Matins Devotion: July 5, 2023
You have to imagine that Joshua knows full well that his people are not going to heed his commands after his death. He was with these people in the wilderness and in the conquest of Canaan. He knows how easily rattled they are, how prone they are to despair, and how quickly they will turn away from their God and turn to worship idols in moments of fear or boredom. He’s seen how brittle their faith was when they had Moses and him leading them, surrounding them with miracles that should have driven doubt from their midst for a thousand generations. So surely Joshua knows the way things are going to go after they don’t have that kind of leadership. The people are going to do exactly what he warned them against. They’re going to embrace the idols of their neighbors and lead themselves into sin and death.
But Joshua warns them anyway because he knows God’s word of the law is still true, even if God’s people do not have the strength to keep that covenant. God will grant you eternal life if you perfectly keep His commandments. God will pour out blessings upon you in this life if you don’t go after idols. Man’s hatred of God’s law does not mean God’s love isn’t found in His law. This Joshua knows and so he speaks what probably feels like a futile word.
But, of course, there are no futile words with the God who also knew that His people would not keep His commands. God had already spoken and was always planning on speaking a better word that would bring salvation to those who had thrown it away, a better word found in the Gospel of Jesus Christ, the second Joshua.
The people of Israel did not listen to Joshua and made unholy marriages with the surrounding nations, embracing their gods and embracing death. In the same way, we did not listen to our God who gave us His law in the Scriptures. Our brittle faith went the way of the Israelites who chased after idols out of fear or boredom. But out of His mercy, God sent us the new Joshua, the true Savior who showed faithfulness to His faithless bride by shedding His blood for her, by destroying her sins upon the cross and by clothing her in his righteousness. When you would not listen to God’s commands, God’s only begotten Son did. And because of this, then through the new Joshua, we have eternal life.