Experiencing God’s rest
When Joshua called together the tribes of Reuben, Gad, and the half-tribe of Manasseh. He told them, “You have done as Moses, the servant of the Lord, commanded you, and you have obeyed every order I have given you. During all this time you have not deserted the other tribes. You have been careful to obey the commands of the Lord your God right up to the present day. And now the Lord your God has given the other tribes rest, as he promised them. So go back home to the land that Moses, the servant of the Lord, gave you as your possession on the east side of the Jordan River. But be very careful to obey all the commands and the instructions that Moses gave to you. Love the Lord your God, walk in all his ways, obey his commands, hold firmly to him, and serve him with all your heart and all your soul.” Joshua 22:1-5
Joshua, from the text, commended “the tribes of Reuben, Gad, and the half-tribe of Manasseh” for they have been faithful in discharging Moses’ directives as they were conquering Canaan, the Promised Land. For seven years they had put the interests of the nation before their own comforts. Joshua recognized that they were men of their word. They kept their word not just to Moses and Joshua, but more importantly to the Lord. Though Joshua was their leader, they still looked up to God and what mattered to them is their obedience and service to Him. It was God’s mission they were pursuing and they wanted to glorify Him by their actions. The same should be our attitude if we claim we are followers of Christ. Wherever we go, whatever we do, we are in the service of the Lord. This devotion to God should far outweigh our devotion to leaders. “Work willingly at whatever you do, as though you were working for the Lord rather than for people. Remember that the Lord will give you an inheritance as your reward, and that the Master you are serving is Christ” (Colossians 3:23-24). Joshua told the people to go back to their homes so they could experience the necessary rest they need. The concept of “rest” means much more than simply the end of war. Since they have been serving God, they find this more satisfying than serving their own desires. They found God as their resting place while facing the battle. When they followed God faithfully, they found themselves secured in the land He promised they will have. “Remember what Moses, the servant of the Lord, commanded you: ‘The Lord your God is giving you a place of rest. He has given you this land’...” until the Lord gives them rest, as he has given you rest, and until they, too, possess the land the Lord your God is giving them” (Joshua 1:13, 15). When we trust God and follow His word and His will for our life, we enter into rest because we are no longer resisting or rejecting God. Instead, we accept the fact that we can only enter spiritual rest when we yield ourselves completely to Him.