Before dying, Joshua gathered the people of Israel together and gave them final words of encouragement and instructions to help them stay faithful and loyal to God. Joshua had faithfully and wholeheartedly served God. He personally eye witnessed Israel’s escape from Egyptian slavery, God’s parting of the Red Sea, and God’s deliverance of Israel into the Promise Land. Moreover, Joshua was a talented leader and a great general, but he always gave the glory to God for his success.
Now, Joshua gave the people his final words and the wisdom behind his success (Joshua 1:5-9). First, Joshua instructed the people to obey God’s Word first in their lives (Joshua 23:6). God desires our obedience to Him and His Word (see e.g., 1 Samuel 15:22; Proverbs 21:3; Isaiah 1:11-17; Jeremiah 7:22-23; Hosea 6:6; Micah 6:6-8; Mark 12:32-33). Joshua knew that God’s Word is faithful and God’s promises never fail (Joshua 23:14). Second, Joshua commanded the people to only worship the true and living God (Joshua 23:7-8). Third, Joshua directed the people not to worship, bow down, or love any other gods (Joshua 23:9-16) as this would compromise their complete loyalty and allegiance to the true and living God (Deuteronomy 5:26; Deuteronomy 6:4-9).
In essence, Joshua instructed the people to respect the Lord, to love Him wholeheartedly, and to willingly serve Him as God (see also Joshua 24:14-15). God is faithful and trustworthy. Most important, God loves us and gave His Son, Jesus to save the world (Matthew 1:21-23; John 3:16; Romans 6:23). Joshua encouraged the people to keep trusting, obeying, and loving God. God would protect them against their enemies just as God had fought for the Israelites in the past (e.g., Joshua 10:11-14). So, love God and trust in Him!