Joshua Aging - Much Land Yet to be Possessed
1 Now Joshua [Yehoshua] was old and stricken in years [zaken, advanced in yamim]; andYahweh said unto him, Thou art old and stricken in years [advanced in yamim], and there remaineth yet very much land [harebbeh me'od] to be possessed.
His declining years would have been years of grace and dignity. "The hoary head is a crown of glory, if it be found in the way of righteousness. . ." (Prov. 16:31). In the case of Joshua, this would certainly have been so. He appreciated that the end of his mortal life was drawing nearer.
Like Paul, he would have said, simply: "I am now ready to be offered. . . I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith. . ." He also knew that a "crown of
righteousness" was "laid up" for those who look for the "appearing" of Israel's Saviour and Messiah (2 Tim. 4:6-8).
However, although Joshua had fulfilled his ministry in accordance with Yahweh's requirements, there still remained work for him to do. The lesson of Joshua's life teaches that even in declining years God's servants do not "retire" from an active life in the Truth. During the final years of his life, Joshua desired to see his people established in their inheritance. He had in mind the welfare not only of that generation, but of those who were to follow. The latter part of his life was, in measure, devoted to exhorting his people.
"Much of the country still remains to be subdued", Yahweh reminded him. Joshua well knew this. It was necessary that the people be reminded of their responsibilities. With Yahweh's assistance, the victories gained under Joshua's leadership had enabled the individual tribes to take up their respective areas of inheritance.
There is an important lesson in this. It may have been anticipated that, in the flush of a number of overwhelming victories, the warfare would be over. The work of subduing sin, however, is not accomplished through a few spectacular triumphs, attained during the course of a few years. The warfare must be continued with unabated dedication until God indicates that the final victory has been gained.
God's people must remain positive in their attitude, ever alert, exercising faith and courageous determination. Those who do not remain conscious of their needs and their obligations will not come through the trials of life to final victory. Tragically, "the love of the many will cool"; but the joy promised to all who remain faithful is beyond dispute: "He who patiently endures to the end, will be saved. . ." (Matt. 24:13, Diag.)
Bro John Ullman - Joshua His Life and Times