A long time later, after God had given Israel rest from all their surrounding enemies, and Joshua was a venerable old man,
Joshua called all Israel together - elders, chiefs, judges, and officers. Then he spoke to them:
You have seen everything that God has done to these nations because of you. He did it because he's God, your God. He fought for you.
"Stay alert: I have assigned to you by lot these nations that remain as an inheritance to your tribes - these in addition to the nations I have already cut down - from the Jordan to the Great Sea in the west.
God, your God, will drive them out of your path until there's nothing left of them and you'll take over their land just as God, your God, promised you.
"Now, stay strong and steady. Obediently do everything written in the Book of The Revelation of Moses - don't miss a detail.
Don't get mixed up with the nations that are still around. Don't so much as speak the names of their gods or swear by them. And by all means don't worship or pray to them.
Hold tight to God, your God, just as you've done up to now.
"God has driven out superpower nations before you. And up to now, no one has been able to stand up to you.
Think of it - one of you, single-handedly, putting a thousand on the run! Because God is God, your God. Because he fights for you, just as he promised you.
"Now, vigilantly guard your souls: Love God, your God.
Because if you wander off and start taking up with these remaining nations still among you (intermarry, say, and have other dealings with them),
know for certain that God, your God, will not get rid of these nations for you. They'll be nothing but trouble to you - horsewhips on your backs and sand in your eyes - until you're the ones who will be driven out of this good land that God, your God, has given you.
"As you can see, I'm about to go the way we all end up going. Know this with all your heart, with everything in you, that not one detail has failed of all the good things God, your God, promised you. It has all happened. Nothing's left undone - not so much as a word.
"But just as sure as everything good that God, your God, has promised has come true, so also God will bring to pass every bad thing until there's nothing left of you in this good land that God has given you.
If you leave the path of the Covenant of God, your God, that he commanded you, go off and serve and worship other gods, God's anger will blaze out against you. In no time at all there'll be nothing left of you, no sign that you've ever been in this good land he gave you."
Published by permission. Originally published by NavPress in English as THE MESSAGE: The Bible in Contemporary Language copyright 2002 by Eugene Peterson. All rights reserved. (The Message Bible Online)