Many books of the Bible end with turmoil, strife, or unanswered questions. Not Joshua. The book ends on a satisfying, harmonious note with calmness in the land and peace among people. As Israelites’ quest ended and they could finally settle down in their long-awaited Promised Land, it must have been a surreal feeling. Perhaps they reflected on the past as they put away their swords and cleaned dirt and blood from their garments.
In the next days, there would be no more marching or fighting. However, they might not have realized that another battle was about to begin: a battle for their faithfulness. Would they keep the commandments of the Lord and live their lives for Him? Whether or not they would is a different story to tell, but they had been given a fine example of faithfulness to God in Joshua.
In this closing section, the author records the final resting places of Joshua, Joseph, and Eleazar (the religious leader). Joshua is referred to as “the servant of God” (v. 29) which is the first time he is given this descriptor. In chapter 1, Joshua was called Moses’ aid or assistant, but now he has been given the title servant. He came a long way on his quest but through it all, he found the courage to carry on. Joshua’s obedience to the Lord was rewarded, and he died in peace knowing that he had led the Lord’s people into the Promised Land. We can look to Joshua’s life of service as an example of how to live a life in obedience to God. Of course, Joshua had flaws, but his courage to lead people and follow God gives us hope even in the midst of our own quest.
>> The next several decades for the nation of Israel are anything but peaceful. The book of Judges picks up right where Joshua leaves off and takes the nation through twists and turns that are captivating. If you are curious, continue reading the book of Judges and discover how the story continues.
As we read about the end of Joshua’s quest, we pray we would have, like Joshua, the strength and determination to serve God faithfully until the end. May we, like Paul, be able to say: “I have finished the race” (2 Tim. 4:7).