Joshua Is Appointed
1Moses again spoke to the whole nation of Israel:
2 I am 120 years old, and I am no longer able to be your leader. And besides that, the Lord your God has told me that he won't let me cross the Jordan River. 3-5 But he has promised that he and Joshua will lead you across the Jordan to attack the nations that live on the other side. The Lord will destroy those nations just as he destroyed Sihon and Og, those two Amorite kings. Just remember—whenever you capture a place, kill everyone who lives there.
6Be brave and strong! Don't be afraid of the nations on the other side of the Jordan. The Lord your God will always be at your side, and he will never abandon you.
7Then Moses called Joshua up in front of the crowd and said:
Joshua, be brave and strong as you lead these people into their land. The Lord made a promise long ago to Israel's ancestors that this land would someday belong to Israel. That time has now come, and you must divide up the land among the people. 8 The Lord will lead you into the land. He will always be with you and help you, so don't ever be afraid of your enemies.
Read These Laws
9Moses wrote down all of these laws and teachings and gave them to the priests and the leaders of Israel. The priests were from the Levi tribe, and they carried the sacred chest that belonged to the Lord. 10-11 Moses told these priests and leaders:
Each year the Israelites must come together to celebrate the Festival of Shelters at the place where the Lord chooses to be worshiped. You must read these laws and teachings to the people at the festival every seventh year, the year when loans do not need to be repaid. 12-13Everyone must come—men, women, children, and even the foreigners who live in your towns. And each new generation will listen and learn to worship the Lord their God with fear and trembling and to do exactly what is said in God's Law.
This passage is filled with attention to transition. This is the moment where Moses passes the mantle of leadership to Joshua. This is the moment that Israel finally enters the promised land. This is the beginning of the work to clear the land, and they will need strength and courage for that task.
This is the beginning of a new kind of rest as they begin to enjoy the provisions of the promised land. This is the beginning of the responsibility of passing on the faith to future generations. Moses told Israel that every seven years, they were to gather the nation and read them the entire law so they might “hear and learn to fear the Lord.”
These are some of the last words of Moses and they are becoming increasingly focused and powerful. The end of his journey has come. The transition of leadership is here. These are the last opportunities to urge the people to fear the Lord.
It is to this that Moses now turns – the people must remember to fear the Lord. It will be their responsibility to gather and read the law, to encourage each other to fear the Lord, to instruct the people, the men, the women, the children, and the sojourner to fear the Lord.
The children, who do not know to fear the Lord, must be taught. So every seven years, gather the nation, and make sure that all the children are told the truth. This is a community responsibility to instruct the children.
Father, I pray for the passing forward of faith. I pray for our children, that they would take hold of faith and come to know you. Show us our responsibility in this. Help us to embrace this responsibility to teach the next generation about you. Help us to pursue the fear of the Lord.