Metaphysical Bible Interpretation of Joshua Chapter 24
Metaphysically Interpreting Joshua 24:1-28
24:1And Joshua gathered all the tribes of Israel to Shechem, and called for the elders of Israel, and for their heads, and for their judges, and for their officers; and they presented themselves before God. 24:2And Joshua said unto all the people, Thus saith Jehovah, the God of Israel, Your fathers dwelt of old time beyond the River, even Terah, the father of Abraham, and the father of Nahor: and they served other gods. 24:3And I took your father Abraham from beyond the River, and led him throughout all the land of Canaan, and multiplied his seed, and gave him Isaac. 24:4And I gave unto Isaac Jacob and Esau: and I gave unto Esau mount Seir, to possess it: and Jacob and his children went down into Egypt. 24:5And I sent Moses and Aaron, and I plagued Egypt, according to that which I did in the midst thereof: and afterward I brought you out. 24:6And I brought your fathers out of Egypt: and ye came unto the sea; and the Egyptians pursued after your fathers with chariots and with horsemen unto the Red Sea. 24:7And when they cried out unto Jehovah, he put darkness between you and the Egyptians, and brought the sea upon them, and covered them; and your eyes saw what I did in Egypt: and ye dwelt in the wilderness many days. 24:8And I brought you into the land of the Amorites, that dwelt beyond the Jordan: and they fought with you; and I gave them into your hand, and ye possessed their land; and I destroyed them from before you. 24:9Then Balak the son of Zippor, king of Moab, arose and fought against Israel: and he sent and called Balaam the son of Beor to curse you; 24:10but I would not hearken unto Balaam; therefore he blessed you still: so I delivered you out of his hand. 24:11And ye went over the Jordan, and came unto Jericho: and the men of Jericho fought against you, the Amorite, and the Perizzite, and the Canaanite, and the Hittite, and the Girgashite, the Hivite, and the Jebusite; and I delivered them into your hand. 24:12And I sent the hornet before you, which drove them out from before you, even the two kings of the Amorites; not with thy sword, nor with thy bow. 24:13And I gave you a land whereon thou hadst not labored, and cities which ye built not, and ye dwell therein; of vineyards and oliveyards which ye planted not do ye eat.
24:14Now therefore fear Jehovah, and serve him in sincerity and in truth; and put away the gods which your fathers served beyond the River, and in Egypt; and serve ye Jehovah. 24:15And if it seem evil unto you to serve Jehovah, choose you this day whom ye will serve; whether the gods which your fathers served that were beyond the River, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land ye dwell: but as for me and my house, we will serve Jehovah.
24:16And the people answered and said, Far be it from us that we should forsake Jehovah, to serve other gods; 24:17for Jehovah our God, he it is that brought us and our fathers up out of the land of Egypt, from the house of bondage, and that did those great signs in our sight, and preserved us in all the way wherein we went, and among all the peoples through the midst of whom we passed; 24:18and Jehovah drove out from before us all the peoples, even the Amorites that dwelt in the land: therefore we also will serve Jehovah; for he is our God.
24:19And Joshua said unto the people, Ye cannot serve Jehovah; for he is a holy God; he is a jealous God; he will not forgive your transgression nor your sins. 24:20If ye forsake Jehovah, and serve foreign gods, then he will turn and do you evil, and consume you, after that he hath done you good. 24:21And the people said unto Joshua, Nay; but we will serve Jehovah. 24:22And Joshua said unto the people, Ye are witnesses against yourselves that ye have chosen you Jehovah, to serve him. And they said, We are witnesses. 24:23Now therefore put away, said he, the foreign gods which are among you, and incline your heart unto Jehovah, the God of Israel. 24:24And the people said unto Joshua, Jehovah our God will we serve, and unto his voice will we hearken. 24:25So Joshua made a covenant with the people that day, and set them a statute and an ordinance in Shechem.24:26And Joshua wrote these words in the book of the law of God; and he took a great stone, and set it up there under the oak that was by the sanctuary of Jehovah. 24:27And Joshua said unto all the people, Behold, this stone shall be a witness against us; for it hath heard all the words of Jehovah which he spake unto us: it shall be therefore a witness against you, lest ye deny your God. 24:28So Joshua sent the people away, every man unto his inheritance.
November 9, 1902: Joshua 24:14-25
Spiritual obedience is necessary to the well-rounded character. To be obedient, and at the same time bold, free and self-reliant, seems difficult. We have so long associated obedience with slavery that the mind rebels, when it is asked to follow the guidance of a higher wisdom. The affirmations of I AM sufficiency, necessary to the building up and strengthening of the character, tend to spiritual egotism. To offset this there must be this other attitude of childlike dependence upon the Father. Jesus, in his consciousness of unlimited I AM power, said, “He who hath seen me hath seen the Father.” Yet he drew the fine distinction between the Ego Identified and the Spirit Universal, when he said, “The Father is greater than I.”
Bible scholars say that the Hebrew word which is translated “fear” may, in nearly every instance, be rendered revere. We are to have reverence for the Lord, and be sincere and truthful in our inner communion. We must be honest and candid with God. Our inmost soul must be bared in the silence with the Holy One. Every motive and every desire must be analyzed and sifted of all selfishness, if we would succeed in our divine guidance.
Yet we are to be absolutely free. God does not want slaves or “worms of the dust.” Stand upright on your feet and be a man. If you want to serve the gods of the intellect, of self, and the ambitions of the world, choose to do so fearlessly. God will not condemn you for being free. You cannot develop your true character, so long as you feel that you have to be good, but would rather be free to do evil if you want to. The true Spiritual Ego gravitates to its own and can henceforth be obedient to the Supreme Spirit only: “But as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.” When the I AM makes its strongest affirmation of loyalty to the Lord, the whole consciousness responds; the people say, “God forbid that we should forsake the Lord to serve other gods.”
The people, or personal thoughts, enumerate the benefits which come of serving the Lord. They recall the freedom from bondage and ignorance through loyalty to the Lord. This is all true, and it is sometimes well to count the benefits of being good, but it is a species of selfishness. It is the personality counting its spoils, and gloating over its victories. This is not the true service, and Joshua says, “Ye cannot serve the Lord, for he is an holy God,” etc. That is, we cannot get into true service so long as we look for rewards. God wants us to be obedient to His law, because we love to, and also through right understanding of the principles entering into that sort of obedience. One who counts the benefits that have come to him through serving God is always on the lookout for future spoils and greater victories.
Mountains of selfishness may be reared up in this way in the name of the Lord, and those who have fallen into this snare have found themselves consumed with self-righteousness. We are to “incline our hearts to the Lord God of Israel.” The very soul centre must be laid bare, and every motive opened up to the light and purified.
– UNITY MAGAZINE.
November 21, 1926: Joshua 24:14-25
What is the central idea in the lesson today? The central idea in today's lesson is the teaching that we should take a definite stand for Truth and that we should make an agreement with Jehovah God to serve him and to be loyal to him in spite of the allurements of the worldly things.
What does it mean to make a covenant such as Joshua made with Jehovah? A covenant is an agreement or a solemn compact. To make a covenant with the Lord Jehovah means that the maker will not only proclaim his faith in Jehovah, but that he will determine to let Jehovah live His life fully in and through him, and that he will continue in this way, until he becomes a perfect expression of the Christ of God.
Should man stand in fear of the Lord? No. Man should not fear Jehovah, but he should hold to principles of Truth in reverence and respect.
Why did Joshua tell the children of Israel that they were free to choose between serving Jehovah and serving the gods of the heathens? The mind of man has absolute freedom in choosing what it shall do. This freedom should never be abrogated even in religious matters. To worship God under compulsion is servitude; those who serve God in fear and from compulsion will eventually break away from that servitude, because they do not understand the true character of that which they worship.
Why did the Israelites definitely choose to worship Jehovah? The children of Israel were in a primitive state of spiritual unfoldment. They perceived that Jehovah was more powerful than the gods of the heathens, and that he had freed them from the bondage of materiality (Egypt); also they saw the manifestations of the presence of Jehovah, whom Joshua mentioned as the One “that did those great signs in our sight.”
Why did Joshua speak thus to the people: “Ye cannot serve Jehovah; for he is a holy God; he is a jealous God; he will not forgive your transgression nor your sins”? This version of verse 19 is not an accurate translation. Isaac Leeser translates it: “Ye will not be able to serve the Lord; for he is a holy God; he is a watchful God; he will not have any indulgence for your transgressions and for your sins.” Joshua here calls the attention of the Israelites to the unchangeable character of the law as executed by Jehovah. Jehovah is the name of the creative mind of God which knows no variation in its action.
What is the greatest hindrance to our following the ever-living Jehovah God? Our seeking after the seemingly delightful things (foreign gods) of the world of sense hinders our following the one Jehovah God. Ferrar Fenton translates verse 20: “For you will forsake the EVER-LIVING, and you will serve seducing gods, and change and degrade and destroy yourselves by following after what seems delightful to you.”
October 23, 1932: Joshua 24:14-15
In our service of Jehovah should we fear Him? We should not fear, but reverence and love Jehovah, the ever-living One.
Name some of the gods that our fathers served in Egypt (ignorance). The god of love of money, the god of sense pleasure, and the god of personal ambition.
Give a splendid affirmation from the 15th verse of the lesson. “But as for me and my house, we will serve Jehovah.”
July 3, 1938: Joshua 24:14-21
What is implied in the command to “choose you this day whom ye will serve”? An injunction to single-mindedness is here implied. “Now therefore fear Jehovah, and serve him in sincerity and in truth.”
November 22, 1942: Joshua 24:14-15
How does one serve Jehovah “in sincerity and in truth”? By making sincerity and truth the keystone of life and acting from these motives habitually.
Is the exercise of choice a part of self-discipline? It is, especially in matters of faith. We owe it to ourselves to decide what is to command our allegiance, and then to render that allegiance without reserve. In this way we gain strength and stability.
July 14, 1946: Joshua 24:16, 22-24
What is the highest reward obedience to the divine law? Spiritual freedom as well as freedom from the physical effects of not keeping the law. He who is spiritually free clears the way for his children to enter into the same heritage of freedom with him, if they will.
When can we be sure that our loyalty to the highest is unshakable? After it has successfully withstood the test of temptation. As “other gods” beckon to us, we must rededicate ourselves to the one God.
What, besides will and determination, is required to hold us true to our allegiance to spiritual truth? Love. Through love the soul cleaves to its object with utter devotion. It makes loyalty to God easy and natural to us.
What makes for oneness of purpose and singleness of mind? Love of Truth.
December 30, 1951: Joshua 24:1-8
Is it well for us sometimes to review the history of our faith in order to gain a deeper appreciation of its underlying substance? Yes, it is a good exercise of our appreciative faculty to look back down the centuries at the persistence of our faith and to examine its origin and growth.
Is faith in the reality of the spiritual realm one of our greatest blessings? It is perhaps the very greatest of all, for without it life lacks fundamental meaning and significance.
What does the story of the deliverance at the Red Sea represent to us? It represents the deliverance of the individual, and eventually the race, from sense bondage into the liberty of spiritual dominion.
What was the earliest conception of God? Primitive man thought of God as a vindictive Being who could be placated only by the shedding of blood. This meant the slaying of thousands of animals and, among some peoples, even human sacrifices.
December 30, 1951: Joshua 24:14-18
Did the conception that Jesus Christ held of God show a decided evolutionary trend upward? Yes. Jesus spoke of God as “Our Father” and said “I am in the Father, and the Father in me,” showing that to Him God was altogether a spiritual Being.
Why is it important for us to choose our allegiance in matters involving religious faith? Because our spiritual growth and progress depends upon our forming a clear mental conception of what commands our reverence and worship. Since on earth we are finite beings, we must look to a Power that transcends our present grasp, if we wish to be equal to what comes to us in our daily round. We find that spiritual power best meets our needs and that it complements our physical and mental limitations. Therefore we recognize that God is Spirit and that we are meant to develop and express our spiritual nature until we attain perfect oneness in Spirit with Him.
How can we live in singleness of heart? Through identifying the entire consciousness (“me and my house”) with the ideal of spiritual life, we can keep our eye fixed on the good only.
Does our choosing a supreme loyalty work to broader advantage than that of our personal selves? Yes, the taking of a definite stand allows others to identify us with our ideal and to find help and inspiration in our efforts to realize it in our daily life. Our influence thus radiates beyond our own interests and we are able to contribute something to the progress that the race is making towards God.
Metaphysically Interpreting Joshua 24:29-33
24:29And it came to pass after these things, that Joshua the son of Nun, the servant of Jehovah, died, being a hundred and ten years old. 24:30And they buried him in the border of his inheritance in Timnathserah, which is in the hill-country of Ephraim, on the north of the mountain of Gaash.
24:32And the bones of Joseph, which the children of Israel brought up out of Egypt, buried they in Shechem, in the parcel of ground which Jacob bought of the sons of Hamor the father of Shechem for a hundred pieces of money: and they became the inheritance of the children of Joseph.
Transcribed by Lloyd Kinder on 12-28-2013