And as the Israelites watched, Joshua copied the law of Moses onto the stones of the altar.
I have been reading a lot from the book of Joshua lately (and watching NBC’s This is Us). Between the two I realized something: our past has plenty to teach us and the lives of our loved ones before us has planted some strong seeds in us, that we’d be remiss to forget.
For those of you unfamiliar with the series, This is Us, the storyline takes a bold approach to dual storytelling: one family’s story told during two parallel pockets of time. It’s so compelling to see how the story of the former family deeply impacts and shapes the stories of the latter family. They are all one, but exist at two distinctly different times.
As I read the book of Joshua, I am moved to make the same assessment of the lives of Moses and Joshua: two men leading at two very different times, but eternally connected. Many of the decisions that Moses made during the later years of his life, Joshua witnessed or heard about from others in his family/tribe during the early years of his life. Whether Joshua was aware of it at the time or not, his leadership skills and faith were being crafted by Moses’ actions as a bold, faithful leader.
By the time Joshua carries the torch to lead the Israelites to the promised land, after Moses’ death, Joshua has absorbed so much of who Moses is and was, that he almost seamlessly shifts into this position of power as an obedient servant of God. Following God’s every instruction, just as Moses did, he not only gains the respect and honor from the other Israelites, but he also successfully leads them to the prosperous future God has promised them.
It is in chapter 8, however, that I was struck with how dutiful Joshua was to the actual spiritual practices of Moses. Joshua, like Moses, in verse 32, copies the Law into stone, now that he has conquered and settled into another city that God has delivered. He, like Moses, wants to be sure that the children of God NEVER forget who delivered them, and the expectations that have been placed upon them since that deliverance.
The fact that Joshua doesn’t forget to create the altar after this successful raid of Ai, AND remembers to re-iterate God’s law on this new land, not only speaks to his allegiance to his God, but it also illustrates how vital remaining connected to where you came from is to prospering where you are now.
How many of us have reached our promised land, only to lose it because we begin behaving or living in ways that are not how we were groomed to behave and live? How many of us have lost opportunities to seize our promised lands, simply because the faith that was instilled in us as children was somehow clouded by fear/doubt sprinkled on us as adults?
Who can attest to hearing their grandmother’s voice say, “no baby,” when you were walking in a direction that you knew better to tread? Who can recall a moment when you felt like you’d been there before and chose one way that proved successful, but this time wandered off another way that failed miserably?
Let us not forget The Truth. We all know The Truth, whether we admit it or not. The Truth is that we should honor God by word, thought and deed at all times. The Truth is that we should love at all costs and forgive by any means necessary. The Truth is that we have NOTHING to fear. The Truth is that His Grace is sufficient.
Joshua’s act of obedience and faith in this chapter and the recent episodes of This is Us reminded me that our lives are deeply connected to the lives of those that lived before us, and God’s will in them has remained consistent and True. We are all unique. We all have distinct paths to follow on our own special assignments, but let’s not forget where we come from; what we come from; and WHO we come from.
We are the children of the Most High. We need not back away from battles that we have already been told we will win. And when we succeed, we need not change who we are to embrace the victory.
All we need to simply do is rejoice in His greatness, honor His law of Love, and move forward in faith. The next generation needs us to.
I Love you,