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Joshua 23 begins a long time after Joshua 22, and we read that the land had been given rest. Joshua was now old and advanced in years, and he tells the leaders of the people (through whom his message would reach all Israel) that he is about to go the way of all the earth (v.14). The people are reminded, again, that is has been the Lord who has established them in their land and has driven out their enemies (v.3, 5, 10) and that not one thing that the Lord promised has not come to pass (v.14).
Joshua reiterates that there should be no mixing with those people that are driven out before them, simply, because there shouldn’t be any cultural assimilation (vv.7-8), and then the covenant of blessings for obedience and curses for disobedience is re-stated (vv.14-16, cf. Leviticus 26, Deuteronomy 28).
Sometimes with chapters like this, we can find it hard to pull out a principle for ourselves or see how they are relevant to our lives today. We confidently assert that we are not living under this covenant anymore, don’t we, but do we know why?
Do we know why are we not subject to the ‘obedience = blessings, disobedience = curses‘ way of interacting with God anymore?
The covenant agreement, the way we interact with God, is now, simply, better. Hebrews 8.6-7 tells us that
“…now Jesus has obtained a superior ministry, since the covenant that he mediates is also better and is enacted on better promises”.
Jesus is better than all the priests that went before Him and the agreement, covenant, that He mediates between God and man is better. You and I have the opportunity to interact with God in better ways than the people we are reading about in Joshua because we have been redeemed by the curse of the law, as Paul writes (Galatians 3.10-14).
By seeing how things were, by seeing the perilous line between blessings and curses that people walked we can appreciate the steady surety of a walk with Jesus, knowing that by faith we are heading towards the ultimate blessing, eternal life.
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