So be very careful to love the LORD you God. Joshua 23:11
When you reach the final chapters in the book of Joshua you find everything has turned out extremely well for Joshua and the Israelites – finally!
They had defeated their enemies, taken possession of the land and were beginning to finally enjoy it without the threat of war or conflict.
Moreover, it was the Lord who fought for them and brought about their good fortune.
Not one of all the Lord’s good promises failed; every one was fulfilled.” Joshua 21:45
Now, in chapter 23, we have Joshua’s farewell address to the leaders. He reminds them of everything they’ve experienced and everything the Lord has done for them, and then he says:
Be very strong; be careful to obey all that is written in the Book of the Law of Moses, without turning aside to the right or to the left…The Lord has driven out before you great and powerful nations; to this day no one has been able to withstand you. One of you routs a thousand, because the Lord your God fights for you, just as he promised. So be very careful to love the Lord your God.
It seems a bit ironic, doesn’t it? During a time when they were all set to experience their greatest blessings, Joshua warns of a most perilous downfall brought about by failing to obey and love the Lord their God.
Have you experienced this in your walk with the Lord? I sure have. There are times when the Lord does great things for us. We have it made. We start coasting. We start thinking we’re invulnerable to the very things that corrupt holiness and we take God for granted. Or, worse yet, we start paying more attention to the things of this world and we take our eyes off God. We forget he’s a jealous God.
A pastor told the story of a child who wanted to do something the mom knew would be spiritually unhealthy and that could lead to bigger issues. She was baking cookies at the time and suggested to her child she’d go out into the yard, pick up a little dog poop and add it to the cookie dough.
“What,” exclaimed the child, “that would ruin the cookies and nobody would eat them!” “Oh no,” replied the mom, “it’s just a little chunk of poop and that won’t hurt anything.”
I’m not sure why we let “other things” creep into our life. I do know, however, the danger of doing so is to easily forget our love of the Lord. There are several things we can do to help keep our love for the Lord more top of mind, which will serve also to guard our hearts in Christ Jesus.
Joshua points out in chapter 23 several things to be mindful of in our love for the Lord:
- Obey all that is written in the (Book of the Law of Moses) Word of God (v6)
- Don’t associate with ungodly influences or bow down to other gods (v7)
- Hold fast to what got you to where you are – the Lord your God (v8)
- Remember the Lord is on your side and will fight for you (v9-10)
Let me suggest some practical ways we can be very careful to love the Lord our God in lieu of forgetting him when things go well for us. Practice one or more of these for the #LoveChallenge:
- Spend time reading the Word of God, daily. We can’t be living the word and loving God apart from reading his Word. Here are some tips and tools to help get you started or restarted.
- Surround yourself and spend time with other believers for mutual support and encouragement. Proverbs 20:23 says, “Walk with the wise and become wise, for a companion of fools suffers harm.”
- Don’t grumble, complain or rebel, instead be humble. Grumbling, complaining and rebelling is what got Israel in trouble with the Lord and caused them to wander and die in the wilderness. The thing that got them to victory in the promised land is when they humbled themselves under the mighty hand of God – they let go and followed God’s commands. Whenever you start to grumble or complain about something stop yourself from going down that path. Say to yourself, “I’m not going to grumble complain or be rebellious.”
- Be more patient and content with what you have. Have the perspective that God in his providence and grace has placed us where we are and has given us what we have. The problem is when we want more when we hurry up to get things instead of being still and waiting on the Lord and his timing. “Then he said to them, ‘Watch out! Be on your guard against all kinds of greed; life does not consist in an abundance of possessions.'” (Luke 12:15)
Previous Posts in the #LoveChallenge Series of February
I’ve been writing on the theme of #LoveGod and #LoveOthers – the #LoveChallenge for the month of February – #LoveFor28. Here are the other posts in this series:
- Sing of the Lord’s Great Love
- Put on Love
- Treasure Your Treasure with a Little Heart Emoji
- Abounding in love
- Love and Faithfulness United
- Celebrating Love for God’s Word
- Inseparable Love
- A Love for God’s People Brings Prayer for Christian Maturity
- The Invincibility of Marital Love
- The Lord’s Loving Rebuke and Discipline
- Remain in Jesus’ Love
- No Greater Love
- What Great Love
- What Not to Love
- Turn On Your Love Light
- An Introduction to Love According to John
- Love Deeply
- His Everlasting Love
- Love for Neighbor
- His Loving Eye
- God Gave us a Spirit of Love
- Love Never Fails – Period
- Love Is – Love Is Not
- How to Live an Ineffective and Meaningless Life – Without Love
- The First and Greatest Commandment