“… the people of Israel gave an inheritance among them to Joshua the son of Nun.” – Joshua 19:49
In his old age, Joshua was given a place to live. It was his own, carved out from among the land given to the tribes of Israel. He was to live “among them.” These were his people. This was their land. He was home.
To live among the people of God means we honor our elders. First, we honor our biological elders – our parents (Ephesians 6:1-2). But we also must honor our spiritual elders (Hebrews 13:17). We make their lives easier and not more difficult. We give them the respect that is due to them – not because of their own merit but because God has chosen them and put them in authority over us. He has given them a responsibility, and we honor that. When we honor them, we honor God.
In our culture, we find it easy to disregard commands such as these. Our culture does not honor its elders. Rather, it nudges them aside, as our full-to-the-brim nursing homes attest. The church, however, is different. We respect those who have gone before us by giving them rest and by listening carefully when they have something to say. We must be humble in this (1 Peter 5:5).