Promises and Power – Message 10
March 12, 2023
I. Introduction: This morning, we conclude our series, Promises and Power.
A. The title to today’s message is Commitment.
- Theme verse: Joshua 24:15 (NLT)— “…choose today whom you will serve. …”
Joshua was concerned that the people would lapse into idolatry because of
the influence of Canaanites who remained, which would cause them to lose
their Promised Land.
After challenging Israel’s leaders (ch.23), Joshua called for an assembly
of all the people for a ceremony of covenant renewal at a location with
Joshua 24:1 (NLT)—
Then Joshua summoned all the tribes of Israel to Shechem, including
their elders, leaders, judges, and officers. So they came and presented
themselves to God.
At Shechem, God first promised the land to Abraham’s descendants (Genesis
12:6-7); here, Jacob built an altar to the God of Israel (Genesis 33:20),
and instructed his family to get rid of their idols (Genesis 35:1-4); so
this place represented Israel’s relationship with God.
Joshua used several arguments to encourage the people to commitment
themselves wholeheartedly to their God after he was gone. (His farewell
He reminded them of God’s goodness, His grace (undeserved blessing,
B. Commitment to God encouraged by…
1. Results of God’s grace
[which included His]. (Joshua 24:2-13)
• Call to faith.
(Joshua 24:2-4. C/R: 2 Corinthians 5:20; Titus 1:1)
- Joshua 24:2 (NLT)—
Joshua said to the people, “This is what the Lord, the God of Israel,
says: Long ago your ancestors, including Terah, the father of Abraham
and Nahor, lived beyond the Euphrates River
[in Ur of the Chaldees], and they worshiped other gods.
God did not call Abraham because of his faith, or even his goodness; he was
an unbeliever, who like other Chaldeans, worshipped many gods, but supreme
among them was Nanna, the moon god, who was the source of fertility for
crops, herds, and families.
Abraham didn’t seek God; God called Abraham because of His own
grace and love.
Joshua 24:3 (NLT)—
But I took your ancestor Abraham from the land beyond the Euphrates and
led him into the land of Canaan.
[Genesis 11:27-12:9; Acts 7:2] I gave him many descendants through his son Isaac. [Genesis
21:1-3] 4 To Isaac I gave Jacob and Esau. [Genesis
25:19-26] To Esau I gave the mountains of Seir [Genesis 36:8] , while Jacob and his children went down into Egypt.” [to survive
a famine; Jacob’s (renamed Israel) sons b/c 12 tribes of Israel in Egypt,
where Joseph was in charge; Genesis 46:1-6; Romans 9:6-13]
Abraham left his home by faith and went to a land promised to him by faith,
because he didn’t receive it—and neither did his descendants—Isaac or Jacob
Abraham believed God’s promise, and God counted him as righteous because of his faith.” (Romans 4:3;
Galatians 3:6; James 2:23)
Like Abraham, we were invited into relationship with God, who made promises
to us also, not because of anything good we had done, but because of the
goodness and love of God.
APP.: Have you answered God’s call to faith? Are you journeying where He
Another result of God’s grace is…
• Conversion to freedom.
(Joshua 24:5-7. C/R: John 8:34-36; Romans 6:20-22)
Egypt was saved from starvation because of Joseph; but long after Joseph’s
death, Egyptian rulers became threatened by the Jews, so they enslaved
them. (Exodus 3:7–9; Psalm 105:16-25).
Joshua 24:5-7 (NLT)—5 “Then I sent Moses and Aaron
[Exodus 4:3-17; Psalm 105:26] , and I brought terrible plagues on Egypt [Exodus 7-12; Psalm
105:27-36]; and afterward I brought you out as a free people.
[Psalm 105:37-38] 6 But when your ancestors arrived at the Red Sea
[Exodus 14:1-4] , the Egyptians chased after you with chariots and charioteers.
When your ancestors cried out to the Lord, I put darkness between you
and the Egyptians. I brought the sea crashing down on the Egyptians,
drowning them. With your very own eyes you saw what I did. Then you
lived in the wilderness for many years.”
[Because of their unbelief at Kadesh Barnea; 40 years in wilderness for 40
days of scouting; Joshua 5:6; Numbers 14:26-36; Deuteronomy 2:7]
Through His power, God delivered Israel from slavery, protected them and
provided for them.
We too, have been released from slavery (bondage) to sin by faith (John
8:34-36; Romans 6:20–22), protected from Satan’s attacks (Ephesians
6:10-20), provided with all of our needs (Philippians 4:19).
APP. Do you reflect on the freedom you have received by God’s grace:
freedom from sin, freedom from Satan, freedom from need?
An additional result of God’s grace…
• Conquest of Promised Land.
(Joshua 24:8-13. C/R: Ephesians 3:19-20; 2 Peter 1:3–4)
- Joshua 24:8-12 (NLT)—
“Finally, I brought you into the land of the Amorites on the east side
of the Jordan. They fought against you, but I destroyed them before
you. I gave you victory over them, and you took possession of their
[vs. 9-10: King Balak of Moab asked evil prophet Balaam to curse Israel,
but God forced him to bless them. Numbers 22-24] …”
“When you crossed the Jordan River and came to Jericho, the men of
Jericho fought against you, as did the Amorites, the Perizzites, the
Canaanites, the Hittites, the Girgashites, the Hivites, and the
Jebusites. But I gave you victory over them. 12 And I sent
[literally the hornet—a symbol of the sting of fear; Exodus
23:27-28] ahead of you to drive out the two kings of the Amorites
[Sihon and Og] . It was not your swords or bows that brought you victory.”
The terror resulted from reports of Israel’s conquests [Rahab (Joshua 2:11)
and Gibeon (Joshua 9:3)].
Except for a temporary defeat at Ai (Joshua 7), and an avoidable deception
by Gibeon (Joshua 9), Joshua and his army defeated every enemy in the land,
because the Lord fought the battle.
God gave Israel the Promised Land; He also provided what they would need to
Joshua 24:13 (NLT)—
“I gave you land you had not worked on, and I gave you towns you did
not build—the towns where you are now living. I gave you vineyards and
olive groves for food, though you did not plant them.”
[God provided for them generously, bountifully.]
God has graciously given us His Promised Land as well; not heaven, because
that comes later, after this life has ended; instead, He has given life in
the Spirit—born again, in relationship with God, led by the Holy Spirit—but
still battling with adversaries that war with our souls—temptations and
difficulties, struggles and suffering, physical, emotional and spiritual.
APP.: Do you recognize and value what God has given you, the promises He
Commitment to God is also encouraged by…
• Rejecting worldly idols.
(Joshua 24:14-28. C/R: Romans 12:1-2; Colossians 3:3–6; 1 John 2:15–17; 5:21)
- Joshua 24:14 (NLT)—“So fear the Lord and serve [worship] Him wholeheartedly [w. integrity, faithfulness]
. Put away forever the idols your ancestors worshiped when they lived
beyond the Euphrates River
[Abraham] and in Egypt. Serve the Lord alone.”
Some were worshiping idols secretly, apparently Joshua knew. (Amos 5:25-26;
Joshua 24:15-16, 18-19 (NLT)—
“But if you refuse to serve the Lord, then choose today whom you will
[You can’t serve the true God and false ones at the same time! Matthew
Would you prefer the gods your ancestors served beyond the Euphrates?
Or will it be the gods of the Amorites
[refers to all Canaanites] in whose land you now live? [Gods from
past or present?] But as for me and my family, we will serve the Lord.”
The people replied, “We would never abandon the Lord and serve other
[Then they repeated as their reasons Joshua had just spoken: God rescued
them from Egypt, preserved them in the wilderness, drove out enemies in the
… So we, too, will serve the Lord, for He alone is our God.”
[But Joshua was not so sure.]
Then Joshua warned the people, “You are not able to serve the Lord
[in own strength], for He is a holy and jealous God. [Requires
absolute loyalty, if disloyal…]
He will not forgive your rebellion and your sins. 20 If you
abandon the Lord and serve other gods, He will turn against you and
destroy you, even though He has been so good to you.”
Joshua challenged the commitment of these people, warning them that, though
God had been good and gracious to them, they must not assume He would
overlook their sins.
He would punish unfaithfulness, even removing them from the land He had
Joshua 24:21 (NLT)— But the people answered Joshua, “No, we will serve the Lord!”
They seemed determined to convince Joshua, when they should have
thought carefully, seriously, before answering, even asking for
instruction, assistance, and prayer.
APP.: How many of us are more interested in convincing each other that we
are Christians than connecting with God for His affirmation? (ILL. Some get
angry when questioned!)
Joshua 24:22-31 (NLT)—
“You are a witness to your own decision,” Joshua said. “You have chosen
to serve the Lord.”
[They weren’t forced into declaring faith in God alone.]
“Yes,” they replied, “we are witnesses to what we have said.”
“All right then,” Joshua said, “destroy the idols among you, and turn
your hearts to the Lord, the God of Israel.”
[Actual idols, also inner disloyal attitudes. Will you?]
The people said to Joshua, “We will serve the Lord our God. We will
obey Him alone.”
[3rd time they declared they would serve only God.]
So Joshua made a covenant with the people that day at Shechem,
committing them to follow the decrees and regulations of the Lord.
[A commitment of their lives for life.]
Joshua recorded these things in the Book of God’s Instructions.
[added to Deuteronomy]
As a reminder of their agreement, he took a huge stone and rolled it
beneath the terebinth tree beside the Tabernacle of the Lord.
[APP.: Do you have reminders of decisions?]
Joshua said to all the people, “This stone has heard everything the
Lord said to us. It will be a witness to testify against you if you go
back on your word to God.”
Then Joshua sent all the people away to their own homelands.
After this, Joshua son of Nun, the servant of the Lord, died at the age
of 110. 30 They buried him in the land he had been
allocated, …in the hill country of Ephraim….
The people of Israel served the Lord throughout the lifetime of Joshua
and of the elders who outlived him—those who had personally experienced
all that the Lord had done for Israel.
[Influence of people who experienced God; later, they strayed into idolatry
and immorality, Satan’s most common tools of temptation.]
APP: Will you commit to worship and serve God alone? Will you covenant your
Memory verse: Joshua 24:15 (NLT)—
“But if you refuse to serve the Lord, then choose today whom you will
serve. … But as for me and my family, we will serve the Lord.”