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Day 88 – Joshua’s Last Words to Israel


Thoughts and Reflection

Today we read about Joshua’s last words to his people and the challenge he proposes to them. Joshua tells them that he knows the people will fail to follow the Lord but the Lord will not fail them. Joshua is challenging the people of Israel to fear the Lord and to serve him with faithfulness.

He tells them to put away the gods their faithers and other ancestors served and only serve the only Lord. If they are unwilling to serve the Lord, they must who they will serve. We have our own idols in our lives – money, success, comfort. We need to be decisive and serve the Jesus Christ.

Joshua proclaims the powerful words that we should all live by, “As for me and my house, we will serve the Lord” (Joshua 24:16).

About This Project

For the year 2022, I decided that my New Year’s Resolution was to read the whole Bible following the Bible in the Year plan presented by Fr. Mike Schmitz. It is a big and bold undertaking. You can follow along by subscribing. Feel free to look at previous day’s post and comment. It’s something we can all learn from together!

Daily Readings

Joshua 22

1 Joshua then summoned the Reubenites, the Gadites and the half-tribe of Manasseh

2 and said to them, ‘You have observed everything that Moses, servant of Yahweh, ordered you, and whenever I have given you an order you have listened to me.

3 You have not deserted your brothers, from long ago until today, keeping the observance of the commandment of Yahweh your God.

4 Now that Yahweh your God has granted your brothers the rest that he promised them, go back to your tents, to the country belonging to you which Moses, servant of Yahweh, gave you on the other side of the Jordan.

5 But take great care to practise the commandments and the Law which Moses, servant of Yahweh, has given you: to love Yahweh your God, always to follow his paths, to keep his commandments, to be loyal to him and to serve him with all your heart and with all your soul.

6 Joshua blessed them and sent them away, and they went home to their tents.

7 To one half of the tribe of Manasseh, Moses had given a territory in Bashan; to the other half, Joshua gave another among their brothers on the west bank of the Jordan. As Joshua sent them home to their tents, he blessed them

8 and said to them, ‘You are going back to your tents with great wealth, with a great deal of livestock, with silver and gold, bronze and iron and great quantities of clothing; share the spoils of your enemies with your brothers.’

9 The Reubenites, the Gadites and the half-tribe of Manasseh returned home, leaving the Israelites at Shiloh in Canaan, and made for Gilead, the territory which belonged to them as a result of Yahweh’s order given through Moses.

10 When they came to the stone circle by the Jordan, in Canaanite territory, the Reubenites, the Gadites and the half-tribe of Manasseh built an altar there beside the Jordan, a large, imposing altar.

11 This came to the ears of the Israelites. ‘Look,’ the word went round, ‘the Reubenites, the Gadites and the half-tribe of Manasseh have built this altar on the Canaanite side, near the stone circle by the Jordan, on the Israelites’ bank.’

12 At this news, the whole community of the Israelites mustered at Shiloh, to march against them and make war on them.

13 The Israelites sent the priest Phinehas son of Eleazar to the Reubenites, the Gadites and the half-tribe of Manasseh, in Gilead,

14 and with him ten leading men, one man from a leading family from each of the tribes of Israel, each of them being head of his family in the clans of Israel.

15 Having reached the Reubenites, the Gadites and the half-tribe of Manasseh in Gilead, they said this:

16 ‘The whole community of Israel says as follows, “What do you mean by this infidelity, which you have committed against the God of Israel by now repudiating your allegiance to Yahweh, and by building yourselves an altar with the intention now of rebelling against Yahweh?

17 “Was the crime which we committed at Peor so slight — although we have not managed to purify ourselves from that even now, in spite of the plague which has ravaged the community of Yahweh-

18 that you must now repudiate your allegiance to Yahweh? For since you are in rebellion against him today, tomorrow his anger will be aroused against the whole community of Israel.

19 “Is the country in which you have settled unclean? Then cross over into the country where Yahweh has settled, there where Yahweh’s Dwelling now stands, and settle among us. But do not rebel against Yahweh or involve us in your rebellion by building a rival altar to the altar of Yahweh our God.

20 When Achan son of Zerah was unfaithful to the curse of destruction, did not the retribution come down on the whole community of Israel, although he was only one man? Did he not have to die for his crime?” ‘

21 The Reubenites, the Gadites and the half-tribe of Manasseh spoke in their turn and answered the heads of the clans of Israel:

22 ‘The God of gods, Yahweh, the God of gods, Yahweh well knows, and let Israel know it too: if there has been rebellion or infidelity to Yahweh on our part, may he refuse to save us today!

23 And if we have built ourselves an altar with the intention of repudiating our allegiance to Yahweh and of presenting burnt offering and oblation or of offering communion sacrifices on it, may Yahweh himself call us to account for it!

24 The truth is, we have done this as a precaution: in the future, your descendants might say to ours, “What connection do you have with Yahweh, God of Israel?

25 Has not Yahweh set the frontier of the Jordan between us and you, you Reubenites and Gadites? You have no share in Yahweh.” Thus, your descendants would be the cause of stopping ours from fearing Yahweh.

26 ‘So we said to each other, “Let us build this altar, not for burnt offerings or other sacrifices

27 but as a witness between us and you and between our descendants after us, attesting that we too have the right to worship Yahweh, in his presence, with our burnt offerings, our victims and our communion sacrifices. And so, in the future your descendants will not be able to say to ours: You have no share in Yahweh.”

28 And we furthermore said, “If ever it were to happen that they did say this either to us or to our descendants in the future, we should reply: Look at this structure, Yahweh’s altar, made by our ancestors not for burnt offerings or other sacrifices but as a witness between us and you.” 

29 Far be it from us to rebel against Yahweh or now to repudiate our allegiance to Yahweh by building an altar for burnt offerings or oblations or sacrifices, in rivalry with the altar of Yahweh our God that stands before his Dwelling!’

30 When the priest Phinehas, the leaders of the community and the heads of the clans of Israel who were with him, heard the words spoken by the Gadites, the Reubenites and the Manassehites, they approved of them.

31 The priest Phinehas son of Eleazar then said to the Reubenites, the Gadites and the Manassehites, ‘Today, we can see that Yahweh is among us, since you have not been unfaithful to Yahweh in this matter; this means that you have spared the Israelites from Yahweh’s avenging hand.’ 

32 The priest Phinehas son of Eleazar and the leaders left the Reubenites and the Gadites and went back from Gilead to Canaan and the Israelites, to whom they reported the answer.

33 The Israelites were pleased to hear this; the Israelites gave thanks to God and spoke no more of marching against them to make waron them and to ravage the country inhabited by the Reubenites and the Gadites.

34 The Reubenites and the Gadites called the altar . . . , ‘Because’, they said, ‘it will be a witness between us that Yahweh is God.’

Joshua 23

1 Now long after Yahweh had given Israel rest from all the enemies surrounding them — Joshua was old now, far advanced in years-

2 Joshua summoned all Israel, their elders, leaders, judges and officials, and said to them, ‘I myself am old, far advanced in years;

3 you for your part have witnessed all that Yahweh your God has done to all these nations for your sake; Yahweh your God himself has fought for you.

4 Look, these nations still remaining, and all the nations which I have exterminated from the Jordan all the way to the Great Sea in the west, I have allotted to you as the heritage for your tribes.

5 Yahweh your God will himself drive them out before you; he will dispossess them before you and you will take possession of their country, as Yahweh your God has promised you.

6 ‘So be very firm about keeping and doing everything written in the Book of the Law of Moses, not swerving from that either to right or to left.

7 Never mix with the peoples who are still left beside you. Do not utter the names of their gods, do not swear by them, do not serve them and do not bow down to them.

8 On the contrary, you must be loyal to Yahweh your God as you have been till now.

9 Yahweh has dispossessed great and powerful nations before you, and no one so far has been able to resist you.

10 One man of you was able to rout a thousand of them, since Yahweh your God was himself fighting for you, as he had promised you.

11 Be very careful, as you value your life, to love Yahweh your God.

12 ‘But should you in any way relapse, if you make friends with the remnant of these nations still living beside you, if you intermarry with them, if you mix with them and they with you,

13 then know for certain that Yahweh your God will stop dispossessing these nations before you, and for you they will be a snare, a pitfall, thorns in your sides and thistles in your eyes, until you vanish from this fine country given you by Yahweh your God.

14 ‘Today, you see, I am going the way of all the earth. Acknowledge with all your heart and soul that of all the promises made to you by Yahweh your God, not one has failed: all have been fulfilled — not one has failed.

15 ‘As every promise made to you by Yahweh your God has been fulfilled for you, by the same token Yahweh will fulfil all his threats against you, even to exterminating you from this fine country given you by Yahweh your God.

16 ‘For if you violate the covenant which Yahweh your God has imposed on you, if you go and serve other gods and bow down to them, then Yahweh’s anger will be roused against you and you will quickly vanish from the fine country which he has given you.’

Joshua 24

1 Joshua gathered all the tribes of Israel together at Shechem; he then summoned all the elders of Israel, its leaders, judges and officials, and they presented themselves in God’s presence.

2 Joshua then said to all the people: ‘Yahweh, the God of Israel, says this, “From time immemorial, your ancestors, Terah, father of Abraham and Nahor, lived beyond the River, and served other gods.

3 I then brought your ancestor Abraham from beyond the River and led him through the length and breadth of Canaan. I increased his descendants and I gave him Isaac.

4 To Isaac I gave Jacob and Esau. To Esau I gave possession of the mountainous country of Seir. Jacob and his sons went down into Egypt.

5 I then sent Moses and Aaron, and plagued Egypt with the wonders that I worked there; finally I brought you out.

6 I brought your ancestors out of Egypt, and you came to the Sea; the Egyptians pursued your ancestors with chariots and horsemen, to the Sea of Reeds.

7 They then called to Yahweh, and he spread a thick fog between you and the Egyptians, and made the sea go back on them and cover them. You saw with your own eyes what I did in Egypt. Then, for a long while, you lived in the desert.

8 I then brought you into the country of the Amorites, who used to live on the further side of the Jordan; they made war on you and I put them at your mercy; after which, you took possession of their country, since I destroyed them before you.

9 Next, Balak son of Zippor, king of Moab, rose to make war on Israel, and sent for Balaam son of Beor to come and curse you.

10 But I would not listen to Balaam; instead, he had to bless you, and I saved you from his power.

11 “You then crossed the Jordan and came to Jericho, but the inhabitants of Jericho made war on you: Amorites, Perizzites, Canaanites, Hittites, Girgashites, Hivites and Jebusites, and I put them all at your mercy.

12 I sent hornets ahead of you, which drove out the two Amorite kings before you; this was not the work of your sword or of your bow.

13 And now I have given you a country for which you have not toiled, towns you have not built, although you live in them, vineyards and olive groves you have not planted, although you eat their fruit.”

14 ‘So now, fear Yahweh and serve him truly and sincerely; banish the gods whom your ancestors served beyond the River and in Egypt, and serve Yahweh.

15 But if serving Yahweh seems a bad thing to you, today you must make up your minds whom you do mean to serve, whether the gods whom your ancestors served beyond the River, or the gods of the Amorites in whose country you are now living. As regards my family and me, we shall serve Yahweh.’

16 The people replied, ‘Far be it from us to desert Yahweh and to serve other gods!

17 Yahweh our God was the one who brought us and our ancestors here from Egypt, from the place of slave-labour, who worked those great wonders before our eyes and who kept us safe all along the way we travelled and among all the peoples through whom we passed.

18 And Yahweh has driven all the nations out for us, including the Amorites who used to live in the country. We too shall serve Yahweh, for he is our God.’

19 Joshua then said to the people, ‘You will not be able to serve Yahweh, since he is a holy God, he is a jealous God who will not tolerate either your misdeeds or your sins.

20 If you desert Yahweh and serve the foreigners’ gods, he will turn and maltreat you anew and, in spite of having been good to you in the past, will destroy you.’

21 The people replied to Joshua, ‘No! Yahweh is the one we mean to serve.’

22 Joshua then said to the people, ‘You are witnesses to yourselves that you have chosen Yahweh, to serve him.’ They replied, ‘Witnesses we are!’

23 ‘Then banish the foreign gods which you have with you and give your allegiance to Yahweh, God of Israel!’

24 The people replied to Joshua, ‘Yahweh our God is the one whom we shall serve; his voice we shall obey!’

25 That day Joshua made a covenant for the people; he laid down a statute and ordinance for them at Shechem.

26 Joshua wrote these words in the Book of the Law of God. He then took a large stone and set it up there, under the oak tree in Yahweh’s sanctuary.

27 Joshua then said to all the people, ‘Look, this stone will be a witness to us, since it has heard all the words that Yahweh has spoken to us: it will be a witness against you, in case you should deny your God.’

28 Joshua then dismissed the people, every one to his own heritage.

29 After this, Joshua son of Nun, servant of Yahweh, died; he was a hundred and ten years old.

30 He was buried on the estate which he had received as his heritage, at Timnath-Serah which lies in the highlands of Ephraim, north of Mount Gaash.

31 Israel served Yahweh throughout the lifetime of Joshua and throughout the lifetime of those elders who outlived Joshua and had known all the deeds which Yahweh had done for the sake of Israel.

32 As regards the bones of Joseph, which the Israelites had brought from Egypt, these were buried at Shechem in the plot of ground which Jacob had bought for a hundred pieces of silver from the sons of Hamor father of Shechem, and which had become the heritage of the sons of Joseph.

33 Eleazar son of Aaron then died and was buried at Gibeah, the town of his son Phinehas, which had been given to him in the highlands of Ephraim.

Psalm 132

1 [Song of Ascents] Yahweh, remember David and all the hardships he endured,

2 the oath he swore to Yahweh, his vow to the Mighty One of Jacob:

3 ‘I will not enter tent or house, will not climb into bed,

4 will not allow myself to sleep, not even to close my eyes,

5 till I have found a place for Yahweh, a dwelling for the Mighty One of Jacob!’

6 Listen, we heard of it in Ephrathah, we found it at Forest-Fields.

7 Let us go into his dwelling-place, and worship at his footstool.

8 Go up, Yahweh, to your resting-place, you and the ark of your strength.

9 Your priests are robed in saving justice, your faithful are shouting for joy.

10 For the sake of your servant David, do not reject your anointed.

11 Yahweh has sworn to David, and will always remain true to his word, ‘I promise that I will set a son of yours upon your throne.

12 If your sons observe my covenant and the instructions I have taught them, their sons too for evermore will occupy your throne.’

13 For Yahweh has chosen Zion, he has desired it as a home.

14 ‘Here shall I rest for evermore, here shall I make my home as I have wished.

15 ‘I shall generously bless her produce, give her needy their fill of food,

16 I shall clothe her priests with salvation, and her faithful will sing aloud for joy.

17 ‘There I shall raise up a line of descendants for David, light a lamp for my anointed;

18 I shall clothe his enemies with shame, while his own crown shall flourish.’


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