I often find myself pursing the question, how does God motivate His children to accomplish His will, to obediently follow His Word, and to love Him with all of their hearts?

I wonder this because as a parent I want to encourage my children to love the Lord and to do His will.

I wonder this because throughout my days of ministry both in and out of the classroom, I have made many attempts to encourage brothers and sisters in Christ to follow the Lord passionately.

Now, I ultimately realize that any desire for the Lord or any fulfillment of God’s will in my life, in my children, in my wife, and in my friends is the result of Lord’s effectual work in each of us (Phil 2:12-13).

But in addition to this biblical affirmation there are illustrations or examples of how God motivates us.

I found one such illustration in Joshua 22-24. In this context Joshua is commending the tribes who secured their land inheritance and exhorting others to continue their pursuit of the land given to them by the Lord.

In Joshua 22, Joshua commends the Reubenites and Gadites for adherence to the law of Moses, he directs them to return to their inheritance on the east side of the land, and then exhorts them to continue loving the Lord and keeping His commands (22:1-4).

In Joshua 23-24, Joshua assembles the nation together for a final word of exhortation before he passes on to glory.

What he says and how he says it provides insight into how the Lord motivates, into how He appeals to the hearts of His people.

The basis of appeal in Joshua 23-24 is the goodness of God in the history of Israel (23:1-24:15).

Joshua rehearses the good things, the miraculous things, the mighty things of the Lord in the history of Israel and appeals to the nation to be loyally devoted to the One who is good to them.

In the appeal Joshua does balance the goodness of God’s grace with a warning regarding the consequences of not serving the Lord. He frames the goodness of God with His holiness and with His zealous desire for loyal devotion. Joshua reminds Israel, He is a holy and jealous God, impossible to serve.

This rehearsal of God’s goodness culminates in Joshua 24:15, if you will not serve the Lord then choose who you will serve.

So let’s rehearse the holy goodness of God to ourselves, with our family, and to each other so that our hearts will be inclined to serve Him.

May God’s goodness lead us to repentance (Rom 2:4).