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May 16, 2021 | Doug Sauder
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“Or else, if indeed you do go back, and cling to the remnant of these nations—these that remain among you—and make marriages with them, and go in to them and they to you, know for certain that the Lord your God will no longer drive out these nations from before you. But they shall be snares and traps to you, and scourges on your sides and thorns in your eyes, until you perish from this good land which the Lord your God has given you.”—Joshua 23:12-13 (NKJV)
Yesterday we gained two lessons from what Joshua told the people of Israel: First, God’s promises are true, and second, we should take careful heed to love Him. In today’s Scripture, Joshua follows with a warning to avoid clinging to the traditions of the nations they conquered. Embracing their values would impact God’s promise of blessing and ultimately lay the groundwork for a host of fatal consequences.
Like any parent, our heavenly Father gives us warnings to protect us. So, today, He gives us two more lessons:
The first lesson is “Be holy, for I am holy” (1 Peter 1:16 NKJV). David Guzik clarifies what this means: “The main idea behind holiness is not moral purity, but it is the idea of apartness. God calls us to come to Him and share in His apartness.” As believers, our choices should reflect His holiness. It’s the idea of being in the world but not of it. This doesn’t mean to be isolated from people, for we are called to shine light in the darkness (Matthew 5:16) and to deliver the Gospel of Jesus Christ. The apostle Paul describes it as imitating God (Ephesians 5:1).
The second lesson is “Walk with the wise and become wise, for a companion of fools suffers harm” (Proverbs 13:20 NIV). In other words, watch the company you keep. When we fellowship, marry, or do business with those who have a heart for the Lord, our walk is strengthened, we are encouraged in Christ, and we grow in our faith with all that fellowship supplies (Ephesians 4:16). But when we have constant companionship with people who don’t have a personal relationship with Jesus, we can become ensnared and imitate their ways. An illustration of this can be seen when just the smallest amount of dirt is added to a clean glass of water. Immediately, the glass becomes murky, even if there is more water than dirt. Perhaps that is why Solomon wrote, “Like a muddied spring or a polluted well are the righteous who give way to the wicked” (Proverbs 25:26 NIV).
When we follow the history of Israel from Joshua’s final words and through the Book of Judges, we see the people did not take careful heed to love the Lord, they did not separate themselves, and they followed after foreign gods until they were in a very dark place. Let us all learn from what the Lord teaches us through Joshua and not allow our path to deviate from the steps of Christ.
DIG: What two lessons does Joshua teach us in today’s Scripture?
DISCOVER: Unlike the dirt in the glass, Jesus, the Light of the World, overcomes darkness. Take some time to research what the Bible says about light and darkness.
DO: If there are areas of your light where you are compromising your light in favor of darkness, recommit to the Lord and ask Him to help you be holy as He is holy, watching the company you keep.
Lisa Supp lives in Utah and has served within the CCFL Web and Prayer Ministry since 2011. She also volunteers as an editor on the CCFL Prayer Wall and is a writer on the Communications Team. Retired from teaching, Lisa and her husband Ron volunteer at their local Calvary Chapel and share a passion for Scripture, apologetics, and education.