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One day Joshua called together all of Israel. He said to them, “I’m very old and about to die. You saw everything your God has done for you. He has kept every single one of His Promises. Every single Promise! He’s been fighting for you — that’s why just one of you can make a thousand enemies run away!
“He has already defeated many of your enemies, but He wants you to have this whole Promised Land. He’s given each of you a special part of the Land that is yours to conquer. So be strong and take all the land that is yours to take!”
Remember: Our enemy is satan and his junk. And God’s land is everything God Promised we could have in Him — like freedom from sin.
Joshua told the people, “Be careful to obey everything Moses told you, and stay close to God. Don’t go off His path even a smidge to the right or to the left, or He won’t fight for you anymore.”
God’s people listened to Joshua, and agreed to all Joshua had said. Then Joshua died at the happy age of 110.
For a while, life seemed the same as before. God’s army continued to win some more battles in their land.
You might be wondering why there were even still enemies to fight in the Promised Land. Well, in this case, God had purposefully allowed a few enemies to stay in the Land. Because it wasn’t enough that their parents had been good fighters for God. Every generation of children needed to learn how to be fighters themselves — Warriors for God! So, God left a few enemies so that the young ones growing up would be able to learn to fight.
So at first, everything was going as planned. But over time, the people who as children had seen God’s 10 whammies in Egypt and God’s fire on Mount Sinai — those people had died.
Now the younger people started getting lazy and forgetting about God as they grew up. They didn’t keep fight, fight, fighting to get the rest of the Land God had given them. And then, they broke their promises to God and started worshiping idols.
Why do you think the children just drifted off into disobedient idol-worship as they grew up? Could it be the parents didn’t teach them all they needed to learn? Maybe. But, that alone isn’t enough to keep anyone from finding God themselves. Could it be that those younger ones got a little too comfortable? Now that they weren’t slaves, or wandering in the wilderness, and had some land to live on, they were living a pretty nice life in the Promised Land. But at some point, they stopped depending on and looking for more of God.
Do you want to know how this can happen to someone? I’ll tell you some ways. Have you ever obeyed just because your mom is nearby or just because someone else told you to? Maybe you didn’t really care about what God thought about it, but you just obeyed so you wouldn’t get in trouble. Well, that is one attitude that leads to shallow people who end up drifting away from God.
Here’s another way: maybe you just like how it feels to have nice friends and be “good enough” or “nice enough,” but you never talk to God yourself and find out who He is and what He is like and WHY He wants you to obey and follow Him. You’re just satisfied and comfortable so you wander away from your Daddy in Heaven.
I know you don’t want that. So if you ever see any of that junk inside yourself, say, “No way! I’m not going to be like that! I want a relationship with God myself!”
If you don’t, not only will you not help take more land away from God’s enemy, but you will even lose all the land your parents fought to get for you. Don’t let that happen, ok?
When people started breaking their promises to God and worshipping idols, things got bad, really bad, for God’s children. Most people just did whatever seemed right in their own eyes. (Which doesn’t end up “right” because what God wanted with His Big Plan was One Big Family, working together under His Authority and Leadership. Not just doing what they thought might be right based on eating from that Good and Evil Knowledge Tree.)
But (as always!) whenever His people really humbled themselves and cried out to Him, God came to their rescue. Every time! No matter how bad things got.
One way God helped them was by raising up leaders to help teach them or get them out of their messes. These leaders were called judges. The judge would help the people work out problems, fight their enemies, and help others do the same to get out of those bad times.