Joshua 23:13
know for sure that the LORD your God will no longer drive out these nations before you. Instead, they will become for you a snare and a trap, a scourge in your sides and thorns in your eyes, until you perish from this good land that the LORD your God has given you.
Jehovah the Champion of IsraelW. G. Blaikie, D. D.Joshua 23:1-16
Old AgeJoshua 23:1-16

We are called to love God. It is not enough that we discharge our duty to our neighbour; we have a distinct duty to God (Malachi 1:6), This duty is not fulfilled by the most scrupulous devotion to external service alone. God claims the affection of our hearts.


(1) It has all the qualities of genuine love.

(a) It is personal. We love God in loving goodness and all things Godlike; but the perfect love of God implies a personal relation between our soul and His. We love Him as our Father.

(b) It is seen in the delight we have in God, the attraction He is to us, our desire to be in His presence, and the greater brightness of our lives as we grow nearer to Him. True love finds its greatest joy in loving. The love which is merely benevolent, which wishes well without feeling delight, is cold and faint.

(c) It is proved by sacrifice. Love sacrifices itself to death, and prefers the person loved to its own joy. So our love to God must lead to self devotion and willingness to suffer loss for His sake.

(2) It has special features of its own. There are different kinds of love, determined by the different relations of men, as friends, brothers, parents and children, husbands and wives. Our relation to God is unlike any other relation, and the love which flows from this must have a peculiar character. God stands to us in the ideal of all relations, as the friend, the father, the husband of His people, and our love to God should be the perfection and ideal of all love. Still God needs no help from us; therefore the element of pity which characterises the love of the strong to the weak does not belong to this love. God is unseen and spiritual; therefore our love to Him does not naturally take the form of sensuous rapture, but rather that of calm and rational devotion. God is infinitely above us; therefore our love to Him must be inspired with reverence and humility. In its perfection it must become an all-absorbing devotion. Yet even then it will be characterised by strength and depth rather than by passion and visible emotion.

II. THE SOURCES OF LOVE TO GOD. We are to "take good heed " - an admonition which implies that it rests with us to cultivate our own love to God.

(1) Consider the grounds we have for loving God:

(a) In His love to us, seeing that He has loved us before seeking for our love, and has proved His love by His goodness in creation, providence, and redemption;

(b) in His nature, He attracts by the "beauty of holiness;" He is love; the more we know of God the more do we see of His goodness.

(2) Realise the presence of God. Love is strengthened by communion. Contemplation of God with faith in His personal presence will draw the soul near to Him, and deepen the feeling of affection to Him as a real being - "our Father" - and not as the mere abstraction of perfect attributes which is all that the name of God suggests to some men.

(3) Live in His spirit. As we love what God loves, as we grow like Him, as we approach Him in sympathy, we shall learn to love God.


(1) Obedience. We shall desire to serve and please Him, and shall do this more heartily than from fear, self interest, or a cold conviction of duty (Romans 13:10).

(2) Likeness to God. Love naturally assimilates by the influence of

(a) admiration and

(b) sympathy.

(3) Love to man. This is a direct fruit of love to God, because

(a) it pleases Him,

(b) it is Godlike,

(c) love to God must flow out in all forms of unselfishness and benevolence (1 John 4:20).

(4) The highest blessedness. Heaven consists in the enjoyment of God through love. He secures, on earth, peace and satisfaction to the deepest yearnings of the soul. - W.F.A.

Take good heed therefore unto yourselves.
The Christian life is a warfare, and there are several common mistakes made thereupon. For example —

I. WHEN IT IS SUPPOSED THAT THE ENEMIES TO BE FOUGHT AGAINST ARE ALL EXTERNAL FOES. This is a very prevalent error. Where conversion is believed to be always a sudden change, and not a matter of growth, there converts are cautioned against dangers that lie without, while left in ignorance of the greater dangers that are still within. There are external foes, but these are not all. There are inward foes, such as —

(1)Evil tempers;

(2)passionate and ungovernable wills;




(6)anger, &c.

II. IT IS ALSO A MISTAKE TO SUPPOSE THAT THE ENEMIES TO BE FOUGHT AGAINST ARE CHIEFLY EXTERNAL ONES. With all his warnings against surrounding foes, Joshua was most emphatic in his exhortation to watchfulness over one's own heart, "Take good heed therefore unto yourselves." In this sense a man's enemies are they of his own house. The greatest temptations arise from that inner tendency to corruption, but for which the outward influences would be well-nigh powerless. Many a man has been his own tempter (James 1:14).


1. This cannot be done except by the exercise of constant watchfulness.

2. Self-cultivation also is necessary. When will men learn that religion is no dreamy sentimentalism, but a stern and living reality? "The grace of God in the heart of man is a tender plant in a strange, unkindly soil, and, therefore, cannot well prosper and grow without much care and pains, and that of a skilful hand." Let us, then, "take heed to ourselves." Let us keep the fortress of our own heart. Let us do battle with the foes of our own household. Thus shall we be "more than conquerors"; for "he that ruleth his own spirit is better than he that taketh a city."

(Frederic Wagstaff.)

We can have no aspirations unless we know what we lack, and we cannot properly cultivate our spiritual life unless we recognise the symptoms of its vitality or decay. A gardener would be failing in his duty if he did not notice the withering of a flower, which was only wanting more room in which to spread its roots. A mother would be justly blamed if she was too absorbed in making her child's dress for a coming party to notice the pale face and heavy eyes which fore told an illness demanding instant attention. Far heavier is the responsibility resting on us to consider our own condition.

(A. Rowland, B. A.)

No sane man fails to form some opinion of himself. We cannot help knowing, for example, whether our temper is quick or dull, whether our imagination is vivid or torpid, any more than we can be ignorant of the fact that we are tall or short. But we ought not to leave this self-judgment to transient feelings, or to spasmodic revelations — but should try to shape it by sober thought. Some people tell us that it is best not to think of ourselves at all, but to absorb ourselves in daily duty, leaving ourselves simply in God's hands, so far as religious life is concerned. No doubt this is partly true: and we must not forget that self-introspection has its dangers as well as its uses. It would, for example, be quite possible to subject our motives to such close and constant scrutiny as to take away all momentum from life: but no sensible man would be so particular about dust on the engine, as to neglect keeping up steam.

(A. Rowland, B. A.)

That ye love the Lord.
The Hive.
1. Because if you do not love God, your obedience will be worthless.

2. Because if you do love Him, obedience will be easy.

3. Because there are so many things that compete for your love.

4. Because if you love God, you will love only good things, and those in a proper measure.

5. Because if you love God, you will love what God loves, and especially His Son Jesus Christ.

(The Hive.)


II. WE ARE IN DANGER OF PERVERTING HIS GOODNESS TO A VERY DIFFERENT PURPOSE. The caution given in the text plainly implies this, and the subsequent history of the Jewish nation as plainly proves that the caution was necessary.

III. To love the Lord our God is not only the return He expects for His benefits, but THE RETURN HE DEMANDS. It is not only just and reasonable in its own nature, but it is likewise absolutely necessary on our part — nay, it is the one thing needful, the withholding of which shall unavoidably be attended with the most fatal consequences.

(R. Walker.)

Canaan, Great Sea, Jordan River
Assuredly, Backs, Cause, Certainly, Certainty, Continue, Continuing, Cut, Danger, Dispossess, Drive, Driving, Gin, Ground, Instead, Longer, Nations, Perish, Pricks, Scourge, Scourges, Sides, Sight, Sin, Snare, Snares, Thorns, Till, Trap, Traps, Whip, Whips
1. Joshua's exhortation before his death
3. by former benefits
5. by promises
11. and by threatenings

Dictionary of Bible Themes
Joshua 23:9-13

     4540   weeds

Joshua 23:10-13

     8741   failure

Joshua 23:12-13

     4520   thorns
     5345   influence
     5589   trap

Joshua 23:12-16

     5467   promises, divine

But He, Knowing the Custom, and Fearing that his Body Would be Treated This...
91. But he, knowing the custom, and fearing that his body would be treated this way, hastened, and having bidden farewell to the monks in the outer mountain entered the inner mountain, where he was accustomed to abide. And after a few months he fell sick. Having summoned those who were there--they were two in number who had remained in the mountain fifteen years, practising the discipline and attending on Antony on account of his age--he said to them, I, as it is written [1143] , go the way of the
Athanasius—Select Works and Letters or Athanasius

A Summary of Israel's Faithlessness and God's Patience
'And an angel of the Lord came up from Gilgal to Bochim, and said, I made you to go up out of Egypt, and have brought you unto the land which I sware unto your fathers; and I said, I will never break my covenant with you. 2. And ye shall make no league with the inhabitants of this land; ye shall throw down their altars: but ye have not obeyed my voice: why have ye done this? 3. Wherefore I also said, I will not drive them out from before you; but they shall be as thorns in your sides, and their gods
Alexander Maclaren—Expositions of Holy Scripture

Everybody's Need.
Some have the idea that this blessing of the Fullness is only for a favored few, for such as have some special work to do for God, but not for ordinary folk, "for auld wives and wabsters" in their homespun. Surely this is one of the devil's champion lies! Alas! alas! that it has found such credence! The Infilling is what makes this promise true, "He that is feeble among them at that day shall be as David; and the house of David shall be as God" (Zech. xii. 8), so that "one man of you shall chase
John MacNeil—The Spirit-Filled Life

The book of Joshua is the natural complement of the Pentateuch. Moses is dead, but the people are on the verge of the promised land, and the story of early Israel would be incomplete, did it not record the conquest of that land and her establishment upon it. The divine purpose moves restlessly on, until it is accomplished; so "after the death of Moses, Jehovah spake to Joshua," i. 1. The book falls naturally into three divisions: (a) the conquest of Canaan (i.-xii.), (b) the settlement of the
John Edgar McFadyen—Introduction to the Old Testament

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