Joshua 23:8
Instead, you shall hold fast to the LORD your God, as you have done to this day.
Jehovah the Champion of IsraelW. G. Blaikie, D. D.Joshua 23:1-16
Old AgeJoshua 23:1-16
Cleaving unto the LordW.F. Adeney Joshua 23:6-8
Religious Stability EnforcedSketches Four Hundred SermonsJoshua 23:8-9
The Necessity of Every One's Cleaving to God Who Wishes Well to the Support of His CountryBp. Trelawney.Joshua 23:8-9


(1) Personal devotion. God seeks the devotion of our hearts. It is inward and spiritual, and not merely a fact of visible conduct. It implies drawing near to God in prayer, walking with God, delighting in Him, seeking to be like Him, aiming at pleasing Him.

(2) Active obedience. Joshua exhorts the people to "be very courageous," "to keep and to do all that is written in the book of the law of Moses." Devotion of heart is a mockery unless it leads to obedience in conduct. We must cleave to God in action as well as in feeling.

(3) Purity. The people are exhorted to avoid the contamination of heathen society and the sin of idolatry. Anything that takes the place of God in our heart is an idol. All sinful pleasures and worldly interests that are not consistent with pure devotion to God separate us from Him and vitiate our service. God cannot accept our sacrifices while we approach Him with sinful affections (Isaiah 1:18).

II. THE DANGER. Joshua saw that there was a danger that the people should cease to "cleave unto the Lord." This arose from various causes:

(1) Prosperity. It was now "a long time after that the Lord had given rest unto Israel." In times of prosperity we are often off our guard, and become indolent, and hence are in danger.

(2) Bad example. The Canaanites who remained in the land would be a source of temptation to idolatry and immorality. We need to be especially careful if we are surrounded by those who live worldly and unholy lives. The influence of an ever present example is insidious and powerful.

(3) The inherent difficulty of duty. The people were exhorted not to turn aside to the right hand or to the left. The path of duty is narrow (Matthew 7:18, 14). There are many wrong ways, but only one right way.

(4) The loss of an old leader. Joshua was about to die. He feared for the people after his guiding hand was removed. When trusted leaders are called away the Church is thrown back on the individual responsibility of its members to preserve its fidelity.

III. THE MOTIVES FOR OVERCOMING THE DANGER AND FULFILLING THE DUTY. The great source of devotion is love to God. Joshua says, "Take good heed, therefore, unto yourselves, that ye love the Lord your God." We cannot cleave to the Lord out of a mere sense of duty. We must feel attracted by the influence of His love to us, rousing our love to Him (Hosea 11:4). This influence will be realised as we reflect upon the goodness of God in the past. Joshua appeals to the experience of the people and theft memory of God's great goodness and powerful help. We have not only the providential grace of God to reflect upon, but also the wonderful love He has revealed in the sacrifice of Christ (2 Corinthians 5:14). If we have been at all faithful in the past, the thought of this fact should stimulate us to maintain our fidelity. Joshua says, "Cleave unto the Lord your God as ye have done unto this day." Past devotion is no security against future unfaithfulness. But it is a motive to fidelity, because, failing this, the fruits of the labour and sacrifice of the past will be lost; because the habits of the past will make it easier to be true in the future - the greater difficulties being overcome, it would be foolish to yield before the lesser; and because the experience of the blessings which accompany fidelity should make us see that our joy and peace are in "cleaving unto the Lord." - W. F. A.

Cleave unto the Lord your God, as ye have done unto this day.
I. SIN HAS NATURALLY IN ITSELF A TENDENCY TO THE RUIN OF ANY NATION. We may easily see that when a people grow regardless of the laws of God they want the greatest obligations of obedience to the laws of men.

II. SIN MAKES GOD AN ENEMY. God presides with a peculiar providence over societies and communities of men. We may learn from the history of all past ages and the frequent smart of our own that the government of God is ever administered according to the nature of men's actions; that He dispenses His favour to a people, or withdraws it from them, as virtue or vice, religion or impiety, respectively prevail among them. But perhaps it may be said by some who are ready to impute all successes to themselves, "What need we to call in Providence in all difficulties?" Now this, give me leave to prove more particularly, by considering those three main props on which the weight of states and empires may seem to them, who look not far into things and their causes, wholly to rely; that is, worldly providence, or policy in contriving; courage and force in executing great designs; and a wise improvement of both these, by firm and well-grounded confederacies. But alas! in these, barely considered, there can be no safety, because no human foresight can reach those many accidents, the least of which may alter the best-laid counsels; nor any human courage, though never so well seconded, be sure to execute them, since the very execution of them is attended with so many circumstances as may produce effects quite different from what they proposed.


1. That all national favours flow purely from God, I will presume has been sufficiently proved, as being beyond the single or united force of human policy, courage, or the firmest alliances: if so, what is it more than our bounden duty, and justice, to acknowledge unfeignedly the gift to God, who desires no more for the giving it? He is not bettered by our thanksgivings, yet is pleased with the gratitude.

2. We ought to break off the course of those sins which will estrange God from us, and deprive us hereafter of all such extraordinary successes.

(Bp. Trelawney.)

Sketches Four Hundred Sermons.
I. THE DUTY THE TEXT RECOMMENDS. Cleaving unto the Lord evidently implies —

1. Previous union with Him.

2. Faithful adherence to Him. Our religion must be uniform and constant; we must not only come to the Lord as humble penitents, but also adhere to Him as His indefatigable servants.(1) We should cleave to His name; as the fountain of all goodness, from whom we receive every blessing; and therefore should continue to love, obey, hope, and trust in Him, as the God of our salvation (Isaiah 12:2; Habakkuk 3:18).(2) We should cleave to His Word; by faithfully reading its contents, imbibing its doctrines, obeying its precepts, and by making it the perpetual subject of our meditation and prayers, and the infallible rule of our faith and conduct (Psalm 119:18, 148; John 5:39; 2 Timothy 3:16, 17).(3) We should cleave to His ways; by diligently discharging all personal and relative duties, constantly attending all the means of grace, working out our salvation with fear and trembling, and by "walking in all the commandments and ordinances blameless."(4) We should cleave to Him at all times: in prosperity and adversity, in tribulation and distress, in health and affliction, in life and death; implicitly trusting "in the Lord for ever; for in the Lord Jehovah is everlasting strength."

II. THE IMPORTANCE THE TEXT INVOLVES. This evidently appears, both from the solemnity of the occasion on which it was delivered, and the fervency of the manner in which it was urged on the tribes of Israel.

1. This duty is reasonable (John 6:67-69; Romans 12:1, 2).

2. This duty is honourable. Instability in religion is peculiarly disgraceful (2 Peter 2:20-22). It is extremely weak and childish, and should be carefully avoided, as displeasing to God, and dishonourable to our holy profession (Ephesians 4:14).

3. This duty is profitable. It is only by cleaving unto the Lord that we can maintain personal piety, overcome our enemies, encounter difficulties, rejoice evermore, triumph over death, and "lay hold on eternal life" (Deuteronomy 4:3, 4; Psalm 57:7; 2 Timothy 4:7, 8).

4. This duty is indispensable. Final perseverance is necessary to final salvation. He only that "endures to the end shall be saved" (1 Corinthians 15:2; Romans 2:7; 2 Peter 1:10, 11).


(Sketches Four Hundred Sermons.)

Canaan, Great Sea, Jordan River
Cleave, Cling, Fast, Hold, Till
1. Joshua's exhortation before his death
3. by former benefits
5. by promises
11. and by threatenings

Dictionary of Bible Themes
Joshua 23:8

     8418   endurance

Joshua 23:6-8

     5345   influence

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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