We have come to the end of Joshua, both the man and the book. The people will go on without him and remain faithful to the promise they made, for a time.
For about 75 years Joshua lived a peaceful life. I won’t say it was a quiet life because I believe he still held a position where people sought out his judgement and guidance. But we don’t hear of any major issues he addressed during that time.
Joshua’s life started as a slave in Egypt. He was born into bondage along with his people. We are not told if Pharaoh was continuing his efforts to decrease the Hebrew population by killing male babies at that time. Judging by the number of people who came out of Egypt with him and the two census’ taken I would say it was a losing battle.
In his teen years Joshua initially suffered and later observed as God sent plagues upon Egypt to free His people. Joshua started with endured the waters being turned to blood and ended this time with the blood of the lamb anointing the home of his parents’ house, protecting him from the angel of death.
Joshua rejoiced with his people as the Egyptians PUSHED them from the land. He stood by the Red Sea as Pharaoh’s chariots bore down on the people. He walked across on the sea bed as God held the Egyptian army at bay. He stood on the far bank as God drowned the entire army pursuing them. And he rejoiced with Miriam after she began her song.
Joshua sat in the background quietly writing as God spoke with Moses on the mountain top. (Quick side note: where did Joshua learn to read and write?) He listened to the people rejoicing as he and Moses came down from the mountain with God’s newly written commandments. He gaped in horror beside Moses as he saw what the people were doing during their absence. He stood silently by Moses’ side as he commanded the Levites who came to him to strap on their swords and go through the camp killing the people.
Joshua catalogued and organized supplies as they came pouring in for the construction of the temple. He received and stored the completed items until the day for assembly arrived. He watched as the individual pieces were assembled into the whole that became the Tabernacle; the House of God.
Joshua led the first battle Israel fought in their history as a people. He looked to Moses for encouragement throughout the battle. He rejoiced over the defeat of their enemy who had attacked them. And he returned without grumbling to his previous status once that battle was over.
Joshua went throughout the land of Canaan with his fellow spies as they looked over the land and brought back a report. He stood with Caleb in the knowledge that God would give the people victory if they would only trust in Him. He added his voice with the three others calling for faith in God and stood willing to give his life for that belief. He wept at the people’s behavior both before their exclusion from the promise and after.
Joshua walked every step with the people during their time in the wilderness as a consequence of their sin. He maintained the rolls of the people as the original generation dwindled and finally expired, frequently at the hands of judgement for another of their sins. He wept at their sins and rejoiced when they repented.
Joshua rejoiced as God finally told Israel it was time to move back towards His Promised Land. He laid his hand and heart to his sword during the battles on the eastern side of the Jordan. He recorded the division of the land that Moses had given to the two and a half tribes in the eastern territory.
Joshua stood gobsmacked as Moses told him that God wanted Joshua to lead the people into the Promised Land. He humbly accepted this mantel of responsibility but waited until Moses’ death to pick it up and wear it.
Joshua listened for the directions of the Lord, as he had been taught to by Moses. He waited on the Lord to tell him where, when and how to take each step into the Promised Land. He kept the people’s focus on the will of the Lord and faithfully executed every task given to him by God as they crossed into His promises.
Joshua faithfully completed Moses’ last instructions regarding the blessings and curses proclaimed on the mountain top. He inscribed the law on the stones brought for that special remembrance occasion. He reaffirmed the covenant between God and the people, including revisiting all the statutes that were given for them to follow.
Joshua sought the Lord, waged battle, and tended to the people as they moved into the Promised Land. He dealt with the sins that arose according to the Lord’s direction. He maintained the people’s focus on the Lord’s will. He encouraged them to remember the miracles of the past and to step fully into the future God was writing.
Joshua assigned the inheritance to the tribes under the direction of God. He commanded them to pick up the task of walking in the Lord’s promises. He declared rest for the people when the major fighting had ended. He sent the eastern tribes back to their homes after their faithful service to their brothers had concluded.
Joshua maintained his heart connection with the Lord for ALL his days. He never lost faith in the promises of God. He encouraged the people in their walk with God. And he closed his life by renewing the covenant again with the people. For 110 years Joshua followed the Lord. He did NOT do so perfectly but he did so faithfully. He repented of his sins, rejoiced in his victories, and looked to the Lord for his help. “Israel served the Lord all the days of Joshua, and all the days of the elders who outlived Joshua and had known all the work that the Lord did for Israel” (verse 31). THAT is a legacy worth writing about!
Father God I wish I had such a legacy. One that spoke so fully of You that all those who followed me followed You too. That would mean my children and my grandchildren would all walk with You. I pray that still happens one day. I leave them in Your hands Lord and will trust You with them.
I also pray that You use my words to bring others to You. Let me be a call to those who are searching. Let me shine Your light so brightly that they seek You with their whole hearts. Let me inspire them to begin, continue, and/or deepen their journey through You word. I pray Your word comes to life in their hearts just as it has done for me in my heart. That’s the legacy I want to leave; one that points to You!
Holy Spirit, thank You for bringing life and imagination into the words I read on the page. I love hearing and seeing where You take me each day. It is always a special journey we take together. I seldom know where we are going when we start out but You never fail to guide me to the place You have prepared in advance. I look forward to our journeys.