Show me Your glory, I pray.
After the death of Moses the servant of the LORD, the LORD spoke to Joshua son of Nun, Moses’ assistant, saying,“My servant Moses is dead. Now proceed to cross the Jordan, you and all this people, into the land that I am giving to them, to the Israelites. Every place that the sole of your foot will tread upon I have given to you, as I promised to Moses… No one shall be able to stand against you all the days of your life. As I was with Moses, so I will be with you; I will not fail you or forsake you. Be strong and courageous; for you shall put this people in possession of the land that I swore to their ancestors to give them.”
Joshua 1:1-3, 5-6
Have you ever felt way in over your head? Have you ever felt too small for shoes you were supposed to fill? I have. And I can imagine what Joshua must feel now that Moses has died. Joshua knows well what the divine record will say of his predecessor: “Never since has there arisen a prophet in Israel like Moses” (Deuteronomy 34:10). Joshua also knows what the people are thinking and saying. They are wondering who will lead them like Moses led them for 40 years. They remember Moses as the leader who had stood up against Pharaoh, raised his hand and the Red Sea parted, and prevailed in prayer for God to spare the Israelites.
I have always looked up to the great and popular preacher J. Vernon McGee, and appreciated his humble warning about big shoes to fill: “If you ever think you are indispensible, put your hand in a pail of water, take it out, and look at the hole you left!” The hole Moses leaves is about to be filled up by God’s promise to Joshua: “As I was with Moses, so I will be with you.”
It is never about the man or woman, but about the God who promises to go with them. It is the same God going with Joshua who went with Moses, so that God can command him: “Be strong and courageous.” Joshua and the Israelites were going to enter the Promised Land.
What is the believer’s Promised Land that we need to be strong and courageous to possess? A.W. Tozer suggests the uncounted spiritual blessings we possess in Christ (Ephesians 1:3):
“…are to us what the Promised Land was to Israel, to be entered into as our faith and courage mount…’ Every place that the sole of your foot shall tread upon, that I have given you,’ said God to Joshua, and this principle runs throughout the entire Bible. The history of Israel is dotted with stories of those who boldly pressed on to claim their possessions.” (A. W. Tozer, That Incredible Christian)
Nineteenth century evangelist and publisher Dwight L. Moody was a man who pressed on hard to claim his spiritual possessions. Though poorly educated, Moody felt God calling him to tell the Gospel to the world. One day a friend stirred Moody with the words: “The world has yet to see what God can do with and for and through and in a man who is fully and wholly consecrated to Him.” Moody determined that day, “By God’s help, I aim to be that man.” And God did extraordinary things through that ordinary man.
If you’ve got big shoes to fill, and feel way in over your head, hear the words of God to Joshua, to Moody, and to you: “As I was with Moses, so I will be with you; I will not fail you or forsake you. Be strong and courageous.”
- What do you think Jesus meant when He promised His followers: “And remember, I am with you always, to the end of the age”? (See Matthew 28:20)
- What would it mean for you today, to “be strong and courageous”?