Somehow we’ve slowed down a bit, traveling through the Book of Joshua!
It’s 23rd chapter has been amazing, in its practicality especially.
Today we’ve come to verse 8: “But cleave unto the LORD your God, as ye have done unto this day.” Again, Joshua 23:8, King James Version.
I would have been sure the verb “to cleave” would have been expressed here as an “imperative,” a direct command. But it isn’t! (How very informative grammar can be!) It is in Hebrew a Qal stem (simply meaning the “active” voice, as opposed to “passive”) verb written as an “imperfect” (in its sense of timing) … as opposed to “perfect.”
Something that should (obviously) be done, yet not actually (here) mandated, not legislated. And yet something that should be done again and again (the “imperfect” quality I just mentioned) … done so often that it becomes a habit!
Now, what is the definition of “cleave?” Spelled “dabaq” in Hebrew, it means “to keep close” to something or someone. “To follow hard” after a person! “To stick” to them … “close” by their side! (It nearly carries the idea of being “glued” to an entity!)
Never be separated from Almighty God!
Never depart from His Presence, His Fellowship!
Then look, Joshua to the Jews … “But cleave unto the Lord your God, AS YE HAVE DONE UNTO THIS DAY.” Israel has been living this godly lifestyle, for quite some time! Indeed historically Israel had “behaved herself” rather well during the administration of Joshua the man of God!
What a testimony!
“Cleave unto the LORD your God, as ye have done unto this day.”
But still I am wondering about that “imperative,” it’s absence anyway!
And I think I have just discovered the answer.
If Israel had been following hard after God (cleaving to Him) for those years … they NEEDED NO COMMANDMENT to keep on following such a gracious Lord!
Knowing Him … (automatically) leads to following Him ever more closely!
He is so good!
He is so inviting!
He is so (altogether) lovely!
If you have ever (truly) experienced Him … you will never leave Him! Nor every want to leave Him!
“O taste and see that the LORD is good: blessed is the man that trusteth in him.” So (from experience)penned David in Psalm 34:8.
Yes … if one ever tastes and sees the Lord … he will evermore “cleave” unto the Lord!
Without even being commanded to do so!
“But cleave unto the LORD your God, as ye have done unto this day.”
— Dr. Mike Bagwell
He is THAT good!
Psalm 119:103 … “How sweet are thy words unto my taste! yea, sweeter than honey to my mouth!”