"Love the LORD your God, walk in all his ways, obey his commands, hold firmly to him, and serve him with all your heart and all your soul." — Joshua 22:5 NLT
His advice was always good, but I wasn’t always good at taking it.
My grandfather was wise. I remember the time I owned a Chevrolet Corsica. After two years of payments, I noticed the transmission slipping. The final straw was when I parked at McDonald’s in a downhill-facing parking space and couldn’t back out, even though I had the accelerator pressed to the floor. It finally moved.
I stopped by my grandparents and told them the story. Knowing how much a transmission—even a rebuilt one—cost, I informed them I planned to trade the car in. My grandfather, wise man that he was, said, “But you can pay for the transmission with one car payment.” I wish I had listened to him. He was right. I traded the car anyway and with the trade inherited another four years of payments. Wise advice I failed to listen to.
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Joshua gave the eastern tribes of Israel some wise advice also. They had kept their promises and helped their kinsmen take the Promised Land. Now they wanted to return to their families and their land on the eastern side of the Jordan River. Before letting them go, Joshua offered them advice —advice that’s pertinent regardless of the situation or time period.
Loving God seems easy enough, but things seem to get in the way. Jesus reinforced Joshua’s advice by adding “with all your heart, soul, mind, and strength.” This takes Joshua’s advice to another level and means I have to monitor my decisions and choices. Other things vie for my attention—and not necessarily sinful things, but things that can become sinful in a hurry if I’m not careful. God first, others second, and me last isn’t an easy list to keep in order unless I maintain a constant watch over it.
Nor is walking in God’s ways and obeying His commands. Another piece of wise advice. Doing these two things leads to life at its best. But again, something we’re incapable of without divine assistance, which God gives in the person of His Holy Spirit. He’s our inner guide and energizer for obedience.
Holding firmly to God and serving Him with our entire being completes Joshua’s advice. God gave us His all in Christ, and we should give Him no less than ours in return. He deserves it.
Of all the bad advice you may hear, take Joshua’s good advice.