In the last 2 chapters of the book of Joshua, Joshua gives his final exhortation to Israel. Joshua reminds the nation that they have largely accomplished God’s will in the Canaan conquest. Canaan is under the control of Israel, and both Israel and the Canaanites know that it was God that delivered Canaan to Israel. So the tribes of Israel have been allotted their inheritance, they have settled comfortably in the land, and they are resting now from the many years of conflict. But Joshua reminds the Israelites of a couple of pressing truths: 1. While Israel has mostly finished accomplishing God’s will, they have not completely finished it- and there is a tremendous difference between the two! We see this in Joshua 23:4- there were yet tribes that remained, and needed to be removed from Canaan. 2. These remaining Canaanite tribes represented a spiritual and existential threat to Israel- see 23:6-8. When life become simple and comfortable and we stop pressing forward spiritually, there is great danger of losing our spiritual vigilance and sliding backward spiritually and losing the ground we have gained. Such backsliding, Joshua says in Joshua 23:15-16, will incur the judgment of God.
So now in ch. 24, Joshua makes his final farewell speech to Israel. In vs. 1-10 he briefly recounts the history of the Jewish nation going back to Abraham, and leading up to the beginning of the Canaan conquest. We pick up the narrative in vs. 11, and there are three facets of his sermon that we would like to examine together this morning.