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JOSHUA 1:1b-2, 9b (ESV)
“The Lord said to Joshua the son of Nun, Moses' assistant, ‘Moses my servant is dead. Now therefore arise, go over this Jordan, you and all this people, into the land that I am giving to them… Be strong and courageous. Do not be frightened, and do not be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.’”
THE NEXT GENERATION
School has started in Central Illinois again. Therefore, not only should we be praying for students, teachers, and school staff, but we should also be on the lookout for marked ‘driver’s education vehicles.’ Brave teachers will soon be taking their spot in the passenger seat and letting unexperienced teenagers take the wheel.
Of course, this kind of training is absolutely necessary if we want the next generation to be able to drive a vehicle safely. With that goal in mind, it’s natural and healthy for older, more experienced adults to invest their time and energy into developing the skills of and encouraging trials of leadership for those who are younger. As Christians, we call this disciple-making. Yet, transitions of authority can be terrifying, especially when lives are at stake.
As we begin our sermon series through the Book of Joshua, chapter 1 seems to imply that Joshua was just thrown into the driver’s seat without any preparation as soon as Moses died. Can you image being the one to lead over 600,000 men (Num. 1:46) plus women and children into a foreign land full of enemies and idols? But, a careful reading of Exodus, Numbers and Deuteronomy gives us a better picture of how Moses had invested into Joshua’s life.
Joshua, was born in Egypt, as the firstborn son of Nun (1 Chron. 7:27). He was at least twenty years old when His people experienced the Lord’s saving power during the Passover event, the journey though the Rea Sea and the battle against Amalekites (Ex. 17:13, Num. 14:29-30).
Even before Joshua was chosen to spy on the Canaanites, he was already considered to be Moses’ apprentice (Num. 11:28). Because of that intentional disciple-making relationship, Joshua was the only one allowed to get a front-row seat as the Lord spoke with Moses on Mount Sinai and the ‘tent of meeting’ (Ex. 24:13-14, 33:7-11). At some point, Moses even renamed him from ‘Hoshea’ to ‘Joshua’ (Num. 13:16).
It’s significant to note that this relationship appears to be one which Moses initiated. Perhaps Moses saw something in Joshua that he did not see in himself or perhaps he was prompted by the Lord. It’s true that a middle-aged Joshua desperately needed God’s presence and divine direction in order to lead courageously after Moses’ passing. But God had been with him through his apprenticeship with Moses as well. Those forty years at Moses’ side served as wonderful preparation for his leadership of the Israelites.
Who are you intentionally investing in? If you are already teaching or mentoring others in their faith journey this fall, thank you! If you don’t have anyone in mind, please consider asking the Lord to lead you into intentional spiritual relationships. Whole nations could be blessed by the time that you take to invest in one!
Lord, lead us to others that you want us to be investing in, for Your Kingdom and Your glory. Through Jesus, Amen!