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After the death of Moses the servant of the lord, the lord said to Joshua son of Nun, Moses’ aide: "Moses my servant is dead. Now then, you and all these people, get ready to cross the Jordan River into the land I am about to give to them—to the Israelites. I will give you every place where you set your foot, as I promised Moses. Your territory will extend from the desert to Lebanon, and from the great river, the Euphrates—all the Hittite country—to the Mediterranean Sea in the west. No one will be able to stand against you all the days of your life. As I was with Moses, so I will be with you; I will never leave you nor forsake you. Be strong and courageous, because you will lead these people to inherit the land I swore to their ancestors to give them. Joshua 1:1-6
i always half smile at verse 2. Moses is dead. But interestingly this detail is important BECAUSE the israelites didn’t know FOR SURE if he was dead. he went up onto the mountain again and stayed and stayed. God is being blunt, but also giving Joshua good information. Moses is dead and YOU HAVE BEEN COMISSIONED. TIME TO GET TO WORK. Moses is dead, what you relied on in the past is gone. Joshua’s (and ours!) confidence must be in God alone. Its official, Joshua can now take over, this is his day of leadership. the old is past and the new has come. and i love how encouraging God is. even though Joshua is recorded in Numbers as been a man of a different spirit (like Caleb – Numbers 14:24) he needs encouragement. encouragement is not a bad thing. ESPECIALLY when it comes from God. God knows what we need to hear and when. He can speak right to the heart of the matter.
If you want to move into a new and successful future, perhaps it is time to do what Joshua did as he took over the leadership of Moses:
I. Forget about yesterday
"Moses is dead"
II. Remember God’s promises
"All the ground you walk on I give to you as I did Moses"
III. Follow God in obedience
"Study the word, meditate on it day and night…only then will you be successful"
Be strong and courageous, for you shall give this people possession of the land which I swore to their fathers to give them. Only be strong and very courageous; be careful to do according to all the law which Moses My servant commanded you; do not turn from it to the right or to the left, so that you may have success wherever you go. This book of the law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do according to all that is written in it; for then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have success. Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous! Do not tremble or be dismayed, for the LORD your God is with you wherever you go." Joshua 1:6-9
Courage is found in BELIEVING and DOING the Word of God. Joshua is instructed to mediate upon it and to do according to what it says and that will bring success. Courage is found in believing the promises of God – but first to believe a promise you must KNOW a promise and to know a promise you must READ the promise. this is why i so love bible plans and so advocate reading the bible, just doing it! as you read the Word you discover God and WHO He is and what He say about Himself and what He does. He speaks through His Word to encourage us and challenge us and to reveal Himself to us. This is esp true for leaders. leaders need to be people of the Word, who read it and devour it and meditate on it and DO it, who LIVE their lives according to God’s ways and God’s will. lets not shrink back in saying that reading and believing and living the Word brings success and most importantly knowledge and revelation and relationship with God. lets not shrink back and say that reading and knowing and living the Word is the right way to live our lives. neglecting the Word i believe is a symptom of compromise and coolness in our hearts towards God. black and white eh. The best way to learn how to trust God and to thus be strong and courageous is to be constantly reading the scripture.
Spiritual disciplines are NOT: a means to be accepted or loved by God… We are already accepted by God!
Dangers of NO DISCIPLINE: you will be unfruitful, you won’t sense the power or presence of God, you may lose rewards in heaven, you hurt the body of Christ.
i also love that the greatest encouragement and courage giver is v 9 – GOD IS WITH ME WHEREVER I GO.
i find such hope and strength in that. in the good times, God is with me. in the hard times, God is with me. on the mountain top and in the valley. in the storm and in the sunshine. in the battle and in peace times. God is with me. THIS is my hope and courage and strength.
Now Moses used to take the tent and pitch it outside the camp, a good distance from the camp, and he called it the tent of meeting. And everyone who sought the LORD would go out to the tent of meeting which was outside the camp. And it came about, whenever Moses went out to the tent, that all the people would arise and stand, each at the entrance of his tent, and gaze after Moses until he entered the tent. Whenever Moses entered the tent, the pillar of cloud would descend and stand at the entrance of the tent; and the LORD would speak with Moses. When all the people saw the pillar of cloud standing at the entrance of the tent, all the people would arise and worship, each at the entrance of his tent. Thus the LORD used to speak to Moses face to face, just as a man speaks to his friend. When Moses returned to the camp, his servant Joshua, the son of Nun, a young man, would not depart from the tent. Exodus 33:7-11
i want to be a face to face friend of God.
As i read about Moses and Joshua meeting with God in the tent of meeting, my heart is stirred and moved that Moses SAW the form of God and spoke face to face with Him. God says (in Numbers 12, see below) that Moses was faithful in all His house – and the reward of his faithfulness was intimacy.
In Whom, because of our faith in Him, we dare to have the boldness (courage and confidence) of free access (an unreserved approach to God with freedom and without fear). Ephesians 3:12
Let us then fearlessly and confidently and boldly draw near to the throne of grace (the throne of God’s unmerited favor to us sinners), that we may receive mercy [for our failures] and find grace to help in good time for every need [appropriate help and well-timed help, coming just when we need it]. Hebrews 4:16
i want my life to lean always towards knowing God. i press in for this purpose, to be His child, to be His friend.
any sacrifice, any bowing of my knee and will, any refinement, any transformation, is worth it to feel His embrace and pleasure.
to walk with Him on this earth as friend is a great reward!
and i love love love that joshua stayed after Moses left… i wonder if that heart was one of the things that were credited to him as a qualification for leading the people into the promised land, a man after God’s heart, a man of God’s presence, a man of prayer and faith….
ps: its interesting to note, that in Exodus 3 Moses freaks out in his first encounter with God and hides his face, yet here 30 chapters later he has face to face encounters and regular relational connection. don’t stay in the place of first encounter but develop a relationship with God!
“Listen to my words:
“When a prophet of the LORD is among you,
I reveal myself to him in visions,
I speak to him in dreams.
But this is not true of my servant Moses;
he is faithful in all my house.
With him I speak face to face,
clearly and not in riddles;
he sees the form of the LORD. Numbers 12:6-8
When the people saw that Moses was so long in coming down from the mountain, they gathered around Aaron and said, "Come, make us gods who will go before us. As for this fellow Moses who brought us up out of Egypt, we don’t know what has happened to him." Aaron answered them, "Take off the gold earrings that your wives, your sons and your daughters are wearing, and bring them to me." So all the people took off their earrings and brought them to Aaron. He took what they handed him and made it into an idol cast in the shape of a calf, fashioning it with a tool. Then they said, "These are your gods, Israel, who brought you up out of Egypt." When Aaron saw this, he built an altar in front of the calf and announced, "Tomorrow there will be a festival to the Lord." Exodus 32:1-4
whenever i read this i wonder why aaron didn’t stand stronger for God, why didnt he resist the people more? why didn’t he keep his course straight and obedient? what were his fears? did he feel inadequate without Moses? did he not have his own relationship/connection with God? was he so influenced by the needs and pressure of the people? did he find his validation in their approval?
Aaron had an opportunity to correct the people and remind them of God’s promise and direction, but instead gave into their wishes and had gods made for them. This decision brought sin upon the people and 3,000 men lost their lives. This was Aaron’s moment to rise and lead the people TOWARDS God not away from God.
Leadership is not a popularity contest. there will be times when you need to make a stand and go against the crowd. the crowd is not necessarily right. it takes sacrifice and obedience and surrendering to follow God. it costs. but there are times when we need to stand for righteousness and for God vs making everyone feel okay. leaders need to communicate the vision and purpose and win other people to the team – it shouldn’t be one persons vision but transmitted. its a lot easier when a group of people are heading in the same direction vs one leader trying to pull the people along.
All it took for the Israelites to exchange their relationship with the One True God for a vastly inferior substitute was a time of WAITING, and for their leader Moses to be “out of sight out of mind” (perhaps?)
We live in a very instant microwave generation. It takes 2 minutes to make popcorn and noodles. We have drive through food, to make our fast food faster. Yet God doesn’t work on an instant timetable. And one of the greatest things time and delay and WAITING reveals is our weaknesses. in this moment of weakness where we would turn away from God and to the easy road or to compromise or to sin we must remember that God’s ways are good and right and that He has timing and purpose.
We must build faithfulness and endurance into our character. We must continue to keep our eyes fixed upon Jesus, the Author and Perfector of our faith, and RESIST the temptation to build a god to suit our own needs and desires.
THEREFORE THEN, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses [who have borne testimony to the Truth], let us strip off and throw aside every encumbrance (unnecessary weight) and that sin which so readily (deftly and cleverly) clings to and entangles us, and let us run with patient endurance and steady and active persistence the appointed course of the race that is set before us… Hebrews 12:1 AMP