God’s Covenant and Joshua

MEMORY SELECTION: “The Lord our God will we serve, and his voice will we obey.” —Joshua 24:24


JOSHUA had a long history of faithful service as Moses’ attendant. He was with Moses after the Red Sea crossing and figured in the defeat of the Amalekites. He was with Moses in the experience at Mount Sinai, when the Law Covenant was made with Israel. Joshua was one of the spies who were sent into the land of Canaan to spy out the land. Only Joshua and Caleb came back with a favorable report. Their courageous words reflected full confidence in God’s ability to fulfill his word. (Num. 3:2,3,16 – 14:9,24,30,38) Because of this, both Joshua and Caleb found favor with God.

Toward the close of Israel’s wandering in the wilderness, the time came when it was necessary for God to appoint a replacement for Moses and Aaron; for neither of them was to be permitted to enter the promised land, because of an act of disobedience. (Num. 20:1-13) Therefore God instructed Moses to commission Joshua as his successor. In the immediate presence of the new high priest (Aaron’s son Eleazar) and before the assembly of Israel, Moses placed his hands upon Joshua. Although appointed as Moses’ successor, Joshua was not to be like him in knowing God face to face. Not all Moses’ dignity was transferred to Joshua. He was given only those privileges that were necessary for him to have the respect of the nation. His communication with Jehovah was to be through the high priest, to whom had been entrusted the Urim and Thummim.—Num. 27:18-23; Deut. 1:37,38; 31:3; 34:9,10

The burden of the charge God instructed Moses to convey to Joshua was that he should lead the people in the way of the Lord according to the covenant the Lord had made with them at Mount Sinai. The words of the Lord spoken to Joshua are encouraging to all God’s servants. “There shall not any man be able to stand before thee all the days of thy life: as I was with Moses, so I will be with thee: I will not fail thee, nor forsake thee. Be strong and of a good courage: for unto this people shalt thou divide for an inheritance the land, which I sware unto their fathers to give them. Only be thou strong and very courageous, that thou mayest observe to do according to all the Law, which Moses my servant commanded thee: turn not from it to the right hand or to the left, that thou mayest prosper whithersoever thou goest. This Book of the Law shall not depart out of thy mouth.”—Josh. 1:5-8

Joshua was faithful to his commission. He served the Lord God and his people, the Israelites, according to the terms of the covenant. Toward the end of his life Joshua assembled Israel’s older men and heads of the tribes, judges and officers, and admonished them to serve the Lord in faithfulness, warning them of the consequences of disobedience. (Josh. 23:1-16) He also called together the entire congregation of Israel and reminded them of God’s dealings with them since they were a nation. (Josh. 24:16-28) His admonition was that they should be faithful to the covenant. Afterward, they renewed their covenant to obey Jehovah.

It is interesting to note that in admonishing the children of Israel Joshua repeated almost verbatim the words Jehovah had spoken to him at the beginning of his time of special service. “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.”—Josh. 23:6-8

Dawn Bible Students Association
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