(Joshua 23:1 – 24:33 Written as if Joshua himself were saying this right before he died.)
Once there was this very wealthy young man. He lived in a great, elaborate house with dozens of rooms. One day he decided to invite the Lord to come and stay with him. When the Lord arrived, this young man offered him the very best room in the house. The room was upstairs and at the end of the hall. “This room is yours, Jesus! Stay as long as you like and you can do whatever you want to in this room, remember Jesus, its all yours.” “Thank you” the Lord replied, and with that the man shut the door and went about his daily business.
That evening after he had retired for the night there came a loud knocking at the front door. The young man pulled on his robe and made his way downstairs. When he opened the door he found that the devil had sent three of his demons to attack the man. He quickly tried to close the door but one of the demons kept sticking his foot in the door. Sometime later, after a great struggle, he managed to slam the door shut and returned to his room totally exhausted. Can you believe that! The man thought. Jesus is upstairs in my very best room sleeping while I am down here battling demons. Oh well, maybe he just didn’t hear. He slept fitfully that night.
The next day things went along as normal and being tired as he was, the young man retired early that evening. Along about midnight, there came such a terrible ruckus at the front door that the young man was sure that whatever it was would tear the door down. He stumbled down the stairs once again and opened the door to find that there were dozens of demons now trying to get into his beautiful home. For more than three hours he fought and struggled against the demons from hell and finally overtook them enough to shut the door against their attack. All energy seemed to fail him. I really don’t understand this at all. Why won’t the Lord come to my rescue? Why does he allow me to fight all by myself? I feel so alone. Troubled he found his way to the sofa and fell into a restless sleep.
The next morning he decided to inquire of the Lord about the happenings of the last two evenings. Quietly he made his way to the elegant bedroom where he had left Jesus. “Jesus,” he called as he tapped at the door. “Lord,, I don’t understand what is happening. For the last two nights I have had to fight the demons away from my door while you laid up here sleeping. Don’t you care about me? Did I not give you the very best room in house? He could see the tears building in Jesus’ eyes but continued on, “I just don’t understand. I really thought that once I invited you in to live with me that you would take care of me and I gave you the best room in my house and everything. What more can I do?”
“My precious child,” Jesus spoke so softly. “I do love and care for you. I protect all that you have released into my care. But when you invited me to come here and stay, you brought me to this lovely room and you shut the door to the rest of your house. I am Lord of this room but I am not Master of this house I have protected this room and no demon may enter here.”
“Oh, Lord, please forgive me. Take all of my house – it is yours – I am so sorry that I never offered you all to begin with. I want you to have control of everything.” With this he flung open the bedroom door and knelt at Jesus’ feet. “Please forgive me Lord for being so selfish.” Jesus smiled and told him that He had already forgiven him and that He would take care of things from now on. That night the young man prepared for bed he thought to himself, ” I wonder if those demons will return. I am so tired of fighting them each and every night.” But he knew that Jesus said that he would take care of things from now on…..
Along about midnight the banging on the door was frightening. The young man slipped out of his room in time to see Jesus going down the stairs. He watched in awe as Jesus swung open the door, no need to be afraid. Satan stood at the door this time demanding to be let in. Jesus took on his attacks in short order and sent him away.
There is a moral to this tale. Jesus wants all of you, not just a part. He will take all that you give Him but nothing more. How much of your heart have you given to the Lord? Are you keeping a portion of it away from Him? Perhaps the attacks are coming more and more each day. Why not let the Lord fight the battles for you. He is always victorious. I have found that God made man simple. All of man’s complexities are of his own devising.
This is the message of my life. My name is Joshua. I talked to you when I was 25 years younger. God had promised us Palestine if we followed and obeyed Him. He made promises to us and kept every one of them. My last function on earth was to gather all the Jews together and tell them this. It’s recorded in Joshua 23-24.
Everything that had happened in our conquering the land was God’s doing, He got the credit and not us (Joshua 23:1-5). My generation had been afraid to totally trust Him and our fear of the giants kept us out. We wandered for 40 years in the desert. However our children put their faith in God and He took care of them. It’s like a young child coming to you for help, trusting you with his needs. Would you use that opportunity to do all you could to make his life miserable, or would you do your best to lovingly care for the child? Out heavenly Father is more loving and caring than we are.
I told the people that they had to stay faithful to God (v. 6-7) and keep trusting Him alone (v. 8-11) for it is often easier to trust during hard times than when everything is going all right. Now that there was relative peace I was concerned they’d stop depending on God moment by moment as they had in the past.
I reminded them, too, of what would happen if they turned from God (v. 12-16).
Just before I died I called all the people together to remind them again of these things (Joshua 24). I reviewed how God had taken care of us in the past (v. 1-13). It’s important for you, too, to remember what God has done for you in the past. Paul, in Ephesians 2:1-10, reminds his readers of how they were lost in sin before God’s grace rescued them. Remembering this keeps us trusting in Jesus and not our own strength.
Still, its a free will choice each one must make on his own (v. 14-15). Each individual Jew had to decide, and men had to decide for their families. I told them my choice: “As for me and my household, we will serve the Lord.” (John 24:15). The people said they would follow God 100% (Joshua 24:16-28).
Those were my last public words. Soon after I died (Joshua 24:29-33). What a privilege it was to be used by God for His work during my time on earth. I had to give up everything to serve Him. He’s looking for people in your time, too, to give up everything in His service. He will bless you beyond anything you could imagine, but you have to put Him first.
The cheerful girl with bouncy golden curls was almost five. Waiting with her mother at the checkout stand, she saw them: a circle of glistening white pearls in a pink foil box. “Oh please, Mommy. Can I have them? Please, Mommy, please!” Quickly the mother checked the back of the little foil box and then looked back into the pleading blue eyes of her little girl’s upturned face. “A dollar ninety-five. That’s almost $2.00 If you really want them, I’ll think of some extra chores for you and in no time you can save enough money to buy them for yourself. Your birthday’s only a week away and you might get another crisp dollar bill from Grandma.” As soon as Jenny got home, she emptied her penny bank and counted out 17 pennies. After dinner, she did more than her share of chores and she went to the neighbor and asked Mrs. McJames if she could pick dandelions for ten cents. On her birthday, Grandma did give her another new dollar bill and at last she had enough money to buy the necklace. Jenny loved her pearls. They made her feel dressed up and grown up. She wore them everywhere–Sunday school, kindergarten, even to bed. The only time she took them off was when she went swimming or had a bubble bath. Mother said if they got wet, they might turn her neck green. Jenny had a very loving daddy and every night when she was ready for bed, he would stop whatever he was doing and come upstairs to read her a story. One night when he finished the story, he asked Jenny, “Do you love me?” “Oh yes, Daddy. You know that I love you.” “Then give me your pearls.” “Oh, Daddy, not my pearls. But you can have Princess–the white horse from my collection. The one with the pink tail. Remember, Daddy? The one you gave me. She’s my favorite.” “That’s okay, Honey. Daddy loves you. Good night.” And he brushed her cheek with a kiss. About a week later, after the story time, Jenny’s daddy asked again, “Do you love me?” “Daddy, you know I love you.” “Then give me your pearls.” “Oh Daddy, not my pearls. But you can have my baby doll. The brand new one I got for my birthday. She is so beautiful and you can have the yellow blanket that matches her sleeper. ” “That’s okay. Sleep well. God bless you, little one. Daddy loves you.” And as always, he brushed her cheek with a gentle kiss. A few nights later when her daddy came in, Jenny was sitting on her bed with her legs crossed Indian-style. As he came close, he noticed her chin was trembling and one silent tear rolled down her cheek. “What is it, Jenny? What’s the matter?” Jenny didn’t say anything but lifted her little hand up to her daddy. And when she opened it, there was her little pearl necklace. With a little quiver, she finally said, “Here, Daddy. It’s for you.” With tears gathering in his own eyes, Jenny’s kind daddy reached out with one hand to take the dime-store necklace, and with the other hand he reached into his pocket and pulled out a blue velvet case with a strand of genuine pearls and gave them to Jenny. He had had them all the time. He was just waiting for her to give up the dime-store stuff so he could give her genuine treasure. So like our heavenly Father. What are you hanging onto?
(If I can answer questions or offer personal counsel, or if you would like a free copy of my Spiritual Warfare Handbook, email me at Jerry@ChristianTrainingOrganization.org or download it from http://sw.christiantrainingonline.org/. My next book, Spiritual Warfare in the Bible, which is a more advanced treatment of spiritual warfare, is also available there for free.)