"Snippets" from David
With God, Tragedy Is Opportunity!
Moses was dead! The man that God commissioned to
lead Israel out of Egypt was dead! The man who confronted the Egyptian ruler
with the plagues was dead. The man God used to part the sea was dead. The man
through whom God worked to provide manna, meat, and water was dead. The man
through whom God gave the Law was dead. The man who received God’s pattern for
the tabernacle was dead. The man whose face was bright because he was in God’s
presence was dead. The man who communicated with God as did no one else was
dead. The man who rescued Israel numerous times when they angered God was dead.
The man who was the only leader Israel had ever known was dead.
What a “tough act” to follow! No would ever be as distinct a leader as was Moses! No one would ever have the opportunity to do for God the things Moses did. Being Israel’s first leader provided Moses a unique blend of circumstances and opportunities. There would never be another Moses — just like with Americans there could never be another George Washington. Moses cast too big a shadow to be filled by anyone else.
Now Joshua was to take his place. While we might think, “What an incredible opportunity,” he might think, “What an impossible challenge!” Joshua had endured battle before under Moses’ leadership. However, his leadership would be different. Under Moses there had been battles. Under Joshua, there was to be an era filled with the war of conquest. In war there is death. In time, death gets old. War may begin as a glorious sacrifice, but prolonged war becomes the unacceptable expense of unnecessary dying.
God gave Joshua incredible challenges and promises. Both are found in Joshua 1:1-9. The challenges: be strong and courageous. The promises:
(1) I will give this entire area to Israel just as I promised their forefathers.
(2) I will be with you just like I was with Moses.
(3) No one can defeat you because I am with you.
(4) Follow my Law and do exactly as I direct.
Some things stand out in Joshua 1:1-9. First, God intended to give Israel more land than Israel’s faith allowed (see also Deuteronomy 1:6,7; 11:24) . God’s intent was to allow Israel to inhabit all the land to the Euphrates River. God could not do as He intended because of Israel’s faith problems. Second, the (then) enemies of this new nation would not be able to stop them because God would be with Joshua. Those enemies did not stop Israel. Israel stopped Israel. Third, God would be with Joshua as He was with Moses. God would not desert Joshua if he would be strong and courageous! Fourth, Joshua must always keep himself aware of God’s desires and practice God’s teachings. The present and the future belonged to God, not Joshua.
What was to happen was to be about God, not about Joshua. Joshua was not to take God’s blessings on him as an evidence of his personal greatness. Israel would possess the land because of a promise God made, not because Joshua was a great leader, great planner, or great implementer. Greatness belonged to God, not Joshua
It is easy to be arrogant about ourselves and our abilities rather than be humble before God.
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