Old Man Wisdom Joshua 23:1-6

Old Man Wisdom Jos. 23: 1-6 CLICK TITLE FOR AUDIO


In this passage we find Joshua, a true man of God, old and stricken in age. Joshua has “finished his course”. He was Moses’ second man and had been appointed to take over after Moses death. He did a fine job leading the children of Israel in to the Promised Land. He is the type of man that every young man should seek counsel of.  He has years of experience in the ministry. He wanted to share some wisdom with the leaders and those who would succeed him. He Gave them some old man wisdom.

Admit your Weakness   Verses 1-2

He admitted he was old and stricken in age, undeniable, they could clearly see it.

It must have been hard for him to know that he was not the man he used to be. Think of all the things he had seen and done in his life time. He was an eye witness to everything God had done to Pharaoh, he was one of the twelve spies, who spied out the Promised land, he was there every minute of the forty years in the wilderness, and he led the folks in and conquered the enemies. He was a man’s man and had to be very proud. It had to be hard to admit he wasn’t the man he used to be.

When you admit your weakness:

  • Increases God’s Grace
    • [2 Cor.12:7-10] God’s grace flows when you are humbled
    • God used this weakness to offset his pride
    • Paul at that point gladly suffered so that he could be partaker of the Grace
  • Invites God’s Help
    • [James 4:6-10] Your humility invited God’s grace
    • God will lift you up, but in these verses, there is a definite order
    • You draw nigh FIRST, and he will draw nigh to you, you make the first move
    • Humble yourself, make the first move and God will meet you there!

Acknowledge His Strength          Verse 3

Joshua acknowledges that all the victory was due to God’s Strength. All they had to do is look back at the facts. They had lived and seen the hand of God deliver them. They needed no faith they had seen it. Acknowledging God’s Strength is a no brainer to these folks, they were eye witnesses.

When you acknowledge God’s strength:

  • It keeps you in your place.
    • [Jn.15:4-5] 4 Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, except it abide in the vine; no more can ye, except ye abide in me.
      5 I am the vine, ye are the branches: He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without me ye can do nothing.
    • You can not live the Christian life apart from God’s strength, many of try and never succeed.
    • [Ephesians 6:10]” Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might.”
    • The whole armour of God depends on the power of his might!
  • It keeps you going.
    • “I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me.”
    • [Philippians 1:6]” Being confident of this very thing, that he which hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ:”
    • [2 Timothy 1:12]” For the which cause I also suffer these things: nevertheless I am not ashamed: for I know whom I have believed, and am persuaded that he is able to keep that which I have committed unto him against that day.”
    • We must acknowledge God’s strength and trust in it!


Before William Booth became a minister, he conducted religious services in small country places as a lay preacher. And he had the poor in his heart and work, even as a teenager. At seventeen he was made a local preacher in the Methodist church. His superintendent wanted him to become a regular preacher at the age of nineteen. But his doctor advised him against the ministry, telling Booth that his health was so poor that he was totally unfit for the strain of the preacher’s life.

That doctor had no way of knowing that Booth would eventually take on strenuous work among London’s poor, physical labor that would make the life of a Methodist minister seem like a vacation. Nor did the doctor have any way of knowing that Booth would launch an organization of worldwide proportions and that he would live to be eighty-three.


Accept your Calling         Verse 4

Joshua described the work ahead of them. He gave them the big picture. He did not ask for comments or suggestions. He did not ask any of them for their opinion. He did not ask for them to go home and survey their family’s thoughts. He did not allow them to go on a survey trip to help persuade them. He just told them what God had for them.

When you accept your call

  • He does not ask you for your opinion and really does not need it.
    • Moses tried every excuse possible to get out of doing what God wanted
    • [Ex.3:11,4:1,10,13-14] And succeeded in making God mad!
  • God expects a man to accept his call, Ask Jonah how that works out.
  • Seldom are we content with the call we have been given.
    • [1 Corinthians 12:18]” But now hath God set the members every one of them in the body, as it hath pleased him.” Grow where you are planted
  • God will enable you to preform your calling
    • [1 Timothy 1:12]” And I thank Christ Jesus our Lord, who hath enabled me, for that he counted me faithful, putting me into the ministry;”

When Robert Morrison, the first missionary to go to China, disembarked from his ship in a Chinese port, the captain sneeringly said, “So you think you are going to make an impression upon China.”Morrison quietly replied, “No, sir, but I believe God will.”

When Robert Moffat, Scottish missionary to South Africa, came back to recruit helpers in his homeland, he was greeted by the fury of a cold British winter. Arriving at the church where he was to speak he noted that only a small group had braved the elements to hear his appeal. What disturbed him even more was that there were only ladies in attendance that night, for he had chosen as his text Proverbs 8:4, “Unto you, O men, I call.”

In his consternation he almost failed to notice one small boy in the loft who had come to work the bellows of the organ. Dr. Moffat felt hopeless as he gave the message, realizing that few women could be expected to undergo the rigorous experiences they would face in the undeveloped jungles of the continent where he labored.

But God works in mysterious ways to carry out His wise purposes. Although no one volunteered, the young fellow assisting the organist was thrilled by the challenge. Deciding that he would follow in the footsteps of this pioneer missionary, he went on to school, obtained a degree in medicine, and then spent the rest of his life ministering to the unreached tribes of Africa. His name: David Livingstone!

Allow His Direction         Verse 5

Joshua is reminding them that God will do the work, he will expel them, he will drive them out, just like he promised. They really should not have been hard to convince. Once again, they have already seen God in action, and fulfilling every promise.

Why we don’t allow God’s direction:

  • Your pride gets in the way
    • David, a man after God’s own heart, not only allowed God’s direction, but sought it out.
    • David composed many of the Psalms, yet not one reference of him slaying Goliath is found
    • David never let his pride lead the way, he depended on God’s direction
  • The World gets in the way
    • [1 John 2:16] “For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world.”
  • Your understanding gets in the way
    • [Prov.3:5-6] “Trust in the LORD with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths.”


Aspire to be Obedient   Verse 6

Joshua was trying to get them to “keep and do”. Obedience is the key to any relationship with God. They had seen plenty of disobedience in their lives. Aaron, Korah, Dathan, Abiram, On, and Achan to name a few, and the consequences.

Aspire to be obedient. Aspire because it is a process.

  • Crucify that flesh daily
    • [Gal.2:20] “ I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me.”
  • Confess and keep a short list with God.
    • [1 John 1:9] “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.”
  • Commit to Serve the Lord
    • [Joshua 24:15]” And if it seem evil unto you to serve the LORD, choose you this day whom ye will serve; whether the gods which your fathers served that were on the other side of the flood, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land ye dwell: but as for me and my house, we will serve the LORD.”
    • B. Riley used to tell the story of a man who had walked the streets of Philadelphia searching for employment. One day he happened to go into the office of a well-known businessman by the name of Girard. When he asked for a job, Mr. Girard answered, “Yes, I can give you work. See that pile of bricks out there? Carry them over to the other end of the yard and stack them up.”By nightfall the man reported that the project was completed and received his pay. When asked if there would be more work the next day, his employer said, “Yes, come in tomorrow and carry those same bricks back to where you found them.” The following morning, he came in early and got busy without a word. For more than a week he was instructed to carry bricks back and forth until it was evident that he could be trusted to do exactly what he was told.Then he was given a new and bigger responsibility—to go downtown and bid on a large quantity of sugar. Not recognizing him, the people at the auction were surprised by the bid of this total stranger. When it was accepted, the auctioneer asked who would pay the bill. “Mr. Girard,” the man replied. “I am his agent.” He had earned this position by being faithful in a menial task.


Admit your weakness

Acknowledge His strength

Accept your calling

Allow His direction

Aspire to be obedient