Now that all the children of Israel have settled into their land, it is time for Reuben, Gad, and half the tribe of Manasseh to go back to their homes on the east side of the Jordan. But before they go they decide to build a large altar on the border of Canaan, on the west side of the Jordan. Well this gets the Israelites all fired up because the Lord instructed them back in the wilderness to only worship Him in the one place He chooses (Deuteronomy 12). Reuben, Gad, and half the tribe of Manasseh explain that they were not planning to worship there but that it was just a memorial for all the descendants to remember that they belong to the Lord their God. This explanation pleases the Israelites so there is peace. And the children of Reuben and Gad “called the altar, Witness, ‘For it is a witness between us that the Lord is God.’”
After the Lord had given rest to Israel from all their enemies, about fourteen years after the conquest of the land, Joshua, now old in age, called for all Israel, for their elders, for their heads, for their judges, and for their officers. Joshua reminds them that the Lord gave them the promised land and says to them – “Therefore be very courageous to keep and to do all that is written in the Book of the Law of Moses, lest you turn aside from it to the right hand or to the left, and lest you go among these nations, these who remain among you. You shall not make mention of the name of their gods, nor cause anyone to swear by them; you shall not serve them nor bow down to them, but you shall hold fast to the Lord your God, as you have done to this day….Therefore take careful heed to yourselves, that you love the Lord your God. Or else, if indeed you do go back, and cling to the remnant of these nations—these that remain among you—and make marriages with them, and go in to them and they to you, know for certain that the Lord your God will no longer drive out these nations from before you. But they shall be snares and traps to you, and scourges on your sides and thorns in your eyes, until you perish from this good land which the Lord your God has given you.”
We end the reading with Joshua renewing the covenant with the people. He reminds them of all that the Lord has done by doing what? He tells His Story! 📖 He starts with Abraham in the Patriarch Era and goes through to the present Conquest Era. After Joshua reminds Israel all that the Lord has done for them through the promises He made to the patriarchs, and by bringing them out of Egypt and defeating their enemies in the wilderness, and by giving them the land in Canaan, Joshua says to them – “I have given you a land for which you did not labor, and cities which you did not build, and you dwell in them; you eat of the vineyards and olive groves which you did not plant.”
“Now therefore, fear the Lord, serve Him in sincerity and in truth, and put away the gods which your fathers served on the other side of the River and in Egypt. Serve the Lord! And if it seems evil to you to serve the Lord, choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve, whether the gods which your fathers served that were on the other side of the River, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land you dwell. But as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.”
It seems sort of crazy that the people are still battling with idolatry and that Joshua again has to tell them to put away their false gods. However, all the people respond to Joshua and say YES! “The Lord our God we will serve and His voice we will obey!” And they will…for a moment. Joshua dies at the age of one hundred and ten years old ending the Conquest Era. 🎉 Tomorrow we begin a very dark time in Israel’s history called the Judges Era where a new generation will arise who does not know the Lord. Keep reading.
Creation Era (Gen 1:1-11:26)✅
Patriarch Era (Gen 11:27-50:26 and Job)✅
Exodus Era (Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, and Deuteronomy) ✅
Conquest Era (Joshua) ✅
Judges Era (Judges and Ruth) up next!
Eras to follow:
Kingdom, Divided Kingdom, Captivity, Return, Silent, Gospel, Church, Missions, and End Times/New Beginnings