We’re really nearly right at the very end of the story of Joshua now. Israel have enjoyed peace and settled in their promised land and Joshua is well and truly old and advanced in years (If you’ve got time see previous post Advanced in years on this). He has prepared an epic farewell speech for the people to set their course in his absence. I like to think it has that air of kids leaving home, or perhaps a father of the bride speech about it; some personal reflection, some looking back with fondness, some stern advice/warning and then a releasing commission. Three things stood out to me;
“Now I am about to go the way of all the earth…” Joshua 23:14
We were having dinner the other evening and, I’m not sure how, but the conversation turned to the subject of death. One of my kids announced boldly “We can’t talk about this. It’s taboo!” After laughing loudly at her (always one of my best parenting strategies) and then explaining to her younger sister what the word “taboo” meant, I questioned her more gently about where she had learned such an idea – from her English teacher apparently. I reminded her that in our house NO subjects are taboo because we don’t want to give shame any space in our lives and we want to bring everything into the light! The other thing I wanted her to consider is that her English teacher may have a very different view of death than we do. When you don’t know that Jesus has swallowed up death in victory and taken away it’s sting, that it is our doorway to eternity and freedom, then all you have is a shadow of fear and doubt and pain, and let’s be honest that is not something comfortable to chat about over your spaghetti bolognaise. But Joshua knew that death is a door we must all walk through whether we are comfortable or not. He seems pretty ready to step through. None of us know how long we have on this earth. We will all one day have to face death – it may be decades away or come suddenly, we do not know, but it is a certainty and we’d better be ready.
2.Every promise fulfilled!
“…You know with all your heart and soul that not one of all the good promises the Lord your God gave you has failed. Every promise has been fullfilled; not one has failed.” ch 23:14b
What an incredible testimony at the end of his life! Every single thing God said He would do He has done. He has been faithful every step of the way. He has never let us down. He has never gone back on His word or changed His mind. Now I’ve just read Joshua’s story and I bet there were moments when he must have wondered – like on the 6th day of marching round Jericho’s walls, or when his arm was aching from pointing his javelin at the Ai, or when the 5 kings of the Amorites ganged up against them. I know there are times when I don’t see how on earth God is going to bring me through from here to there! But He is by His very nature always good and He is always faithful! There is no other friend like Him. Even my very favourite people sometimes let me down, they trip or fail or bail out – because they, like me, are not perfect. They sometimes forget what they promised or their circumstances change unexpectedly, but He is not like us! And isn’t that good news?
3.Everybody must choose for themselves!
“But if serving the Lord seems undesirable to you, then choose for yourselves this day who you will serve, whether the gods your ancestors served beyond the Euphrates, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land you are living. But as for me and my household, we will serve the Lord.” Ch24:15
No one else can make this choice for you! Your own faith, your own beliefs are your own decision – it is not something your parents can pass on to you like frizzy red hair or an enormous nose, and you don’t catch faith by osmosis when hanging around with people who have strong convictions, nor by keeping a outwardly religious routine, or going to a special place, or even by reading a particularly helpful blog! And there are so many options to choose from – the things from our past that are tried and trusted and “normal” to us, or maybe the new, shiny and exciting novelties that shake up our normal and offer something different, or maybe it’s all too much so we choose to cop out and believe in nothing at all! Your choice is your choice. But as for me and my household….
I choose Jesus because He first chose me. I choose Jesus because He isn’t like any other. I choose Jesus because He is The Light of the world who shines on that which was once taboo. I choose Jesus because He died in my place, because He conquered death and removes my shame and guilt and sin. I choose Jesus because He rose again and offers me true, abundant, everlasting life. I choose Jesus because He is always good and always keeps His promises! So my little house on today’s page has a welcome mat because He is welcome here, in my house and in my heart. What about you?
Happy choosing. Love Rach x