“But the word is very near you. It is in your mouth and in your heart, so that you can do it.”
Now, I looked it up. The Hebrew translated ‘word’ above is elsewhere translated ‘matter’ (as in subject), ‘act,’ and ‘thing.’ All this is saying is what it is literally saying: “The command isn’t difficult and it isn’t far away.”
“Look, guys: this isn’t hard! This isn’t a puzzle or a secret! I’ve laid it all out for you, and you’re surrounded by constant reminders!”
But it was translated ‘word’ here. I know this is for style and clarity and other translation concerns, but it reminds me of John all the same. “The Word was with God and the Word was God.” For the nation of Israel, the Tabernacle, the Temple, that was where God was. The law was how the people kept faith with him. If they kept in their mouths and in their hearts, they could follow it, the could keep the covenant.
Now, we don’t simply have the word of the law, we have the Word of God. We have the Spirit of God. The Word is very near us indeed. With the Spirit making us her temple, how much easier should it be for us to keep the law, the greatest and second commandments? How much easier should it be for us to love as God is love?
And, as that thought was so direct as to be brief, a reminder: though Joshua was sent into a specific challenge with the admonition to be strong and courageous, we can lay claim to the same truth today. It is the Lord our God who goes with us. Whatever we face, we do not face it alone.