Today, at past 5pm, the President of the Republic of the Philippines delivered his SONA or State of the Nation Address to the Filipino people through the Senate and Congress.
In the Bible, in the last chapter of the book of Joshua, the successor Moses, Joshua made a speech. We can call it as his own state of the tribes of Israel. Joshua 24:1 states “Then Joshua assembled all the tribes of Israel at Shechem. He summoned the elders, leaders, judges and officials of Israel, and they presented themselves before God.”
What are the things that Joshua told the assembled people? What can we learn from Joshua?
First, the moment that you accepted God in your life is also the moment that you should turn away from other gods.
Joshua reminded the people that their foreparents before worship other gods. But since they have accepted Yahweh as the one true God, they should not go back to their old beliefs. Joshua 24:14 says, “Now fear the LORD and serve him with all faithfulness. Throw away the gods your forefathers worshiped beyond the River and in Egypt, and serve the LORD.”
Joshua made a choice. He said that as for him and his household they will serve the Lord. All the tribes of Israel answered that they too will serve the Lord.
Second, God will not abandon those who trust in Him.
Joshua reminded the assembly that God has not forgotten them. God has shown time and time again that He hears the prayers of the people. Joshua 24:5 says, “Then I sent Moses and Aaron, and I afflicted the Egyptians by what I did there, and I brought you out.”
Third, God is faithful to His promises.
Joshua reminded the people that God always remembers His promises. God promised to Abraham that his descendants will eventually live in the Promised Land. They eventually did. Joshua 24:11 says, “Then you crossed the Jordan and came to Jericho. The citizens of Jericho fought against you, as did also the Amorites, Perizzites, Canaanites, Hittites, Girgashites, Hivites and Jebusites, but I gave them into your hands.”
At the end of the speech of Joshua, he got a stone to serve as a witness. He was telling the people that what they have promised must be put into action. Joshua said, “See!” he said to all the people. “This stone will be a witness against us. It has heard all the words the LORD has said to us. It will be a witness against you if you are untrue to your God.” (24:27)
Joshua made an extraordinary speech of the state of tribes of Israel. And the people responded well. It was the start of the Golden Age of Israel.
Rev. Francis Neil G. Jalando-on