“Now I am about to go the way of all the earth. You know with all your heart and soul that not one of all the good promises the Lord your God gave you has failed.” Joshua 23:14
“I am going to the bathroom to read.”
These are the reported last words of Elvis Presley.
No disrespect to the king of rock n’ roll, but I sure hope my last words on earth are far more profound and don’t mention a bodily function.
I’d prefer that my last words, like Joshua’s, be a resounding testimony of the Lord’s faithfulness.
Technically, these are not the very last words of Joshua, but they are close. He understands he is about to die and “go the way of all the earth.” Knowing death is imminent, Joshua gathers Israel’s leaders and shares a message that’s packed with both wisdom and warnings. (Joshua 23:1-16)
Joshua wants to make one thing crystal clear in his farewell address: the Lord has been faithful to His promises.
Frankly, it is one thing to proclaim the Lord’s faithfulness as a young man, when you’ve yet to experience all of life’s challenges. But it’s quite another to still proclaim His faithfulness when you’re old and gray, a few feet from death’s doorstep.
Here, at the end of Joshua’s life, the Lord’s faithfulness isn’t an abstract, unproven concept, but a time-tested, lived-out, personal reality. His mind is flooded with memories of specific instances of how the Lord came through again and again.
It’s not that 75% of His promises proved true; 100% of them proved true. The Lord never allowed even a single promise to carelessly fall between the cracks, failing to keep His word.
And here’s the good news for us in 2021:
Just as the Lord was faithful to Joshua, He will be faithful to us. His promises are just as trustworthy today as they were then.
The Lord hasn’t forgotten how to be faithful.
Many years after the days of Joshua, the Apostle Paul affirms, “God is faithful, who has called you into fellowship with His Son, Jesus Christ our Lord” (1 Corinthians 1:9).
Think about this: Jesus endured the agony of Calvary in order to bring us into a right relationship with our Heavenly Father. Do you really think Jesus went through all of that only to show Himself fickle, untrustworthy, and incapable of keeping His promises to those He reconciled?
Not. A. Chance.
Yet, if I’m being real, I still question the Lord’s faithfulness from time to time.
But to be clear, It’s not that I actually question whether or not the Lord is faithful. I question whether He will be faithful to me.
In other words, I don’t have any problem believing in the Lord’s faithfulness on a general level, but I sometimes struggle to believe His faithfulness on a personal level.
So often, when we’re in the middle of a particularly stressful season, filled with one problem after another, His faithfulness becomes hard to see. And during these times, it’s easy to wonder if the Lord might be reneging on His promises.
But we know that to go back on His promises is not within the nature of God.
Looking at what we’ve covered here, there’s no question that Joshua, just like us, was not exempt from facing significant adversity. (Think of the numerous battles he fought as he conquered the Promised Land.)
Yet, as his life was coming to an end, Joshua wholeheartedly concluded that the Lord wasn’t just faithful some of the time…He was faithful all of the time.
No matter what you’re facing today, keep clinging to His promises.
And one day, you’ll look back over your life and declare just like Joshua did, “The Lord has been faithful to His promises.”
Written by Jonathan Munson Executive Director RFTH