Friday, April 21, 2017

April 21

Joshua 22:21-23:16; Luke 20:27-47; Psalm 89:14-37; Proverbs 13:17-19

I wrote two weeks ago about Moses’ parting speech and what an impact it made (see post here). He passed the torch off to Joshua, who then began his long journey as the leader of the Israelites. And here we are, many years later, and now it’s Joshua who is at the end of his life and leadership. He’s led the people through the conquering of Canaan – for 7 years they fought and for 7 years they settled in the land. Now, “a long time afterward, when the LORD had given rest to Israel from all their surrounding enemies, and Joshua was old and well advanced in years,” (Josh. 23:1), he has some final words for the people he has led so faithfully. Can you imagine the death and destruction he’s seen? And the hope and promise he’s experienced? Truly amazing. Through it all, he never loses sight of God’s plan and what the Israelites should do in response. Look at what he says:

“Therefore, be very strong to keep and to do all that is written in the Book of the Law of Moses, turning aside from it neither to the right or to the left, that you may not mix with these nations…but you shall cling to the LORD your God just as you have done to this day” (vs. 6-8).

These are timeless words, aren’t they? We still need to be very strong today. We still need to do all that God asks of us, not being led astray by various temptations. And we still need to be careful how much we mix with the nations around us. It’s a thin line we walk, isn’t it? To be in this world but not of it. We are called to be with our neighbors, not to withdraw and set up our own communities, but we also have to take care not to mesh so much that we lose our saltiness and end up being no different than our non-believing friends. As Joshua said all those years ago, we need to cling to the LORD.

How are you doing with that these days? Is your life distinct, marked by the Spirit of God living in you? It’s good to take stock and ask ourselves some basic questions. Do our co-workers know we love Jesus and are striving to follow him? Do our neighbors see us being generous in a way that can only be explained as radical love? Do our non-believing family members know how important and life-changing our relationship with Jesus is?

Help us, Lord, to be set apart for you while we love the ones you have put in our lives. Amen.

- Esther McCurry

How did God speak to you in Scripture today? Click here to share your reflections on God's word or read past posts. We'd love to hear from you. 


  1. The same verses stuck out to me as I was reading today. Sheesh! It's amazing how many reminders the people needed to keep God's commands and to not stray. Same is true today. My younger ignorant self used to think of "in" the world as being able to blend in. Crazy, I know. (Thank goodness for the grace of growing older and Now I know it takes strength..."be strong". It's a lot of work knowing what the world is about and then knowing how to apply the biblical worldview in thought and word and deed. As you said, keeping our saltiness.

  2. Thanks, Laura. How fun we were struck by the same section!