“Moses came and recited all the words of this song in the hearing of the people, he and Joshua the son of Nun. And when Moses had finished speaking all these words to all Israel, he said to them, ‘Take to heart all the words by which I am warning you today, that you may command them to your children, that they may be careful to do all the words of this law. For it is no empty word for you, but your very life, and by this word you shall live long in the land that you are going over the Jordan to possess.’” Deuteronomy 32:44-47
“’And as for me, this is my covenant with them,’ says the Lord: ‘My Spirit that is upon you, and my words that I have put in your mouth, shall not depart out of your mouth, or out of the mouth of your offspring, or out of the mouth of your children’s offspring,’ says the Lord, ‘from this time forth and forevermore.’” Isaiah 59:21
Imagine Moses, nearing the end of his vigorous life, clear-eyed and -minded. What could he include in the unique baton he would soon pass on to his successor? What was the summary of his providential life’s existence, the history he had implemented, his intimate knowledge of Almighty God, his deliverance and power and deeds? It was His word, spoken face to face, inscribed on stone, heart, and mind. (Deuteronomy 34:7,10-12)
Imagine Joshua, faithful assistant over many miles and long months, approaching the time he would step into the position Moses had carried for decades. He had the model of Moses’s humility, steadfastness, close walk with God, and ongoing communion in prayer. He’d seen skills of delegation and discipline and patience develop, and how Moses remained true to his call when criticized and rejected. Yet, what was the one advice Moses made paramount? Take to heart the word. It is your very life. Above all else, undergirding every plan, guiding every decision, fueling every effort, must be this word. It is not empty, futile, irrelevant, or distant; it is your very life.
What is our legacy? How do we desire and plan to gift those who come behind us? We live and speak example, we provide for practical needs, but how can we pass along very life? Do we love others well, sacrificially and generously as Jesus does? Do we know the Word well enough to speak it in resolving conflict, to call upon it for guidance, to implement it in discipline and admonishment and decisions? How can we instill in others fortitude, encouragement, or wisdom directly from the Bible? When we are immersed in it, and trained by it, God’s truth becomes our natural default, and the drive behind our words to those around us. It fuels what we impart, touching everything we do and say.
“Your testimonies are wonderful;
therefore my soul keeps them.
The unfolding of your words gives light;
it imparts understanding to the simple.
I open my mouth and pant,
because I long for your commandments...
Your promise is well tried,
and your servant loves it…
Your testimonies are righteous forever;
give me understanding that I may live.” Psalm 119:129-131,140,144
And so help me pass this along, my Lord and Living Word. Amen.