Joshua’s Last Words…and Some Other Last Words
I. Reading the TEXT as we SHOULD. (Joshua 23-24)
A. STRAP on your SANDALS.
B. Let the GRAVITY of the MOMENT sink in. (23:1-3; 24:1)
There are thousands of years between where we sit today and the scene our text plays out before us. And if we aren’t careful the distance can blind us to what is actually going on. So before we dig in it is really important to set the stage in your mind for the event described. Joshua, the beloved leader of the people is addressing them for the last time.
1. Kid’s Question: When have you had to say goodbye (for a long time) to someone you loved? What was that like for you?
II. What JOSHUA has come to UNDERSTAND. (Joshua 23-24)
A. This MOMENT is part of a larger STORY . (24:2-18)
B. They are TURTLES on a FENCEPOST. (23:3-5, 9-11; 24:3-13)
C. There is a clear CHOICE to be MADE. (24:14-15)
D. PEOPLE are drawn to IDOLS. (24:14,23)
Joshua’s life experiences with these people have taught him quite a bit. He seeks to pull the core of what he has learned in these last two speeches. There is a call to obey and follow God, but there is also a realistic understanding of the nature of the people and the challenges that will bring to the situation. We will see more of that in Judges.
2. When has God acted (in big and small ways) in your own story? Is it helpful to remember and reflect on those moments? If so, in what way?
3. When did you make a choice to follow Jesus (if you have)? What has surprised you about that has played out in your life?
4. What are some of the common idols in our culture (and in our own lives) today? Why are we so drawn to them?
III. OBSERVING the people’s RESPONSE. (24:16-27)
A. They OVERESTIMATE their own FAITHFULNESS. (24:16-18,21,24)
B. What is SAID and left UNSAID. (24:14,18-24)
The people are all in. Or are they. They respond repeatedly to Joshua saying that they will serve Yahweh, the God of Israel. They will keep the covenant. And I’m sure they mean it. But often our words, though well intentioned, get betrayed by the habits and patterns to which we have given our lives
5. In what ways do you identify with the people of Israel? When have your best intentions not been enough to keep you going where you thought you wanted to go?
IV. LIVING deeper than just our WORDS. (Mt. 15:7-9)
A. EXAMINING and RELEASING the idols we CARRY . (24:14; Ps. 139:23-24)
B. CULTIVATING a humble SELF-AWARENESS. (24:16-18; Rom. 12:3; Ecc. 5:1-3)
1. Be CONVINCED, in COMMUNITY, and practicing CONFESSION. (Rom. 8:38-39; 1 Sam. 23:16;
C. Seek a LOVE that drives your OBEDIENCE. (23:11; Phil. 1:9-11; Jn 14:23)
We’ve all been victims to the passion of the moment. We make a bold statement in the heat of the moment, and then wake up horrified to find that what we said with such conviction they day before seems a little harder than we expected to actually live out. How do we learn to live deeper than just the words that we say in a moment of emotion?
6. What is God saying to you about idols that you may have been carrying for years? What might it look like to let them go? What makes it difficult?
7. How might you cultivate a life that is “Convinced, in community, and practicing confession”? What keeps you from doing that?
8. How does seeking love to drive obedience look differently that seeking to obey to show your love? Which have you found the most effective in your own life?