Way back in Numbers 32, when Israel was marching through the wilderness of Gilead, these two-and-a-half tribes—the Reubenites, the Gadites, and the half tribe of Manasseh—came to Moses and said, “Moses, wait a minute. Moses, when it comes to settling the promised land, let us settle this land east of the Jordan River. After all, God has allowed us to defeat the people who lived here in this land, and we like the land. Someone needs to occupy it, so let us do just that.”
Moses said they could, under one condition—that the soldiers of the two-and-a-half tribes continue to fight with the rest of the tribes. The soldiers of those tribes did that faithfully. That’s what Joshua means here in verse 2 when he says, “You have done all that Moses commanded.” You have fought, literally speaking, the good fight.
Let’s continue in verse 4: “Now that the Lord your God has given your brothers rest as he promised …” I picture Joshua with a lump in his throat, thinking about these soldiers who have fought for so long with him—seven years. Now Joshua says, “Return to your homes in the land that Moses the servant of the Lord gave you on the other side of the Jordan. But be very careful to keep the commandment and the law that Moses the servant of the Lord gave you: to love the Lord your God, to walk in all his ways, to obey his commands, to hold fast to him, and to serve him with all your heart and all your soul.
Let me suggest that this is the first Promise Keepers meeting! Here Joshua calls these tough and seasoned soldiers to a rigorous love for and obedience to God. If you want to be the man God wants you to be, let me encourage you this morning to underline the six simple terms, these infinitives here in verse five: to keep, to love, to walk, to obey, to hold fast, to serve.
God’s men go hard after God. These infinitives are terms of intensity. They emphasize a relationship with God that’s characterized by a passion for God. That’s what Joshua wanted from these men, and that’s what God wants from us. That’s what it means to be a Promise Keeper.