“I can’t possibly be ready for this,” the newly ordained leader confessed silently. “I am unsteady. Unsure. My heart and mind are buckling under this arduous mantle. What if I get this wrong? All wrong?”
Although, Moses had blessed Joshua, the son of Nun with the spirit of wisdom, Joshua must have wondered as he was anointed leader. As the people of Israel looked to him for direction in this uncertain hour, would this capricious group follow Joshua to the land of promise? Would his discernment and prudent guidance be heeded?
His thoughts raced from one insecure, uncertain thought to another. As his mentor and friend stepped into heaven’s glory, these words were declared:
… no prophet has risen in Israel like Moses, whom the Lord knew face to face, who did all those signs and wonders the Lord sent him to do in Egypt—to Pharaoh and to all his officials and to his whole land. For no one has ever shown the mighty power or performed the awesome deeds that Moses did in the sight of all Israel.
New International Version, Deuteronomy 34: 10-12
These were not just any sandals to fill at this juncture in Israel’s history, the sandals of Moses were colossal, momentous, and prodigious!
What would happen?
Was the pathway to promise clear, wide and without obstacle for Joshua and the nation of Israel?
Of course not.
None of us, not Moses, not the Israelites, not Joshua, nor you or I have ever been promised a straight, smooth or illuminated pathway to what is next in our lives.
For Joshua, he understood that the journey ahead would be difficult, long, and for all of them – something new. He was chosen to lead the Israelites because of his strong faith, his resolute spirit, his courage, and his ability to command.
Yet, as the mantle of leadership passed into his steady, sure hands, the commander, Joshua, needed his own Commander. I am sure he must have asked, “Can I do this? Am I up to the task? What if I fail Moses? What if I fail my people? What if I fail my God?”
I believe Joshua’s unspoken, but heartfelt feelings of insecurity and fear drew God near.
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.
New International Version, Joshua 1: 1-2
There is no mention of Joshua calling out to God to come to his side.
God was already there.
The God who knew Moses face-to-face was ready to meet Joshua in a similar way.
Joshua’s God – Jehovah, the everlasting I AM – was present.
Joshua’s God – Jehovah, the everlasting I AM – would offer Joshua His strength.
Joshua’s God – Jehovah, the everlasting I AM – would bestow His guidance.
Joshua’s God – Jehovah, the everlasting I AM – would instill Joshua with His love.
Joshua’s God – Jehovah, the everlasting I AM – would equip Joshua with the leadership skill he would need to propel the nation of Israel forward.
Joshua’s God – Jehovah, the everlasting I AM – was calling Joshua into a life of bolder, heart-strengthening faith and relationship.
This kind of courage would not be found in Joshua – but in Jehovah, the everlasting I AM.
The LORD promised:
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.
“Be strong and very courageous. Be careful to obey all the law my servant Moses gave you; do not turn from it to the right or to the left, that you may be successful wherever you go. Keep this Book of the Law always on your lips; meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do everything written in it. Then you will be prosperous and successful.Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.”
New International Version, Joshua 1: 5-9
It is a powerful, life-affirming thing to be present in someone’s life – particularly when that person’s life is difficult and uncertain.
Yet, this is exactly what the presence of God meant for Joshua. The presence of God term comes from the Hebrew transliterated word, panim. Panim means face which implies a close, personal, one-on-one encounter with the LORD. The face of God was not only turned towards Joshua, the face of God was so near that the LORD, Jehovah, the everlasting I AM, would be with Joshua wherever he journeyed in life. The presence of God would provide Joshua with comfort, encouragement, strength, and anything else he would need – day in and day out.
For in God’s presence, Joshua would be in a safe, sheltering place where his every prayer – whether spoken or not – would be heard. The all-sufficient God would assist Joshua with every infirmity, insecurity, insufficiency and inconsistency in his life and leadership.
The way forward was not yet known for Joshua and the Israelites – especially after losing their leader, Moses. Yet, God would be enough. As this nation depended upon and relied upon the Presence of God, they would be equipped and made ready for the journey.
What an encouragement!
Isn’t this the kind of God-confidence we need at this hour?
We are still in the throes of a world-wide pandemic. For our family, our extended stay in the States only continues and continues and continues. Our life is uncertain. Like Joshua, we need to live into the words and promises of God, depend upon them, trust them, and voice them. The Divine Presence of God was promised to Joshua and this Divine Presence is promised to us.
Joshua needed the command of his Commander – Be strong and courageous.
We need this command of our God, too – Be strong and courageous.
And like Joshua, the command is undergirded with His promise – our God will be with us wherever we go as He leads us and guides us through our difficulties, our fears, our insecurities, our doubts, our struggles, our inadequacies, and any other aspect of life.
We do not have to be dismayed – by anything!
We can have our own face-to-face encounter with God as we seek Him, talk to Him, and trust Him for all that is next.
Friends, are we ready to heed the command of God to be strong, courageous, and bold in our faith and in our trust in Him?
What would this kind of God-confidence look like in our lives?
What kind of evidence of faith would our lives present in our sphere of influence?
Honestly, isn’t a world-wide pandemic an incredible opportunity to share the love of Jesus Christ?
Do you need a face-to-face encounter with God?
Do you need to know Jesus is with you and for you?
Like Joshua, do you need Him to draw near to you – like He did for Moses – during this time of uncertainty and change?
Are you afraid? Scared? Uncertain?
Like Joshua are you voicing words of insecurity and fear: “Am I ready for this? I feel unsteady. Unsure. What if I get this wrong? All wrong?”
Let’s receive these words of promise:
Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.
His face is towards you.
Talk to Him.
He is listening.
You are in the Divine Presence of God.