The daunting prospect that faced Joshua was how to succeed a man of the calibre of Moses.
Moses was a man of experience having spent forty years in the palace of Pharaoh, forty years in the wilderness tending sheep and forty years leading the people of God. Moses was the man who had asked of God, ‘Shew me thy glory’, Exod. 33. 18, and, as a consequence, had seen the back parts of God. How could Joshua measure up to a man like that?
Moses was a man of energy. It is said of him that ‘his eye was not dim, nor his natural force abated’, Deut. 34. 7. He may have been 120 years old; he may have led the people of God for forty years through their wilderness experience; yet, his strength was unabated.
Moses was a man of equity. He was the man whom God had used to record the Law. He had been the one responsible for delivering that Law to the people and ensuring it was kept. The responsibility and burden of maintaining what God required was his. The duty of administering the people and passing judgement upon their matters was his, Exod. 18. 13.
Moses was a man of esteem. It is worth counting the references to ‘Moses, the servant of the Lord’ in the book of Joshua alone. Moses may have passed off the scene, but the memory of him lingers on and he is held in the highest respect. He was a mighty man of God, 2 Chron. 30. 16. He it was who stood before Pharaoh. He led the people out of Egypt, through the Red Sea and through the wilderness. It was Moses who interceded on behalf of the stiff-necked people as they wandered in the wilderness as a consequence of their unbelief.
It is one thing to work alongside a man like Moses, it is quite another to have to assume his mantle and leadership. I wonder how many times we have thought that a particular job looked so easy, until we have to do it for ourselves and suddenly appreciate the aspects of it that we chose not to see!
In what little time remains before the Lord returns for His church, many of us may be drawn into roles we never envisaged fulfilling. As those who once carried responsibility and shepherd care amongst the people of God are taken from us, it behoves us all to be concerned about how the gaps will be filled. May the Lord exercise us to pray and have hearts receptive to the voice of God, in case He would have us to do such a work for Him.
The prospect for Joshua was daunting but the provision of God was dynamic. How could he cross the Jordan without Moses? How could he face the fortress of Jericho? The answer is given, ‘I will be with thee: I will not fail thee, nor forsake thee’. Oh that we might avail ourselves of the presence and power of the Lord with us!
As we commence 2010 there is material in this latest magazine to guide, to encourage and to teach. Graham Hobbs, Shawn Abigail and Jim Cochrane continue their series. There is also some new intensely practical material on marriage and on restarting a children’s work. It is our prayerful desire that the magazine might continue to be a blessing to all who read it as we commence this new phase of the Lord’s work.