Life of purpose
The years passed, and the Lord had given the people of Israel rest from all their enemies. Joshua, who was now very old, called together all the elders, leaders, judges, and officers of Israel. He said to them, “I am now a very old man. You have seen everything the Lord your God has done for you during my lifetime. The Lord your God has fought for you against your enemies. Joshua 23:1-3
A well-known psychoanalyst, Eric Fromm wrote in his book “Man for Himself,” “To die is poignantly bitter, but the idea of having to die without having lived is unbearable.” From the text, Joshua was advanced in years and he had lived a life with meaning and purpose. His life of serving God started when the Israelites were freed from the Egyptian bondage. Now he was before the leaders of Israel calling them to worship the Lord who has been faithful to them. He knew that his life on earth was about to end. “Soon I will die, going the way of everything on earth” (Joshua 23:14). And this is also how we must go if God will not return first. We should think about how we are living our lives and just like Joshua, his concern was how the people of Israel will keep their commitment with God. So, once again he reminded them to love God and to keep His commandments. He is calling all the leaders and elders to proclaim the praise of God for what they have seen and experienced. “You have seen everything the Lord your God has done for you during my lifetime. The Lord your God has fought for you against your enemies” (Joshua 23:3). Once again, Joshua emphasized to the Israelites that the Lord is their God. He will repeat several times in these last two remaining chapters the phrase, “the Lord your God.” This acknowledgement should be the priority of our lives. Every other decision that we will make is based upon our recognition of who God is in our lives. Joshua has to remind them of this truth for he knew what happened during the time of Moses when their commitment to God was not there and that they were easily overcome with fear. Most of the Israelites during that time did not see the Promise Land. Same is true with us, if we will not acknowledge God having the preeminence over our lives, we will not experience rest. Just like the Israelites, they wandered aimlessly in the wilderness and missed out on God’s purpose for their lives. It was Joshua and Caleb who stood firm in their commitment that the Lord is their God. Let us commit ourselves to having God having primacy in our lives so that in the end we could say with Paul, “I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, and I have remained faithful” (2 Timothy 4:7).