Day 123 of the Holy Bible One Year Challenge. Joshua delivers a final message. People think Jesus is competing with John the Baptist.
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Joshua Encourages the People
The LORD gave Israel peace from their enemies around them. He made Israel safe. Many years passed and Joshua became very old. 2 At this time Joshua called a meeting of all the older leaders, rulers, judges and officials of the Israelites. Joshua said, “I have grown very old. 3 You have seen what the LORD did to our enemies. He did this to help us. The LORD your God fought for you. 4 Remember that I told you that your people could have the land between the Jordan River and the Great Sea in the west. I promised to give you that land, but you don’t control it yet. I have taken the land away from those nations, but they are still living there. 5 But the LORD your God will force the people living there to leave. You will take that land. The LORD will force them to leave, just as he promised.
6 “You must be careful to obey every command written in the Book of the Law* of Moses. Never turn away from that law. 7 That’s why you must not associate with the people of other nations who still live among you. You must not serve or worship their gods. Don’t even mention the names of their gods when you pray or make an oath. 8 You must continue to follow the LORD your God as you have done in the past.
9 “The LORD helped you defeat many great and powerful nations. He forced them to leave. No nation has been able to defeat you. 10 With his help, one man from Israel could defeat 1000 enemy soldiers, because the LORD your God fights for you, as he promised. 11 So you must continue to love the LORD your God.
12 “Never stop following him. Don’t be friendly with those people who did not leave when you took the land. They are not part of Israel. Don’t marry any of their people. If you become friends with those people, 13 the LORD your God will not help you defeat your enemies. They will become like a trap for you. They will cause you pain—like smoke and dust in your eyes. And you will be forced to leave this good land. The LORD your God gave you this land. But you can lose it if you don’t obey this command.
14 “It is almost time for me to die. You know and really believe that the Lord has done many great things for you. You know that the LORD your God has not failed in any of his promises. He has kept every promise that he has made to you. 15 Every good promise that the LORD your God made to you has come true. But in the same way, the LORD will make his other promises come true: If you do wrong, bad things will happen to you. You will be forced to leave this good land that the LORD your God has given to you. 16 This will happen if you refuse to keep your agreement with the LORD your God. You will lose this land if you go and serve other gods. You must not worship those other gods. If you do, the LORD will become very angry with you. Then you will quickly be forced to leave this good land that he gave you.”
Joshua Says Goodbye
Joshua called all the tribes of Israel to meet together at Shechem.
Then Joshua called the older leaders, rulers, judges, and the officials of Israel. These men stood before God.
2 Then Joshua spoke to all the people.
He said, “This is what the LORD, the God of Israel, says to you: A long time ago, your ancestors lived on the other side of the Euphrates River. I am talking about men like Terah, the father of Abraham and Nahor. At that time they worshipped other gods. 3 But I took your father Abra- ham out of the land on the other side of the river. I led him through the land of Canaan and gave him many children. I gave Abraham his son Isaac. 4 And I gave Isaac two sons, Jacob and Esau. To Esau, I gave the land around the mountains of Seir. Jacob and his sons did not live there. They went to live in the land of Egypt.
5 “Then I sent Moses and Aaron to Egypt. I wanted them to bring my people out of Egypt. I caused many terrible things to happen to the people of Egypt. Then I brought your people out of Egypt. 6 When I brought your ancestors out of Egypt, they came to the Red Sea, and the Egyptians were chasing them in chariots pulled by teams of horses. 7 The people cried out to me, the LORD, for help. So I put a dark cloud between you and the Egyptians. I caused the sea to cover them. You yourselves saw what I did to the army of Egypt.
“After that, you lived in the desert for a long time. 8 Then I brought you to the land of the Amorites, east of the Jordan River. Those people fought against you, but I allowed you to defeat them. I gave you the power to destroy them, and you took control of that land.
9 “Then Balak son of Zippor, the king of Moab, prepared to fight against the Israelites. The king sent for Balaam son of Beor to curse you, 10 but I refused to listen to Balaam. Instead, I caused him to bless you. And that’s how I saved you from his power.
11 “Then you went across the Jor- dan River to the city of Jericho. The people in Jericho fought against you. Also, the Amorites, Perizzites, Canaanites, Hittites, Girgashites, Hivites, and Jebusites fought against you. But I allowed you to defeat them all. 12 As your army went forward, I sent fear* ahead of you and drove out the two kings of the Amorites. It was not your swords and bows that brought you victory.
13 “I, the Lord, gave you that land. You did not work for it—I gave it to you! And I gave you cities that you did not build. Now you live in those cities, and you en- joy food from vineyards and olive trees that you did not plant.”
14 Then Joshua said to the people, “So now you must respect the LORD and sincerely serve him. Throw away the false gods that your ancestors worshipped on the other side of the Euphrates River and in Egypt. Now you must serve only the LORD.
15 “But maybe you don’t want to serve
the LORD. You must choose for your- selves today. Today you must decide who you will serve. Will you serve the gods that your ancestors worshipped when they lived on the other side of the Euphrates River? Or will you serve the gods of the Amorites who lived in this land? You must choose for yourselves. But as for me and my family, we will serve the LORD.”
16 Then the people answered, “We will
never stop following the LORD. We will never serve other gods! 17 We know that it was the LORD our God who brought our people out of Egypt. We were slaves in that land, but he did great things for us there. He brought us out of that land and protected us while we traveled through other lands. 18 The LORD helped us defeat the people living in these lands. He helped us defeat the Amorites who lived in this land where we are now. So we will continue to serve the LORD, because he is our God.”
19 Then Joshua said, “Do you really think you will be able to serve the LORD? Maybe you don’t understand how difficult it is! God is holy. And God hates his people worshipping other gods. He will not forgive you if you turn against him like that. 20 If you leave the LORD and serve other gods, he will cause terrible things to happen to you. He will destroy you. He has been good to you, but if you turn against him he will destroy you.”
21 Then the people said to Joshua, “No, we will serve the LORD!”
22 Then Joshua said, “Look around at yourselves and the people with you. Do you all know and agree that you have chosen to serve the LORD? Are you all witnesses to this?”
The people answered, “Yes, it is true. We all see that we have chosen to serve the LORD.”
23 Then Joshua said, “So throw away
the false gods that you have among you. Love the LORD, the God of Israel, with all your heart.”
24 Then the people said to Joshua, “We
will serve the LORD our God. We will obey him.”
25 So that day Joshua made an agreement for the people. He made this agreement at the town called Shechem. It became a law for them to follow. 26 Joshua wrote these things in the Book of the Law of God. Then he found a large stone to be the proof of this agreement. He put the stone under the oak tree near the LORD’s Holy Tent.
27 Then Joshua said to all the people, “This stone will help you remember what we said today. This stone was here when the LORD was speaking to us today. So this stone will be something that helps you remember what happened to- day. The stone will be a witness against you. It will stop you from turning against your God.”
28 Then Joshua told the people to go home, and everyone went back to his own land.
29 After that, the LORD’s servant Joshua son of Nun died. He was 110 years old. 30 Joshua was buried on his own land at Timnath Serah, in the hill country of Ephraim, north of Mount Gaash.
31 The Israelites served the LORD during the time Joshua was living. After Joshua died, the people continued to serve the Lord while their leaders were alive. These were the leaders who had seen what the LORD had done for Israel.
Joseph Comes Home
32 When the Israelites left Egypt, they carried the bones from the body of Joseph with them. They buried the bones of Joseph at Shechem on the land that Jacob had bought from the sons of Hamor, the father of the man named Shechem. Jacob had bought that land for 100 pieces of pure silver. This land be- longed to Joseph’s children.
33 Aaron’s son, Eleazar, died and was buried at Gibeah in the hill country of Ephraim. Gibeah had been given to Eleazar’s son Phinehas.
Jesus and John the Baptizer
22 After this, Jesus and his followers went into the area of Judea. There he stayed with his followers and baptized people. 23 John was also baptizing people at Aenon, a place near Salim with plenty of water. People were going there to be baptized. 24 This was before John was put in prison.
25 Some of John’s followers had an argument with another Jew about religious washing. 26 Then they came to John and said, “Teacher, remember the man who was with you on the other side of the Jordan River? He is the one you were telling everyone about. He is also baptizing people, and many are going to him.”
27 John answered, “A person can receive only what God gives. 28 You yourselves heard me say, ‘I am not the Messiah. I am only the one God sent to pre- pare the way for him.’ 29 I am like the friend of the bridegroom at a wedding. The bride is for the bridegroom, not for the friend. The friend just waits for instructions from the bridegroom. And he is happy to do whatever the bridegroom wants. That’s how I feel now. I could not be happier. 30 He must become more and more important, and I must become less important.
The One Who Comes From Heaven
31 “The one who comes from above is greater than all others. The one who is from the earth belongs to the earth. He talks about things that are on the earth. But the one who comes from heaven is greater than all others. 32 He tells what he has seen and heard, but people don’t
accept what he says. 33 Whoever accepts what he says has shown his agreement that God speaks the truth. 34 The one sent by God always has words from God because God gives him the Spirit without limit. 35 The Father loves the Son and has given him power over everything. 36 Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life. But those who do not obey the Son will never have that life. They can- not escape God’s anger.”
12 If it were an enemy insulting me, I could endure it.
If it were my enemies attacking me, I could hide.
13 But it is you, the one so close to me,
my companion, my good friend, who does this.
14 We used to share our secrets with each
other, as we walked through the crowds together in God’s Temple.
15 I wish death would take my enemies by surprise!
I wish the earth would open up and swallow them alive,
because they plan such terrible things together.
16 I will call to God for help, and the LORD will save me.
17 I speak to God morning, noon and night.
I tell him what upsets me, and he listens to me!
18 Many enemies surround and attack
me, but he will rescue me and bring me home safely.
19 God, who has always ruled as king,
will hear me and punish my enemies.
But they will never change. They don’t fear and respect God.
20 This one who was once my friend now attacks his friends.
He is breaking every promise he made.
21 His words about peace are as smooth as butter, but he has only war on his mind. His words are as slick as oil, but they cut like a knife.
22 Give your worries to the LORD, and he will care for you.
He will never let those who are good be defeated.
23 But, God, you will send those liars and murderers to the grave.
They will die before their life is half-finished!
As for me, I will put my trust in you.
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