Monday, September 28, 2009


“A lot of professors give talks titled ‘The Last Lecture.’ Professors are asked to consider their demise and to ruminate on what matters most to them. And while they speak, audiences can’t help but mull the same question: What wisdom would we impart to the world if we knew it was our last chance? If we had to vanish tomorrow, what would we want as our legacy? When Randy Pausch, a computer science professor at Carnegie Mellon, was asked to give such a lecture, he didn’t have to imagine it as his last, since he had recently been diagnosed with terminal cancer.”

The above quote comes from the dust cover of the book, “The Last Lecture,” which has become a best-seller for Randy Pausch who has since passed away. This theme of “last words” has become rather popular in lectures, books, articles, and even music. A country band, The Trailer Choir, recently had a hit song that contained these lyrics:

what if the moment came and
you knew your life was down to minutes
ladders flame was all you had to see
and you found a pen and torn up piece of paper
and a note was all you could leave
what would you say?

We pay attention to the last words people say. Often, they are poignant, meaningful, and significant. When we come to Joshua 23, Joshua is nearing the very end of his life. He summons the elders, leaders, judges, and officials of all Israel and begins to give them his last charge. He says basically two things. First he says, “You yourselves have seen everything the LORD your God has done to all these nations for your sake; it was the LORD your God who fought for you. Remember how I have allotted as an inheritance for your tribes all the land of the nations…(Joshua 23:3, 4). Second he says, “Be very strong; be careful to obey all that is written in the Book of the Law of Moses, without turning aside to the right or to the left” (Joshua 23:6). Two things: remember and obey.

We can find great value and significance in the last words of Joshua. Remember and obey. Remember all the things God has done for us in our lives. Remember the blessings. Remember the answered prayer. Remember the guidance. Remember the protection, the grace, the love, the comfort, the hope, the strength. Remember! Do not forget that it was the Lord our God who has done all of these things for us.

And obey. God has graciously given us his word. All that he requires of us is recorded in the Bible. We need to remain strong and not turn aside to follow after our own wisdom or desires. We must obey the word God has given to us and walk in the way of Jesus Christ who obeyed his Father perfectly.

Joshua’s last words to his people: Remember and obey!


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