READ : Joshua 23:1-16
“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.” (v. 6 NIV)
With these last words of Joshua we have come full circle. When he began as leader of God’s people, Joshua spoke about being careful to obey the words of Moses and being strong and courageous. Now as he prepared to leave the people, we see him saying exactly the same thing.
The challenges and dangers of crossing the Jordan River and conquering the land had kept the Israelites close to the Lord. The result was peace and prosperity, but those are just the times when people stray from God.
In Mendelssohn’s oratorio Elijah there is a beautiful chorus entitled, “He That Shall Endure To the End Shall Be Saved.” Although it describes how God longs for Elijah to be faithful and trust God, these are actually the words of Jesus: “ . . . the one who endures to the end will be saved.” (Matthew 10:22)
Many games slip away in the last quarter, when players grow tired or careless and end up losing. Joshua’s words still ring true: “But you are to hold fast to the Lord your God as you have until now” (v. 8).
Lord, help us to endure so that we may be saved. Amen.