the king in the kingdom of God. This time is coming, and we must be prepared for our king to come, so we must ask ourselves…

Will we intermarry with the culture around us?

Or will we, in our houses, serve the Lord, and him only?

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