When asked what he loved most about his many years of ministry, Billy Graham replied, “It has been my fellowship with Jesus. To sense His presence, to glean His wisdom, to have Him guide and direct me—that has been my greatest joy.” I think Joshua might have said the same.
In Joshua 23, the humble assistant to Moses and mighty warrior-leader of Israel announces,“I am now old and well advanced in years,” then stirs Israel’s leaders with his memorable final speech. He mentions not his courageous leadership, nor his close affiliation with the famous Moses; he takes no glory for achievements or victories. His spirit and his speech are vital because as he is cloaked in and captivated by the Lord his God, they are energized by the same. His life was lived in surrendered obedience, and he never retired; Joshua’s legacy to his nation was the LORD Himself.
Joshua exalts God, reminding Israel of His great power and fidelity to His word. “For the Lord has driven out before you great and strong nations. And as for you, no man has been able to stand before you to this day. One man of you puts to flight a thousand, since it is the Lord your God who fights for you, just as he promised you. Not one word has failed of all the good things that the Lord your God promised concerning you; all have been fulfilled for you.” He energizes their allegiance to Him alone, warning against turning from God’s law to the allure of the gods or people of their new land. “If you turn back and cling to the remnant of these nations remaining among you and make marriages with them, so that you associate with them and they with you, know for certain that they shall be a snare and a trap for you, a whip on your sides and thorns in your eyes, until you perish from off this good ground that the Lord your God has given you.” He urges care in complete devotion, love, dependence, and obedience, and reminds them of the blessings that accompany an undivided heart.
“Even to old age and gray hairs, O God, do not forsake me, until I proclaim your might to another generation, your power to all those to come.” May I continually “bear fruit, ever full of sap and green,” my life so bundled up in You that my work and words to my last breath point others to You, good and faithful King of kings. You are the only One worthy to be worshiped and obeyed. (Psalm 92:14; 71:18)