TODAY’S SPECIAL: Joshua 23:1-16
TO CHEW ON: “But if you turn away and ally yourselves with the survivors of these nations that remain among you and if you intermarry with them and associate with them, then you may be sure that the Lord your God will no longer drive out these nations before you. Instead, they will become snares and traps for you, whips on your backs and thorns in your eyes, until you perish from this good land, which the Lord your God has given you.” Joshua 23:12,13
Years passed. Joshua led the people in many battles. They won most of them and were now living in their new homes in Canaan. When Joshua was an old man he gathered the leaders to hear his final words. Here are some of the things he told them. Cross out the one thing he did not say:
1. Be very strong; be careful to obey all that is written in the book of the Law of Moses.
2. Associate with the survivors of these nations; pray to their gods and swear by them.
3. One person can beat a thousand because God fights for you.
4. If you are good friends with and marry the survivors of the nations you beat, they will snare, trap, whip and defeat you.
Joshua’s message was clear. The Israelites had been successful because God had helped them. God would help them win more wars only if they stayed loyal Him. This meant they needed to keep obeying His laws and worshiping only Him - not idols. One way they could stay loyal to God was to never be close friends with or marry people around them who worshiped idols.
What happens to a box of good oranges with one moldy orange in it?
b] The good oranges take the mold out of the spoiled orange.
c] The mold eventually spreads to all the oranges.
(Of course it’s c] )
Just like being with only one moldy orange is dangerous to the health of all the oranges in the box, so being close friends with someone who doesn’t love God is dangerous to the spiritual health of you – and your friends.
PRAYER: Dear God, please help me choose my friends wisely. Amen.
MORE: Friendship Puzzlers
Here are some questions about friendship to think about and discuss with family and friends.
1. If you are friends with only other Christians, how will unsaved neighbors and school buddies learn about Jesus?
2. Is it possible for you to be a friend with someone who doesn’t believe in God and not be influenced to change your beliefs and become like her/him? How?
3. Is it ever right to be best friends with someone who doesn’t love and follow Jesus? Is it ever right to be the business partner of such a person? Is it ever right to marry such a person?