“And Joshua called for all Israel, for their elders, for their heads, for their judges, and for their officers, and said to them: ‘I am old, advanced in age.'”
The sun is about to set in the life and ministry of Joshua. After spending years being mentored in ministry by Moses, he ventured out as Israel’s leader. He led the nation as they furthered the kingdom of God, and became established in the land. Now that his time is coming to an end, Joshua will give his final message to the people he has so faithfully served. His message could be divided into four main points of exhortation that would lead to their continued success.
“Therefore be very courageous to keep and to do all that is written in the Book of the Law of Moses, lest you turn aside from it to the right hand or to the left.”
Step one, they needed to read and obey the Scriptures. Clearly, the lifestyle, as well as the daily struggles of an agrarian society of thirty-five hundred years ago, would be drastically different than the challenges we face today. However, regardless of what we face, reading and doing what the Bible says is the secret to success. Set aside a time, daily, to be in the Word.
“But you shall hold fast to the Lord your God, as you have done to this day.”
Step two, cling to the Lord. Clinging implies closeness; it is impossible to cling from a distance. The secret to clinging to Christ is to remove anything from our lives which creates separation. David learned that compromise placed a wedge between him and the Lord. The one who once experienced sweet fellowship with God, found that unconfessed sin put a distance between him and the Lord. If you are hiding some sin, it is time to bring it into the open. Tell the Lord about it, and confide in a trustworthy believer who will pray for you.
“Therefore take careful heed to yourselves, that you love the Lord your God.”
Step three might be step one. God created us to be in a love relationship with Himself. Jesus told us the most important of all commands is to love God. We love Him by placing Him above all else. When my desire is to please God above even my desire to please myself, I am expressing true love and devotion. When we allow other things to stand on the same platform as the Lord, those things will begin to vie for our time, devotion, and obedience. Perhaps it is time to take inventory and remove anything which has been exalted to that place in life which only God should have.
“Now therefore, fear the Lord, serve Him in sincerity and in truth, and put away the gods which your fathers served on the other side of the River and in Egypt. Serve the Lord!”
Step four is to serve the Lord. Without a doubt, there is a common denominator in the life of every successful follower of Christ. The common denominator is that they have gone from simply believing, to beginning to serve. This was true of the original followers of Christ, and it is equally as true today. If we want to see our Christian life begin to take off, we need to get involved in regular service. It is there, we will find healthy relationships that will encourage our growth, and where we will find ourselves in daily dependance upon the help of the Lord.
The generation that heard Joshua, continued to follow and serve the Lord. Sadly, his exhortations were lost on the next generation, and they soon began to drift from God and experience defeat in life.