By Brooke Holt
“And Joshua the son of Nun was full of the spirit of wisdom, for Moses had laid his hands on him. So the people of Israel obeyed him and did as the Lord had commanded Moses.” Deuteronomy 34:9
Change can be hard for people, especially when they have a new leader. Often true in churches after a pastor’s retirement or relocation, members of the congregation struggle to let go of the old to embrace the new. We have interim pastors for this reason; that interim allows the church a time to grieve their loss and reach the place of looking forward to God’s provision for them in a new pastor.
For forty years, Moses led the nation of Israel. They went through a lot together! From the bondage in Egypt to the great deliverance to wandering in the wilderness thinking they might die of hunger and thirst to seeing God’s perfect provision for them, Moses, the mediator between God and his people, had been instrumental in leading, caring for, and teaching the Israelites. Now, as they stood at the threshold of the Promised Land, Moses was no longer with them. How would they continue and take ownership of this Promised Land?
Just as God had provided leadership through Moses, he would continue to care for his people. God always has a plan! After grieving for Moses for the appointed time (30 days), the time had come for the leadership transition. Joshua, as God’s appointed leader, stepped forward to lead the nation into this next stage of their journey. Joshua would not lead in his strength or power but through the spirit of wisdom. As the Lord had ministered through Moses, he would now work through Joshua.
Joshua had shown himself faithful while serving alongside Moses. When the Israelites reached the area just outside the borders of Canaan, the Lord commanded Moses to send spies into the land. For forty days, these spies assessed the land. All returned reporting this land was flowing with milk and honey. Instead of delighting in God’s fulfilled promises and trusting him to make the way for them to occupy the land, the spies also reported giants inhabited this land, and the city was well fortified.
With courage and faith, Caleb, one of the spies, called the Israelites to trust the Lord would act on their behalf. God had proved himself faithful through the plagues, the exodus, the daily provision, and with his continual presence and guidance through the pillar of cloud by day and fire by night. Sadly, only Joshua stood beside Caleb in his call for faith and action. The rest of the Israelites gave way to fear. They moaned and complained against Moses and Aaron and even sought out a leader to take them back to Egypt.
After tearing his clothes in lament, Joshua challenged the Israelites to turn from their rebellion, disobedience, and fear and to choose faith and obedience in the Lord. He knew the Lord would lead them into the land and grant them victory (see Numbers 14:1-10).
Joshua demonstrated the courage and faith it would take to lead God’s people into the Promised Land. Now, God called him to succeed Moses and to lead these people into the land. Moses affirmed this call by laying hands on Joshua. As he did, Joshua was filled with the spirit of wisdom. He stood equipped and ready to lead God’s people.
Are you faithfully following God’s appointed leaders in your life, supporting them, praying for them? We would love to hear your thoughts in the comments.
Advent is like celebrating a national holiday in a foreign land — like observing the 4th of July as an expatriate. Locals do not understand the fuss. Advent is equal parts cherishing and missing home. AND it’s a mix of loving this world while getting ready to leave it behind. This makes Advent the most human and most complex celebration we have. Isaiah the prophet, David the psalmist, Paul the apostle, John the Baptist, Mary, Joseph, and Jesus all lived in one world and longed for the next. They loved this world and loved the world to come even more. In these 28 devotions in Face the Dawn, join them in wearing the paradox of Christianity- this world may be our home, but that world is HOME.
Check out all our resources for Advent here.
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