Joshua 23:11-13


"Be very careful, therefore, to love the Lord your God. For if you turn back, and join the survivors of these nations left here among you, and intermarry with them, so that you marry their women and they yours, know assuredly that the Lord your God will not continue to drive out these nations before you; but they shall be a snare and a trap for you, a scourge on your sides, and thorns in your eyes, until you perish from this good land that the Lord your God has given you" (Joshua 23:11-13).


Joshua has led the Israelites across the Jordan River to the land they had been promised by Abraham's covenant with the Lord. Now the 12 tribes—who had been together since leaving Egypt—are about to disperse, each to its own share of the land. Joshua, in his farewell address, reminds the people of the good they have received from their commitment to the Hebrew God. Now they will live among other people, other tribes, with other gods. They will be tempted to intermingle with their new neighbors, and Joshua is warning them to maintain their identity and their religion. If they choose otherwise—choose to put mortal concerns and appetites above the Lord—the results will be painful.  

I think we can apply this message easily to our own lives. It's really the central theme of the entire Bible: Put God First! The temptations and distractions that afflict us are not from other tribes, but simply from our choices to make anything—work, money, family, success—more important to us than our spiritual Truth. We're free to make those choices, of course; and negative choices will always produce negative results. Making our innate divinity—the Spirit that is our true self—the Source for all our choices, will expand us into the new dimension of consciousness that Jesus calls the 'kingdom of heaven.'


Rev.  Ed