Saturday after the Second Sunday after Trinity Sunday
Scripture: Joshua 23:1-16 (NKJV)
1 Now it came to pass, a long time after the LORD had given rest to Israel from all their enemies round about, that Joshua was old, advanced in age. 2 And Joshua called for all Israel, for their elders, for their heads, for their judges, and for their officers, and said to them: “I am old, advanced in age. 3 You have seen all that the LORD your God has done to all these nations because of you, for the LORD your God is He who has fought for you. 4 See, I have divided to you by lot these nations that remain, to be an inheritance for your tribes, from the Jordan, with all the nations that I have cut off, as far as the Great Sea westward. 5 And the LORD your God will expel them from before you and drive them out of your sight. So you shall possess their land, as the LORD your God promised you. 6 Therefore be very courageous to keep and to do all that is written in the Book of the Law of Moses, lest you turn aside from it to the right hand or to the left, 7 and lest you go among these nations, these who remain among you. You shall not make mention of the name of their gods, nor cause anyone to swear by them; you shall not serve them nor bow down to them, 8 but you shall hold fast to the LORD your God, as you have done to this day. 9 For the LORD has driven out from before you great and strong nations; but as for you, no one has been able to stand against you to this day. 10 One man of you shall chase a thousand, for the LORD your God is He who fights for you, as He promised you. 11 Therefore take careful heed to yourselves, that you love the LORD your God. 12 Or else, if indeed you do go back, and cling to the remnant of these nations—these that remain among you—and make marriages with them, and go in to them and they to you, 13 know for certain that the LORD your God will no longer drive out these nations from before you. But they shall be snares and traps to you, and scourges on your sides and thorns in your eyes, until you perish from this good land which the LORD your God has given you.
14 “Behold, this day I am going the way of all the earth. And you know in all your hearts and in all your souls that not one thing has failed of all the good things which the LORD your God spoke concerning you. All have come to pass for you; not one word of them has failed. 15 Therefore it shall come to pass, that as all the good things have come upon you which the LORD your God promised you, so the LORD will bring upon you all harmful things, until He has destroyed you from this good land which the LORD your God has given you. 16 When you have transgressed the covenant of the LORD your God, which He commanded you, and have gone and served other gods, and bowed down to them, then the anger of the LORD will burn against you, and you shall perish quickly from the good land which He has given you.”
In the reading for today it is obvious that Joshua loves the people of Israel a great deal. At the end of his life he wants them to continue in the Lord. He reminds them of how the Lord has blessed them so greatly. “Therefore,” he says, “be very courageous to keep and to do all that is written in the Book of the Law of Moses, lest you turn aside from it to the right hand or to the left…but you shall hold fast to the Lord your God, as you have done this day.”
This love which God has for His people is still conveyed to them today by the pastor in the Baptismal service. He says, “Almighty and most merciful God and Father, we thank and praise You that You dost graciously preserve and extend Your Church, and hast granted to this child a new birth in Holy Baptism, and made him a member of Your dear Son, our Lord Jesus Christ, and an heir of Your heavenly kingdom. We humbly beseech You to keep him in his baptismal grace, that he may be faithfully brought up to lead a godly life to the praise and honor of Your holy Name, and finally, with all the saints, obtain the promised inheritance in Heaven, through Jesus Christ, our
Indeed, like the Israelites of old, we have nothing to fear. We hold fast to our loving, merciful God. God is our Father; Jesus is our Brother! We have the victory! Sin, death, and Satan will not defeat us. Thanks be to our loving God. Amen.