“‘But be very careful to obey all the commands and the instructions that Moses gave to you. Love the Lord your God, walk in all his ways, obey his commands,
hold firmly to him, and serve him with all your heart and all your soul.’
So Joshua blessed them and sent them away, and they went home.”
I will never forget the morning we put our nineteen-year-old son on a plane in Nairobi, Kenya to send him off to his new life back in America. “Wait! Weren’t you just born yesterday? How can you leave already?” I wondered if we had done all we could to prepare him for what lay ahead.
The address we just read was a send-off to the eastern warriors who had faithfully helped their fellow Israelites conquer the promised land. Joshua had known these men since they were children in the wilderness. But since all their fathers had died there, Joshua spoke as father sending his children off. Interestingly, his instructions had one common theme…relationship. Joshua admonished these grown-up children to obey, love, walk with, be faithful to, and serve GOD, and to share HIS blessings with their families.
The men Joshua addressed that day had watched first-hand the devastation of breaking relationship with God. And growing up in a community, they also experienced daily the need of sharing all God’s blessing together. Joshua’s words reminded them again the true essence of life…relationship with God and relationship with others.
So, whether our children are going off for a day or going off for life, may their experience of RELATIONSHIP be what makes them strong, every time we send them off!