Growing with God: A daily devotional with Tonia Slimm.
Joshua 23:6-8 (NIV)
“Be very strong; be careful to obey all that is written in the Book of the Law of Moses, without turning aside to the right or to the left. Do not associate with these nations that remain among you; do not invoke the names of their gods or swear by them. You must not serve them or bow down to them. But you are to hold fast to the Lord your God, as you have until now.
Joshua 23:6-8 (MSG)
“Now, stay strong and steady. Obediently do everything written in the Book of The Revelation of Moses—don’t miss a detail. Don’t get mixed up with the nations that are still around. Don’t so much as speak the names of their gods or swear by them. And by all means don’t worship or pray to them. Hold tight to God, your God, just as you’ve done up to now.
“Be steadfast and very determined to keep and to do everything that is written in the Book of the Law of Moses, so that you do not turn aside from it to the right or the left, so that you do not associate with these nations which remain among you, or mention the name of their gods, or make anyone swear [an oath by them], or serve them, or bow down to them. But you are to cling to the Lord your God, just as you have done to this day.” -AMPLIFIED
In his closing words of wisdom to the people of Israel Joshua admonishes them to stay strong and remain steadfast in their relationship with God. For it will require a courageous heart and a strong spirit keep on keeping on obediently following the commands of the Good Lord in the midst of a land that was full of pagan nations posturing themselves before false gods. This is why Joshua cautioned them to not associate with these other nations. It is very easy to fall into the patterns of the people that you spend the most time with.
Theodore Epp in his devotional entitled “Courageous in Godly Living” wrote: “God’s people were not to copy the heathen forms of worship but to be completely separated from them. There was to be no coexistence with the enemy. This is also true in the Christian life. There is to be a putting off of what is evil and a putting on of the armor of God (see Ephesians 6:10-17). The Israelites were to cleave to the Lord their God and put off the ways and beliefs of the Canaanites.”
“So be firm and unswerving, observing all that is written in the law of Moses without deviation. That will ensure that you don’t start to blend in with the other nations around you or call upon their gods or worship them or serve them. Just hold tightly to the Eternal One, your True God, as you always have…” -(VOICE)
Joshua advises the people to hold tightly, fast or cling to the Lord “your” God. This was going to be a personal decision. Joshua could not make this choice for them. Each person needed to make this resolution on their own and it needed to be an intimate decision that they could follow through with purposefulness and a determination. (This was not to be a decision made with hesitation or indifference.)
It all goes back to these words that Moses spoke to the people about their relationship with God: “Listen, Israel! The Eternal is our True God—He alone. You should love Him, your True God, with all your heart and soul, with every ounce of your strength. Make the things I’m commanding you today part of who you are. Repeat them to your children. Talk about them when you’re sitting together in your home and when you’re walking together down the road. Make them the last thing you talk about before you go to bed and the first thing you talk about the next morning. Do whatever it takes to remember them: tie a reminder on your hand and bind a reminder on your forehead where you’ll see it all the time, such as on the doorpost where you cross the threshold or on the city gate.” -Deuteronomy 6:4-9 (VOICE)
Throughout Scripture we can find verses admonishing us to stay true to God and His commands:
1.) “Stay true to my directives, and they will serve you well; make my teachings the lens through which you see life.” -Proverbs 7:2 (VOICE)
2.) “Not even this hodge-podge of idols you call gods can help you. They’ll not come to your aid if you cry for help. They’re nothing. A gentle breeze could blow them away; a breath could topple them, but whoever stays true to Me, whoever looks to Me for help and support will inherit the land and possess My holy mountain.” -Isaiah 57:13 (VOICE)
3.) “I know [your deeds and] where you live. It is where Satan, the adversary, has established his throne. You have stayed true to My name, and you did not deny your trust in Me even in the eventful days of My faithful witness, Antipas. He was killed among you in that place where Satan dwells.” -Revelation 2:13 (VOICE)
4.) “My father, with his years of experience, became my teacher. Father: Son, grab on to every word I say to you—hold them close— stay true to my instructions as you live, and they will serve you well.” -Proverbs 4:4 (VOICE)
“He wants all or nothing. The thought of a person calling himself a ‘Christian’ without being a devoted follower of Christ is absurd.” -Francis Chan (Crazy Love: Overwhelmed by a Relentless God)
Be careful! Stay strong and steadfast in your walk with God; in order that you may stay true to Him.
Father, may I always remain true to you. I am nothing without you, Lord; this I know quite well. Help me to remain faithful to you in every area of my life. I want to be obedient to what you have called me to do. Give me the strength and steadfastness to carry on to the very end. Lord, I am yours!