After a long time had passed and the Lord had given Israel rest from all their enemies around them, Joshua, by then a very old man, summoned all Israel—their elders, leaders, judges and officials—and said to them: “I am very old. You yourselves have seen everything the Lord your God has done to all these nations for your sake; it was the Lord your God who fought for you. Remember how I have allotted as an inheritance for your tribes all the land of the nations that remain—the nations I conquered—between the Jordan and the Mediterranean Sea in the west. The Lord your God himself will push them out for your sake. He will drive them out before you, and you will take possession of their land, as the Lord your God promised you.“Be very strong; be careful to obey all that is written in the Book of the Law of Moses, without turning aside to the right or to the left. Do not associate with these nations that remain among you; do not invoke the names of their gods or swear by them. You must not serve them or bow down to them. But you are to hold fast to the Lord your God, as you have until now. Joshua 23.1-8
Finishing well is not easy but by the grace of God and by following God’s instructions (Chapter 1), Joshua did! He died at the age of 110 and his words to the people, now settled in the land, were precisely those God had spoken to him as they prepared to cross the Jordan all those years before
Be very strong: be careful to obey all that is written in the Book of the Law of Moses, without turning to the right or to the left with the added warning Do not associate with those nations that remain among you; do not invoke their names or their gods or swear by them.
Joshua had led by example but he knew the fickleness of the people and so he warned them and challenged them as we shall see tomorrow.
But for today may Joshua’s leadership of God’s people be a lesson. He was called by God to a great task. God set before him the way to do this task and at the end of his life by God’s grace he was able to say ‘As for me and my household, we will serve the LORD (24.15)
May the same words be on our lips today making this our number one priority.