Day 25

Joshua’s Farewell Address

from the reading plan

Joshua 23:1-16, Matthew 22:37-40, Philippians 1:6

Think of all Joshua accomplished, from leading his people across the Jordan River to razing the walls of Jericho. He saw the sun stand still, dethroned kings, and divided up the newly conquered land among the tribes of Israel. As he prepared to walk off into the sunset, he could have sung his own praises, listing his accolades for hours on end. But instead, he gives a pretty simple, very direct address to summarize his parting thoughts. I can almost hear him say, “If you remember nothing else, remember these things.”

Perhaps because of its relative brevity, I can’t help but wonder if the text of Joshua 23 is an exact transcript of the speech Joshua gave, or if there was even more. We’ll never be certain. What we do know for sure is that what we have before us now are the divinely inspired, God-breathed words that constitute the permanent record for countless generations of believers. What we meditate on today is what the author of this particular section of Joshua wanted us to know, or to be more precise, what the Lord wanted us to hear.

In his farewell address to Israel, Joshua lays it all out, imparting and recapping for them what is most important with regard to being in a covenant relationship with the Lord. First and foremost, God’s people are to remember all that He has done for them, everything they have witnessed and experienced in and by His presence. They are to remember all the ways their God has fought for them and how He has revealed Himself and His power to them. And just as God has continued to be faithful to them, they are called to be faithful and devoted to Him, to keep His law out of loving response to all He has done. God alone is worthy of this kind of devotion, and He alone can offer the peace and rest His people need.

At the heart of Joshua’s appeal is this: “I am going the way of the whole earth, and you know with all your heart and all your soul that none of the good promises the LORD your God made to you has failed. Everything was fulfilled for you; not one promise has failed” (Joshua 23:14).

Now, think about these words in light of your own journey of faith. What good things has the Lord provided you? I bet the list is long. What promises has He fulfilled? Consider the assurance of salvation in Jesus. What master has seen you through despair or presented you as pure and blameless in the sight of the Lord? Surely, only Jesus has been faithful, while the idols of your heart have let you down time and time again. Think on the good and wonderful things He’s done for you. Praise Him for His unswerving dedication to your eternal soul. Submit to His authority and guidance. Always remember; never forget.

Post Comments (2)

2 thoughts on "Joshua’s Farewell Address"

  1. Charles Shinn says:

    Love God. Love people.

  2. Dave Milbrandt says:

    I am fascinated that Joshua spends his farewell address not focusing on his accomplishments, but on what the Lord has done for His people. May we all, when we look back on our lives, give praise for the grace and generosity of the Lord and not incorrectly attribute our accomplishments to our own efforts.

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