Now it came to pass after these things that Joshua the son of Nun, the servant of the Lord, died, being one hundred and ten years old. And they buried him within the border of his inheritance at Timnath Serah, which is in the mountains of Ephraim, on the north side of Mount Gaash. Israel served the Lord all the days of Joshua, and all the days of the elders who outlived Joshua, who had known all the works of the Lord which He had done for Israel. (Joshua 24:29-31)
A Lasting Legacy
There is much to be said about the son of Nun and assistant to Moses. Joshua appears on the pages of the Bible when the Hebrews face their first battle with the Amalekites. He becomes a close associate of Moses spending much time in the presence of God on Sinai and in the tabernacle. His character was unparalleled among the Israelites as one whose spirit wholly followed the Lord. Along with Caleb, Joshua became only two of those who came out of Egypt above the age of twenty that would see the Promised Land. When Moses died, the Lord placed on the shoulders of Joshua the task of completing the work of establishing the land promise given to Abraham. Under his leadership, the land was conquered and not a word failed of any good thing which the Lord promised to the people of Israel. All came to pass. At the age of 110 years, Joshua died. Before his death, he gathered the nation together to admonish and challenge them to serve the Lord. His speech is a moving and passionate appeal for the hearts of the people to remain faithful to the purpose God brought them out of Egypt. Joshua made a covenant with the people establishing a statute and an ordinance in Shechem writing the words of the covenant in the Book of the Law of God. He also took a large stone, and set it up under the oak that was by the sanctuary of the Lord as a witness to the oath the people made with God. The legacy of Joshua was not just found in the 110 years of his life but the impact this man of God had on generations after him. The people of Israel served the Lord throughout the lifetime of Joshua and of the elders who outlived him—those who had personally experienced all that the Lord had done for Israel.
The life of Joshua was filled with the incredible story of being born a Hebrew slave and growing up in a world of oppression. If he were the same age as Caleb, he would have been somewhere around forty years of age when God delivered the people and would serve Israel for seventy years. He would see the miracles of the ten plagues, walk through the Red Sea on dry land and stand in the presence of God on Sinai. The scriptures call him an assistant of Moses. What a blessing to spend endless hours talking with Moses and discussing the affairs of Israel and the purpose of the Lord for the people. It would have been a daunting task to be given the leadership of the nation and walk through the Jordan River on dry land and begin the conquest of a heathen people. He never lost his faith. His dedication to the Lord was complete in fulfilling the word of the Lord. For 110 years the son of Nun gave his life for the work of the Lord. His example led the people to serve the Lord during his life and after he died. The legacy of Joshua was firmly implanted in the minds of the people. His faith was not a seasonal moment of time that would falter in disbelief. There were challenges he faced with courage such as the defeat at Ai but he trusted in the will of the Lord to accomplish the divine will. Because of his legacy, the lives of many Hebrews were moved to serve the Lord. As long as Joshua lived the people served the Lord. During the days after the death of Joshua, the people still honored his memory by serving the Lord in the days of the elders who had known all the works of the Lord which He had done for Israel.
A legacy is a birthright that is passed on to the next generation. Men will live their lifetime amassing great amounts of wealth, prestige and honors but these all end in death. The monies garnered for a generation are wasted by others. Fame fades in time and honors diminish. Joshua had something that all men should desire. He influenced a nation to follow the Lord. It may not be possible to change the tide of the country but the power to change the lives of a community is fully within the grasp of every individual. He never swayed from his dedication to the will of the Lord. His battles were fought with the Commander of the Lord standing before him. Joshua and Caleb were spies who went into the land of Canaan with ten other men and were the only men who believed with the power of God the impossible could be done. Their leadership was rejected but they remained faithful to the Lord and served him as leaders for the next forty years. During the conquest, they fought valiantly although they were in their eighties. Age did not deter them from serving God. This all created a legacy that others took notice of. If there is anything a man can leave others is to give them a legacy of how to live. A godly life is the greatest measure a man can leave another. Marble monuments inscribe names and dates but the heart that is moved to serve the Lord is the greatest memory. Husbands who leave their families a legacy of godliness will leave greater wealth than all the money in the world. Fathers that establish an inheritance of virtue leave their children the hope of eternal life. Israel served the Lord during the days of Joshua and all the days of the elders who outlived Joshua. May God raise up more men like Joshua and the elders.