Cling to God (Joshua 23:6-8)
When God transferred leadership from Moses to Joshua at the beginning of the book of Joshua we read of God’s charge for Joshua to be strong and courageous. That Joshua was to hold onto God’s commands, to keep himself from turning away to the right or the left, but set his face straight ahead and advance in faith.
For the next 22 chapters we read of Joshua obeying God’s command, learning the lesson of faith time and time again. Whether it was trusting God’s plan to cross a flooded Jordan River, or to conquer Jericho by walking around it, or to ask God to literally add more hours to the day so that they can finish the task at hand, we read of a leader who understood what it meant to be bold and trust God.
Now near the end of his mission Joshua passes along the lessons lived out in his leadership. In Chapter 23 we see Joshua now challenge the people, as they begin to settle the land, as he transfers leadership back to each tribe, he challenges them to be strong in the Lord, to cling to Him.
Joshua knows all to well that the lessons learned in times of trials and war can easily be forgotten in times of rest and peace. When the vineyards are planted and the sheep are grazing will the people still trust in God? Or will they begin to allow their eyes and hearts to wonder, to begin to stray from God’s commands.
When we find God has called us to cross flooded rivers or conquer impossible tasks, we cling to God. We know all too well that this life thing is impossible for us to live successfully in our own power and wisdom. But we so quickly forget, and soon times of peace cause our hearts to wonder as well.
We need to take Joshua’s challenge to heart. We are not to turn to the right or the left, but instead to set our face on Christ, setting our eyes on the prize and running to win. Living lives that are set apart for His purposes, not mixed with the values and purposes of the cultures around us.
– Matt Ward