Study from God’s Word… Josh 13: 1 – 33; Josh 14: 15a; Josh 15: 1 – 12; Josh 15: 20 – 62; Josh 16: 1 – 9; Josh 17: 1 – 18; … Passage for Reflection: Joshua 13: 1 … NIV
1 When Joshua was old and well advanced in years, the LORD said to him, "You are very old, and there are still very large areas of land to be taken over.
My Journal for Today: Today’s study does open up an indictment of our cultural marginalization of Kingdom servants who are older. In the highlight passage for today we see God recognizing Moses’ maturity; but the Lord then immediately indicates that there is much ahead to be done – by Moses – for God’s glory in the taking and partitioning of the Promised Land. And in the passages I read for today there is also the story of how God favored Caleb [see Josh 14: 10 – 12], the other of the two faithful Hebrew spies past, with Caleb’s request for taking the hill country for his tribe. Both Joshua and Caleb were 85 years old at this time in their lives; and in those times, 85 was old, but certainly that age was merely seen as mature. Such people in that culture would be designated as an “elder,” … a person of worthiness, respect, and honor.
I guess that’s why I actually love it when people tease me with the nickname, “ElderBerry,” which I take as a sign of respect, rather than a name denigrating my age. But back to our study, in which we see that God Himself recognized that there was much ahead in the lives of these two servants of God, Joshua and Caleb, which could be done for God in spite of – and likely because of – their maturity.
As I mentioned above, today, there is a strong cultural tread to marginalize our elderly; and unfortunately the older ones in our world play right into that expectation, becoming “victims” of this hyper-aging philosophy. How many people these days look forward to “retiring” and dream of doing selfish pursuits like playing golf, fishing, or traveling the country in RVs, avoiding what they could be contributing to our world and God’s glory by using their maturity, experience, and gifting in/for God’s kingdom?
Elderberry Witness: There was a time, before I became a Christian, when I dreamed of a life filled with 2 or three rounds of golf a week and building a place in Florida on a plot of ground my dad/mom had left to me. But Christ came into my life at age 39; and my desires and pursuits – for God’s glory – thankfully changed. And after I was broken to receive God’s Spirit into my heart, the Lord reshaped my visions and dreams to move toward a very different type of “retirement.” And as I was discipled and grew deeper into my salvation relationship with God, He showed me that I could – and should – view my retirement from my former healthcare career as a “commencement” TO ministry rather than a retirement FROM my former pre-Christian selfish pursuits. And that’s where the Lord has led me in these days of my more mature life for Christ. I may be old; but I’m not out!
Now, … here I am, well over 60 years old; and I find myself trying to emulate Joshua and Caleb. Actually, I see myself as just getting started in my “career” pursuits for God, taking up the mantle of leadership in a ministry to help Christians to walk free from habitual sexual sin, and to work with my wife in this ministry as long as we’re physically and mentally able, … doing all we can to stand for Christ together in this ministry calling. Like Joshua, I may be aging, but I have much to offer to God’s Kingdom from my testimony, my witness, and the gifting with which my Lord has given me to use for His kingdom work.
No matter what your age might be, I hope, and will pray today, that you sharpen your Spirit sword (see Eph. 5: 17; and as we’re commanded in Acts 1: 8, I pray we all will be shining witnesses for our faith and for our Lord; and finally, I pray that we – no matter what our age may be – rigorously follow the commands of our Lord in Luke 9: 23 to deny self, take up our crosses daily, and to follow Christ for His glory.
My Prayer for Today: Lord, I beseech You to charge all who read this with Your challenge of commitment with courage to march forward as soldiers in our Lord’s army, doing all we can – at whatever stage in life we might be – to conquer worldly and fleshly kingdoms in His Name. Amen