Now it came about after many days, when the LORD had given rest to Israel from all their enemies on every side, and Joshua was old, advanced in years, that Joshua called for all Israel, for their elders and their heads and their judges and their officers, and said to them, "I am old, advanced in years. "And you have seen all that the LORD your God has done to all these nations because of you, for the LORD your God is He who has been fighting for you. "See, I have apportioned to you these nations which remain as an inheritance for your tribes, with all the nations which I have cut off, from the Jordan even to the Great Sea toward the setting of the sun. "The LORD your God, He will thrust them out from before you and drive them from before you; and you will possess their land, just as the LORD your God promised you. "Be very firm, then, to keep and do all that is written in the book of the law of Moses, so that you may not turn aside from it to the right hand or to the left, so that you will not associate with these nations, these which remain among you, or mention the name of their gods, or make anyone swear by them, or serve them, or bow down to them. "But you are to cling to the LORD your God, as you have done to this day.
Each of the tribes, except the Levites, claimed and settled in their promised inheritance. Although they were able to acquire the land, not all their enemies were completely eradicated. Many of them were still among the Israelites. These Ďenemiesí worked for, and lived under the rule of, several of the tribes. Sadly these have kept their ways and the practices with their gods, even as they lived among Godís people and have seen His power in the battlefields in favor of the Israelites.
As Joshua was old and soon to die, he reminded once more his people to only cling to God and remain singleminded in their faith in Him. Be firm, he says and stay away from relating or compromising. Calling, and recalling to mind the greatness of God in moving them through the desert to the promised land and instilling in them to remain faithful to Him was Joshuaís last task.
Remaining singleminded these days is an arduous task. Everywhere I look I am tempted to bow to belief systems that war against the truth of Godís word. The world calls out for tolerance, living in harmony with others. It means that its alright to be a little bit of this and a little bit of that; itís not alright to be obviously Christian because it might offend someone else. I have found myself to acquiesce but it didnít sit well. I would come home from work or a meeting with someone feeling horrible because I compromised or remained quiet. Joshua calls out to be firm but Iíve become a softy in some ways. Thankfully, we have a merciful God who forgives when that happens. In the back of my mind though, I feel that God is reminding me to not push the envelope because one day I am going to find myself so far away from Him, so I cling! I hang on to Him, because without Him I am nothing. Without Him, I will not bear fruit. Without Him, I am a mere stick.. but with Him, I am a branch hanging on to the vine. Will I dare be a stick or will I dare be fruitful by clinging to the vine?
God I want to cling to you. I want to live a fruitful life and I can only do that by being singleminded and focused in my walk with you. Help me God to draw the line and recognize my boundaries. Help me God not to compromise my beliefs just because. I want to know you more. Amen.