Morning Devotion - The Last Words of Joshua

The Last Words of Joshua

Thoughts from "Patriarchs and Prophets" Chap. 49 by Ellen G. White

Testing Blessing

As soon as the war for Canaan was over the children of Israel entered upon a time of peace and temporal prosperity. Israel was finally in possession of the Promised Land and God himself had fought for them during the conquest of the land from the heathen nations. All seemed well and as the children of God now enjoyed their allotted part of the land they soon forgot their Lord and helper. You see, the Israelites thought that their struggle and testing was over. But that presumption could not be further from the truth. Says the prophet;

"Some years had passed since the people had settled in their possessions, and already could be seen cropping out the same evils that had heretofore brought judgments upon Israel." - {PP 521.2}

"God is testing us by blessings bestowed and blessings removed. Shall we learn the lesson He would teach us? Will we bear His test and proving? God has worked for His people by His Holy Spirit. By the bestowal of wonderful blessings, He has striven to awaken in them a desire to impart the light entrusted to them. "I have come to you in love," He says. "I have come to you in mercy and judgment; yet you would not learn the lesson I sought to teach. My Spirit has been grieved by your failure to respond to My love." To those who claim to be His servants and yet depart from His way, He says, "If thou art destroyed, Thou thyself art responsible. Ye would not come unto me, that ye might have life."" - {BCL 106.1}

"God is testing and proving you. He has been giving His blessings to you with a lavish hand and is now watching to see what use you are making of them..." - {3T 249.2}

Share the Blessing

When blessed with riches of spiritual or temporal origin God is watching what you are making of His gifts to you. Remember what the disciples did with the bread Christ blessed and gave to them.

"And when it was evening, his disciples came to him, saying, This is a desert place, and the time is now past; send the multitude away, that they may go into the villages, and buy themselves victuals. But Jesus said unto them, They need not depart; give ye them to eat. And they say unto him, We have here but five loaves, and two fishes. He said, Bring them hither to me. And he commanded the multitude to sit down on the grass, and took the five loaves, and the two fishes, and looking up to heaven, he blessed, and brake, and gave the loaves to his disciples, and the disciples to the multitude. And they did all eat, and were filled: and they took up of the fragments that remained twelve baskets full. And they that had eaten were about five thousand men, beside women and children." - Mat 14:15-21

The Savior blessed the bread, then He gave it to the disciples and the disciples gave it to the multitude of people. As the disciples of old we are today to share our blessings with the multitude and not keep it for our own. We are not to be mesmerized by the blessings bestowed upon God´s Israel. For as in the time of ancient Israel so it is in the time of the modern. We have gain a great victory and God have given into our hand all the nations of the earth. The pure faith is delivered to the saints of the most High, the true bread of life have been blessed by the Son and handed over to us. How dare we settle into our own share of the promise and not subdue the entire land given unto us? How dare we let our senses be drawn away from the God that have given us all our bread that we cherish so greatly? If you have been given a special light from the Lord it is your obligation to tell your fellow men.

Have modern Israel conformed to the world, are the minds and senses of God´s chosen people more drawn to their own riches, light and prosperity than to the law and will of their God?

Blessings or Curses?

"Therefore it shall come to pass, that as all good things are come upon you, which the LORD your God promised you; so shall the LORD bring upon you all evil things, until he have destroyed you from off this good land which the LORD your God hath given you. When ye have transgressed the covenant of the LORD your God, which he commanded you, and have gone and served other gods, and bowed yourselves to them; then shall the anger of the LORD be kindled against you, and ye shall perish quickly from off the good land which he hath given unto you." - Jos 23:15-16

As God have bestowed His blessing and held His protecting hand over His children, so He will redraw His blessings and protection if they do not comply to His demands. We may think that we are rich, prosperous and of good health but we are "wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked:" - Rev 3:17.

The admonition of Joshua and the deception of Satan

Joshua saw that the Israelites was settling down and in their prosperity slipped further and further from depending wholly on God and obeying His will and thus he warned the people of departing from the reveled will of God.

"Be ye therefore very courageous to keep and to do all that is written in the book of the law of Moses, that ye turn not aside therefrom to the right hand or to the left; That ye come not among these nations, these that remain among you; neither make mention of the name of their gods, nor cause to swear by them, neither serve them, nor bow yourselves unto them: But cleave unto the LORD your God, as ye have done unto this day." - Jos 23:6-7

Keep the law God gave to you trough Moses and you will prosper, keep it not and you will break the convent between Israel and the Lord of lords and King of kings. As Christ blessed the bread and gave it to the disciples how´s duty was to share it with the multitudes, Christ gave the law of love to His disciple Moses how shared it with the children of Israel. And as the children of Israel received the law they in turn were to pas the blessing on to the heathen nation around them.

"Satan deceives many with the plausible theory that God's love for His people is so great that He will excuse sin in them; he represents that while the threatenings of God's word are to serve a certain purpose in His moral government, they are never to be literally fulfilled. But in all His dealings with his creatures God has maintained the principles of righteousness by revealing sin in its true character--by demonstrating that its sure result is misery and death. The unconditional pardon of sin never has been, and never will be. Such pardon would show the abandonment of the principles of righteousness, which are the very foundation of the government of God. It would fill the unfallen universe with consternation. God has faithfully pointed out the results of sin, and if these warnings were not true, how could we be sure that His promises would be fulfilled? That so-called benevolence which would set aside justice is not benevolence but weakness." - {PP 522.2}

"God is the life-giver. From the beginning all His laws were ordained to life. But sin broke in upon the order that God had established, and discord followed." - {PP 522.3}

It is the working of Satan in those who try to pardon or baptize sin in human reasoning and a cloak of Christianity. We are not to excuse sin and we are not to run from our responsibility towards God and the covenant of love.

""If it seem evil unto you to serve Jehovah," he said, "choose you this day whom ye will serve." Joshua desired to lead them to serve God, not by compulsion, but willingly. Love to God is the very foundation of religion. To engage in His service merely from hope of reward or fear of punishment would avail nothing. Open apostasy would not be more offensive to God than hypocrisy and mere formal worship." - {PP 523.1}

"A theoretical knowledge of the truth is essential, but the knowledge of the greatest truth will not save us; our knowledge must be practical. God's people must not only know His will, but they must practice it. Many will be purged out from the numbers of those who know the truth, because they are not sanctified by it. The truth must be brought into their hearts, sanctifying and cleansing them from all earthliness and sensuality in the most private life. The soul temple must be cleansed. Every secret act is as if we were in the presence of God and holy angels, as all things are open before God, and from Him nothing can be hid." - {TSB 86.4}

Does the law of God seem evil unto us today? Are professed Christians eager to do away with the will of God and replace it with the will of the flesh? You have just to take a quick look at the children of God today to see that we are repeating the same sin as did Israel of old! We are excusing sin with the thought that it seems evil to us to serve the Lord. The revealed will of the Lord is hard for us to take into account. We want to follow our own "good" will; we think that we can determine for ourselves what is good and what is evil. We want to make our own righteousness were we are the judge and not the Word and will of God. Like Lucifer before us in heaven we are trying to establish our own righteousness apart from the will of God. While we search the scriptures to learn the great truths and doctrines of the Bible we do not search it to change our own lives. We do not consult the Word of God before making choices or determine our future course. The love of the Lord is growing cold and the love of our own decision-making capacity and wisdom is taking control of our life. We are handing our hands over to the enemy of souls and to the lawless one.

Harmony of duty and inclinations/circumstances and reason

"There are thousands at the present day who are pursuing a similar course. They would have no difficulty in understanding their duty if it were in harmony with their inclinations. It is plainly set before them in the Bible or is clearly indicated by circumstances and reason. But because these evidences are contrary to their desires and inclinations they frequently set them aside and presume to go to God to learn their duty. With great apparent conscientiousness they pray long and earnestly for light. But God will not be trifled with. He often permits such persons to follow their own desires and to suffer the result. "My people would not hearken to My voice. . . . So I gave them up unto their own hearts' lust: and they walked in their own counsels." Psalm 81:11, 12. When one clearly sees a duty, let him not presume to go to God with the prayer that he may be excused from performing it. He should rather, with a humble, submissive spirit, ask for divine strength and wisdom to meet its claims." - {PP 440.4}

The children of Israel had a duty towards God, they where to subdue all the nations in the Promised Land and they where to show the world that by abiding in the Lord we would prosper. They were to keep His law written and given by Moses so that they would not break his covenant. As are we today to keep the laws handed down to us by Christ trough the prophets of old. The modern Israel must learn the lesson of ancient Israel. And we are also called to subdue the nations around us and to bring them into the fold of Jesus Christ. To show them that if they abide in the law of Christ, they will find peace.

We are not to presume to go to God and learn His will. His will is plainly set before us in the Bible or clearly indicated by circumstances and reason. We are to know the will of the Lord and do accordingly. Inspiration is very clear on this point, the Word of God and the Word of God alone! No human thoughts of the flesh are to guide us. We are to hearken to the voice of God, not subdue it when it doesn't speak according to our will.

"For this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments: and his commandments are not grievous." - 1 Jn 5:3

"Alas! how few there are, even among professed Christians, who do the right for its own sake..." - {CTBH 128.1}

Serve in sincerity and in truth

"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." - Jos 24:14-15

All that we can do is to serve the Lord in sincerity and in truth. We can´t make others to obey the counsels of Christ. But we can make sure our own house follow the Lamb wherever He walks. And we can thous set an example for other to follow in forsaking the world and our flesh for the pure will and counsel of God. What peace it is to know that the God of Israel is on your side, that your consciousness can be clean before God although the brothers and sisters of Israel will not hearken to the Saviors voice and statues. The prophets God sent to Israel of old was often disregarded and alone. Like outcasts they had to rely wholly upon God and they had to stand alone, the whole world was against them and their own people wanted to silence their messages and their reproaching of the peoples sins. We are called to stand firm in our conviction and our understanding. We cannot allow dethroning Christ and the government of heaven just because others do so? And we are not to say that we follow the Lord just because other does so either. This is a solem call to all professed Christians! Is the Lord of Israel your god or is your god that of the world? If the Lord is your god, follow Him in everything, if not, do not linger in His presence lukewarm for He will spue you out.

"Joshua endeavored to lead his hearers to weigh well their words, and refrain from vows which they would be unprepared to fulfill." - {PP 524.2}

"While they trusted in their own strength and righteousness, it was impossible for them to secure the pardon of their sins; they could not meet the claims of God's perfect law, and it was in vain that they pledged themselves to serve God. It was only by faith in Christ that they could secure pardon of sin and receive strength to obey God's law. They must cease to rely upon their own efforts for salvation, they must trust wholly in the merits of the promised Saviour, if they would be accepted of God." - {PP 524.1}

Have I transgressed the law of God and walked in my own judgments of lately? Have you? Maybe you have thought that your own righteousness was enough, maybe you have been fighting that bad fight of faith in your own strength? But the Lord is calling us to abide in Him and His will. He will help us to turn from our wicked ways. Turn from the arm of flesh to the cleft of the Rock of Ages. From theoretical knowledge to practical experience and living.

"A revival of true godliness among us is the greatest and most urgent of all our needs. To seek this should be our first work." - Review and Herald, March 22, 1887.

"Who of our youth can know anything of what is truth, in comparison with error, unless they are acquainted with the Scriptures? The simplicity of true godliness must be brought into the education of our young people, if they are to have divine knowledge to escape the corruptions that are in the world through lust. Those who are truly the followers of Christ, will not serve God only when it is in accordance with their inclination, but, as well, when it involves self-denial and cross-bearing." - {CE 113.1}

Will you stand today an onward as a self-denying, cross-bearing Christian and Israelite how abides in God alone? Will you surrender self to Christ and make right what you have done previously wrong? Have you neglected practical living and want to have that revival of true godliness? Do you want to surrender your will to God and fulfill the requirements of the law of love? I know I have neglected doing right for a long time in my life. And I know God took me out of the miry clay and put me upon the solid Rock of Ages. That Rock how also is the law and will of the Lord. I beseech ye brethren to put away the arm of the flesh and take up the cross of our Savior. Make right was is wrong among you and conform to the will of the Lord, even if it´s hard and inconvenient do not excuse sin and do not hide the requirements of the covenant of the Lord anymore in a clock of baptized heathenism. Do not follow the Lord only when it suits you. Be a true Israelite in the strength of our risen Savior and subdue the the world.

Lord and heavenly Father. Thank you for the plainly reveled will of Yours in the Word. Thanks for the true righteousness of Christ and for Your counsels Lord. Forgive us our sins and blot out our iniquities. Create in us a new heart, a heart that Your holy Spirit can write Your law upon. Give us strength to examine our behavior and our actions. Give us strength and heavenly wisdom to search the Scriptures for light to what we are supposed to do as we are pricked in the heart. Help us to love Your ways and fear the ways of man. Help us to discern right from wrong according to Your will and not our own will. Be with us today and bring into our lives a revival of true godliness. Bless us Lord according to Your will.

In Your Son and our Saviors precious name we pray,


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