At the end of the book of Joshua, he senses his approaching death and says, “and now I am about to go the way of all the earth” (23:14). Note then, “… Since it is the LORD your God who fights for you, just as he promised you. Be very careful therefore to love the LORD your God” (verses 10,11).

What is the point of being “very careful” about their love for the Lord? The point will becomes clear in John’s Epistles, written towards the end of his life; “Let us not love in word or talk but in deed and in truth” (1 John 3:18).

There is a modern saying, ‘talk is cheap’ – and how true that is, especially when it comes to politics. But for those who are truly following Christ, how different their words must be. Peter made the same point in his first Epistle – “having purified your souls by your obedience to the truth for a sincere brotherly love, love one another earnestly from a pure heart” (1 Peter 1:22).

The final words of Joshua see him telling the nation, “Now therefore fear the LORD and serve him in sincerity and faithfulness” (24:14). That generation did keep Joshua’s final word’s, like generations before them. In Isaiah’s generation we note the words of the Lord to the people: “Because this people draw near with their mouth and honour me with their lips, while their hearts are far from me, and their fear of me is a commandment taught by men therefore … the wisdom of their wise men shall perish” (29:13,14). The point is made that God is the potter who made all things, but “shall the potter be regarded as the clay, that the thing made should say of its maker, ‘He did not make me’” (verse 16). Human clay is saying this today in many situations.

If there was a real prophet today what would God cause him to say? We should have a clear idea of what it would be! Let us therefore “be very careful to …”