Joshua 23:14 “…You know with all your heart and soul that not one of all the good promises the Lord your God gave you has failed. Every promise has been fulfilled; not one has failed.”
|Great Grandpa holding Luke just months before he died|
A person’s last words are very telling. The final statement and messages, whether well thought out or not, often give an overview of a dying person’s priorities. Some are very instructive, others are funny, and others are very sad.
When Great Grandpa knew he was dying of cancer he made a special trip over to see Grandma just to remind her and the rest of the family to “Stick together.” He had seen too many families pulled apart by greed and busyness and wanted to make sure his children remembered to support each other through thick and thin. These are words that I have never forgotten.
Joshua23 records another farewell message. Joshua, the successor of Moses and the man who led the children of Israel into the Promised Land gave it. He knew that he was about to go the way of the earth and wanted to impress on the nation all that he had seen and learned throughout his fascinating life, so he called together all Israel to hear his final words.
Joshua’s inspiring speech is one that we need to keep before us even today. In it he gave:
1. A Reminder of God’s faithfulness
2. A Reinforcement of God’s expectations
3. A Revitalization of faith
4. A Reason for obedience
Reminder: Joshua reminded God’s people of God’s faithfulness in fighting for them. He was one of the two men who had lived through the miraculous Exodus when God delivered His people from the mighty Pharoah of Egypt. He had experienced the ten plagues, walked through the Red Sea, been fed by manna in the desert, and drank water that poured from a solid rock. He had seen God deliver the nation from all their enemies and give them the Promised Land flowing with milk and honey. He had also seen the tendency of the people to complain and forget Who it was Who had given them all these things.
Reinforcement: Joshua reinforced God’s expectations of His people. He told them to be very firm, and to always do all that was written in the book of Moses. He implored them not to turn aside from these laws and to faithfully worship the true God clinging only to Him.
Revitalization: Joshua revitalized the nation’s faith in God’s ability to drive out the rest of the enemies, and assured them that the Lord would fight on their behalf just as He had promised. As Joshua reviewed his life he was able to say with confidence, “. . . Not one of all the good words which the Lord your God spoke concerning you has failed; all have been fulfilled for you, not one of them has failed.” Joshua knew this to be true because he had been there and seen it all first hand.
Reason for Obedience: Finally Joshua gave the children of Israel a warning and a reason for obedience. This great and seasoned leader knew that if the nation turned from the Lord and began to cling to the pagan people that inhabited the land, these foreign nations would become a snare and a trap to them. Their heathen habits and customs would be like thorns in Israel’s eyes and a whip on their sides until they perished from the good land that God had meant to be theirs. He reasoned that since God always keeps His promises, He would keep not only the promises of good but also the promises of punishment if the people began serving foreign gods.
Joshua had lived a long and eventful life. He had seen much good and bad in the process of bringing the children of Israel out of the land of slavery and into the Promised Land of rest. He knew with certainty that God had fought for His people, but that He also expected complete obedience and unwavering worship. Joshua desired that this great nation would remember all of these things and prosper under the hand of the great God of heaven, so he gave his final message with passion and hopefulness.
Many years have passed since Joshua died, but his words still ring true. The same God Who fought for Israel is willing to fight for us if we will only allow Him to be the Lord of our life. He is still faithful, still powerful, and still keeps His promises because He is a God Who does not lie. What He says He will do, and what He promises He will bring to pass.
Put your trust in the great God of Joshua. If you follow Him all the days of your life, then someday you will look back and be able to tell your children that you know with all your heart and soul that not one of all the good promises the Lord your God gave you has failed. Every promise has been fulfilled; not one has failed. Wouldn’t those be some great final words to leave with all who come behind you?