1. He prepared the people for his own exit. It is sobering for those who are up-and-coming to realize what has been taken for granted will no longer be available to be relied upon. As parents or spiritual role models, we need to remind the next generation that they will, one day, bear the torch alone.
2. He gathered all the people and singled out the leaders. This cut out the potential for discord. It let people know who could be relied upon in his absence, and it cut out the chaos of mixed messages that evolves when information gets passed through several mouths and ears. Good communication still establishes clear boundaries, defines roles, and includes everyone involved.
3. He reinforced the link between generations. By sharing his personal testimony and recounting what the previous generation had been through, he showed the next generation the value of their current position. By holding fast to what our predecessors purchased with blood, sweat and tears, we can appreciate what we have been given and be inspired to provide that for those coming behind us. Observing historical successes and failures provides additional direction to help us govern our lives.
4. He explained how to succeed. Just as Joshua indicated to Israel, we also must take responsibility for greater advancement. It requires work, effort, and the knowledge that God is with us if we plan to flourish.
5. He reminded them of their Source. God had elevated Abraham, a person of no consequence, into a great nation—them. God had provided the land where they dwelt. He’d driven out nations before them. He had promised to empower their future expansion efforts. He was the One who would precede them in battle. He is our Source as well. Without Him we can do nothing, but through Him, we can do all things.
6. He taught them how to prevent failure. Stay encouraged in the Word of God. Avoid talking the language of, interacting with, or serving other gods. Hold fast to God and love Him fully. Remember what He has already done. Transferable strength lies in these same precepts of leaving and cleaving.
7. He reminded them of their own might. The encouragement that he shared with them that one would put 1,000 to flight was still a security of faith for David’s day. It is valid for our time as well. A can-do attitude that links with confidence in God is limitless.
8. He defined compromise. These included clinging to the ways of Egypt and the heathen nations rather than separating from them, becoming unequally yoked with these unbelievers, and transgressing against their covenant with God. A heart that is unwilling to sin is often willing to compromise by hanging on to wrong value systems, embracing the ways of the world, making excuses for spiritually unequal relationships, and reneging on the promises made to God.
9. He laid out the consequences for compromise and sin. God would remove His protection, His presence, and His blessings. That there are consequences for disobedience and disregard for God’s Word are truths that need to be as tangible as the joys of God’s divine favor.
10. He gave his own proclamation of faith. We cannot set standards for others that we ourselves have not kept.
11. He challenged them to decide. Putting off a decision leads to avoiding a decision, which will, by default, lead to a poor choice. Future success is contingent upon perpetual vision. Getting today’s generation committed now, ensures their future consecration to God.
12. He confirmed their oath with a visual witness--a stone of remembrance--and with a written covenant. Visual reminders, written testimonies, and the Holy Scriptures are threads that bind the generations and unify the visions of pioneers and posterity.
Whether we like it or not, we are in transition. Our lives lay the foundations on which others can build. In this way, we remain a part of what is, what was, and what is yet to come.
Tip/Tidbit: What are you contributing to your now that will add to someone else’s tomorrow?