It’s the big day. You’ve been preparing for this for over forty years. You’re pumped. You’re ready. But there’s just one thing. As ready as you are, things are not going as you had planned. Your fearless leader is gone and God has left you in charge. Moses led the people out of Egypt and through the wilderness. He was supposed to lead them into the Promised Land. Instead, you’re standing in front of all of Israel and they’re waiting on you to say the word.
No pressure or anything.
I can’t imagine how Joshua felt. He had been Moses’ aid for years. He, of all people, was the best equipped and most qualified to take over after Moses’ death. But how do you go on stage after an act like Moses?
You go on stage because it’s what God commands you to do.
God knew Joshua was following behind a great leader. The first thing God mentions to Joshua is, “Moses my servant is dead.” That seems a little obvious, but I think there’s a point here. God is telling Joshua not to dwell on Moses’ great leadership skills, or Moses’ resume of miraculous signs and wonders. He’s telling Joshua not to focus on all the things he couldn’t do or all the ways he didn’t compare to Moses. Moses is gone and Joshua’s time has begun. It’s as if God is telling Joshua to leave the excuses at the door.
Because these were such big shoes to fill, God commands Joshua to be strong and courageous three times. God also tells Joshua how to be successful – to follow God’s laws and decrees.
“Be strong and courageous, for you shall give this people possession of the land which I swore to their fathers to give them. Only be strong and very courageous; be careful to do according to all the law which Moses My servant commanded you; do not turn from it to the right or to the left, so that you may have success wherever you go. This book of the law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do according to all that is written in it; for then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have success. Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous! Do not tremble or be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.” ~ Joshua 1:6-9
God was aware of the task before Joshua then, and he’s aware of the task he’s laid before you now. Are you filling some big shoes? Are you under-qualified? Over-qualified? Are you too young? Too old?
Paul tells Timothy:
“Don’t let anyone look down on you because you are young, but set an example for the believers in speech, in life, in love, in faith and in purity.” (underline added) ~ 1 Timothy 4:12
Read that again. This time, instead of young, add whatever adjective you offer to God as an excuse for the service he’s calling you to.
God equipped Joshua for the task before him. He will equip you too.
In the closing chapter of Deuteronomy, we are told Joshua was filled with the spirit of wisdom because Moses laid his hands on Joshua. This spirit enabled Joshua to lead with God’s authority and grace. We too have this same spirit residing in us, the Holy Spirit. Trust the Holy Spirit to guide you as you seek his counsel daily. Place your excuses behind you. Be strong and courageous!