Growing with God: a daily devotional with Tonia Slimm.
Joshua 22:4-5 (NIV)
“Now that the Lord your God has given them rest as he promised, return to your homes in the land that Moses the servant of the Lord gave you on the other side of the Jordan. But be very careful to keep the commandment and the law that Moses the servant of the Lord gave you: to love the Lord your God, to walk in obedience to him, to keep his commands, to hold fast to him and to serve him with all your heart and with all your soul.”
Joshua 22:4-5 (MSG)
“And now God, your God, has given rest to your brothers just as he promised them. You’re now free to go back to your homes, the country of your inheritance that Moses the servant of God gave you on the other side of the Jordan. Only this: Be vigilant in keeping the Commandment and The Revelation that Moses the servant of God laid on you: Love God, your God, walk in all his ways, do what he’s commanded, embrace him, serve him with everything you are and have.”
“And now the Lord your God has given rest to your brothers, as He has promised them; so turn now and go to your tents, to the land of your possession, which Moses the servant of the Lord gave you beyond the [east side of the] Jordan. Only be very careful and diligently observe the commandment and the law which Moses the servant of the Lord has commanded you to love the Lord your God and walk in all His ways and keep His commandments and hold fast to Him and serve Him with all your heart and with all your soul [your very life].” -AMPLIFIED
Joshua is in the midst of giving his send off to the Reubenites and the Gadites and the half-tribe of Manasseh. Joshua has commended these tribes for a job well done and now he releases them. We find Joshua dismissing these folks with a clear conscience and advising them to take the upcoming rest that the Good Lord had promised them now that their commitment was over.
Joshua advises them all to return to their homes, on the other side of the Jordan, and take some rest. Be still for a while. Enjoy a little bit of down time. After years of battle it was time for the people to enjoy a little peace and quiet. “The Eternal One, your True God, has given rest now to all your people as He promised them. So now it is time for you to return to your tents and your possessions in the land on the far banks of the Jordan that Moses, the Eternal’s servant, granted you.” -(VOICE)
Dr. Woodrow Kroll wrote these words in a devotional he penned for Back to the Bible. “Some Christians are quick to remind us that “Satan never takes a vacation.” That may be true, but Satan is not the example we want to follow. One scholar who studied the Gospels claims that during the three years of Jesus’ ministry, ten periods of resting are mentioned. If Jesus felt it necessary to punctuate His ministry with seasons of rest, how much more so should we. Being alone and resting for a while is not selfish; it’s Christlike. Taking a vacation is not fleshly; it’s spiritual. God’s kingdom is not advanced by those who work themselves into a coronary or nervous breakdown. God gives rest to the weary, so don’t be too proud to take it. Come apart for rest or you may come apart forever”
If we would but stop and step back from our vicious cycle of busyness we might remember that it was in fact God Almighty who gave a day of rest. In six days God created the Heavens and the Earth and on the seventh day He rested. “By the seventh day God had finished the work he had been doing; so on the seventh day he rested from all his work. Then God blessed the seventh day and made it holy, because on it he rested from all the work of creating that he had done.” -Genesis 2:2-3 (NIV)
It was Jesus who spoke these words to His followers about rest. “Come to Me, all who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Put My yoke upon your shoulders—it might appear heavy at first, but it is perfectly fitted to your curves. Learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble of heart. When you are yoked to Me, your weary souls will find rest. For My yoke is easy, and My burden is light.” -Matthew 11:28-30 (VOICE)
God’s promise to the people of Israel had been this, “My presence will travel with you, and I will give you rest.” -Exodus 33:14 (VOICE) He had done as He had promised.
Joshua then stresses the need for the people to be cautious and diligent in following the ways of the Lord. “Be very careful always to follow the commandments and teachings of Moses, the Eternal’s servant: love the Eternal your God; walk in His pathways, keep His commandments, be faithful to Him, and serve Him with diligence and devotion.” -(VOICE)
This was a gentle reminder from Joshua. Yes, things have gone great. Yes, your work for now is done. Yes, you can go home and rest, but…be careful that you do not forget. Be diligent in your service to God. Be faithful in following His commands. Love Him with everything that you’ve got. Be sure that you are serving Him with enthusiasm and fervor. “Love the Lord your God with all your passion and prayer and intelligence.” -Matthew 22:37 (MSG)
Do not forget who’s you are and that you have been bought with a price.
Lord, help me to never forget. Remind me to carefully follow your teachings, dear Lord. Help me to remain faithful to you always. Yes, there are times that I need rest and I am thankful for them. But in those times of rest help me to recognize the need to remain diligent in my walk with you. I will serve you always, Lord; with all my heart, soul, and mind. I will serve you with everything that is within me; for you are my God and I choose to no longer be a slave to sin.