Archive for June 11th, 2017

As I was with Moses, so shall I be with you.

June 11th, 2017

As I was with Moses, so I will be with you. I will not leave you or forsake you. Be strong and of good courage … (Joshua 1:5-6 NKJV)

Here is a simple verse that teaches us a divine principle of our heavenly Father’s workings in the world. People come and go, talented leaders pass away, parents die and their children see them no more, spiritual leaders who have been highly depended upon also leave the earthly scene at their death, yet the work of God continues. As great as that man or woman was, no human is indispensable to God’s work. Another will rise to take his place, and these words that God spoke to Joshua will echo in the soul of this new leader - whether he or she be pastor, father, mother,  statesman or woman, or whatever.

It is often the case, or it seems to be so, that the next one who follows the great man does not measure up to his caliber. If this is so, our text tells us that it need not always be the case, nor is it always the case. A great man can be succeeded by a greater man - we have seen that ourselves happen quite often. If the thing that makes a man great is his God and not himself, then it all comes down to simple faith expressed in surrender and commitment.

It was recorded that when President Abraham Lincoln was assassinated, the whole nation was in mourning. There were prayer meetings and rallies held across America. In the midst of that dismay, a man in New York City made a poster which simply said, “God lives!” His words reminded the people, and teach us today that the work of God goes on in the world. When one soldier falls in battle, another rises to take his place.

It is good to remember this truth and to meditate on it. God enables and strengthens whosoever He calls. In the work of God we do not do our beloved leaders any favors if we refuse to follow the next generation’s leaders. We throw obstacles into the work of God and show our own immaturity when we refuse to follow the next generation of leaders. As troublesome as the Israelites were in the Exodus journeys, at the passing of Moses we see them showing incredible faith, as they said to Joshua his successor:

So they answered unto Joshua, saying, “All that you commanded us we will do, and wherever you send us we will go. Just as we heeded Moses in all things, so we will heed you. Only the LORD your God be with you as He was with Moses.” (Joshua 1:16-17 NKJV)

Every church should say such a thing when their pastor retires or dies and another comes along. They should pray for and encourage the next leader, not compare him and criticize him. If God is with him something will change, but that is just the nature of life.

Moses was one of the greatest men in all the history of the world, and Joshua must have felt his own inadequacy to fill those sandals. Yet he did so upon the command of God and with the promise of God. As Moses had proved himself through the trials of leadership, as he had often faced rebellious people, and as h had learned to intercede for the people in prayer, he had gaiined a reputation. And this fact makes God’s promise to Joshua all the more remarkable.

As God had been with Moses, so shall he be with Joshua.

Let these words be an encouragement to you, whatever stage of spiritual leadership or spiritual growth you might be in. If you are nearing the end of your journey, if you health is frail and your energy seems weak, do not worry too much about what will happen when you pass on. God will raise up another and enable him to continue. If you are a follower and are looking with concern toward the next generation of leadership, do not be over concerned about that either. Pray for the right person to rise and be given the opportunity, but do not fear.

A simple ritual is helpful to visualize this truth. In military funerals, the coffin is draped with the nation’s flag, but before the coffin is placed into the ground the flag is removed and given to the next of kin. The flag symbolizes the nation, and when the soldier died the nation did not die but kept on living. The passing of the flag is symbolic of that fact.

Good men and women are missed at their passing. But God’s work goes on. As He was with the previous leadership, so shall He be with the future leaders.