Joshua 23 (5)
Read Joshua 23.14.
1. What did Joshua mean by “the way of all the earth”? How should we approach this reality?
2. Why does Joshua reiterate the reminder of all the good things God had done for His people?
Think about it.
Death is the great leveler, “the way of all the earth.” We can see here that Joshua, as he faces the reality of his death, is dwelling on the good things God has done for His people. God is good, faithful, and strong, Joshua says, as much to himself as to those he will be leaving behind.
Dying is not really the issue. How we die is. The writer of Hebrews reminds us that, for those who do not know the Lord, death can be a fearful thing (Heb. 2.15). The prospect of death is disturbing to many people. Is this really the end? Will it be painful? Can it be postponed? What happens after I die?
For Joshua, facing death meant looking to God. From the depth of his being, he resonated with confidence in the goodness and power and promises of God. We don’t know how much the people of Joshua’s day understood about life after death, but they had at least some notion that death was not the end of life, and after death, something beautiful and wonderful awaited them in the presence of God.
Joshua’s message to the people of Israel intends to help them keep their eyes on the Lord. They have followed Joshua and looked to him for many years. Joshua’s point is that God was doing all the good things that had come to them, and they needed to continue looking to Him. Though Joshua must depart and go “the way of all the earth,” God would never fail nor forsake them.
We’re all going to die. We can approach the end of our lives with dread and uncertainty, or, fixing our eyes on Jesus, exalted in glory, we can approach death with indominable hope, know that while for us to live is Jesus Christ, to die and be with the Lord is true gain (Phil. 1.21).
Trust in God. Rely on His Word. Remember all His faithfulness and the good things He has done. Face death with joyous anticipation, encouraging those who will mourn your passing to set their minds on Christ (Col. 3.1-3).
Meditate and discuss.
1. How can you nurture the kind of confidence in the Lord Joshua talks about in this verse? Why is it important that you do so?
2. What is the Christian’s great hope? How should this sustain us as we face the prospect of death? As we deal with the death of loved ones?
3. Joshua does what every good leader should do: Work to connect the people he serves with God. We’re all leaders in our own Personal Mission Fields. What are the implications of Joshua’s example for you?
“Joshua says that in regard to himself the common end of all is at hand, inasmuch as he, too, was born mortal. These expressions are evidently adapted to console the people, and prevent them from feeling immoderate grief at the bereavement when he should be taken from them. For there cannot be a doubt that his loss filled the people with the deepest regret, when they saw themselves reduced, as it were, to a mutilated trunk, by being deprived of their head.” John Calvin, Commentary on Joshua (1509-1564 AD)
Since I must die some day, Lord, grant that every day I may prepare well for that event by…
Pray Psalm 23.
David surveys the present goodness of God as a token of the promise of greater goodness to come. Use this prayer to do the same.
Psalm 23 (The Gift of Love: Though I May Speak with Bravest Fire)
Because the Lord my Shepherd is
I shall not want, for I am His!
He makes me lie in pastures full;
I rest in Him by waters still.
My soul He quickens and will bless;
He leads in paths of righteousness.
Though I may walk in death’s dark vale,
I shall not fear – He will not fail!
The Lord is ever by my side;
His rod and staff with me abide.
A table rich for me He spreads;
With oil my Lord anoints my head.
Goodness and mercy, full and free,
Shall ever after follow me,
And in the house of God, my Lord,
Shall I abide forevermore!
T. M. Moore
Where does the book of Joshua fit in the ongoing story of God’s covenant? Our workbook, God’s Covenant, can help you discover the place in God’s work of redemption not only of Joshua but of all the books of the Bible. God’s Covenant is a valuable resource to guide you in all your studies in God’s Word. To order your copy, click here. And when you order, we’ll send you a free copy of Bricks and Rungs: Poems on Calling.
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Except as indicated, Scripture taken from the New King James Version. © Copyright 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved. All psalms for singing adapted from The Ailbe Psalter. All quotations from Church Fathers from Ancient Christian Commentary Series, General Editor Thomas C. Oden (Downers Grove: InterVarsity Press, 2006).
The Good Things of the Lord
- T.M. Moore
- November 30, 2018
Joshua shows us how to die with no regrets.
Joshua 23 (5)
T. M. Moore is principal of The Fellowship of Ailbe, a spiritual fellowship in the Celtic Christian tradition. He and his wife, Susie, make their home in Essex Junction, VT.