I was thinking about Joshua today and wondered what he thought about his new position as leader of the nation of Israel. Forty years earlier as a spy, he had encouraged the people to take the land. We know they chickened out, and as a result wandered around in the wilderness for decades. But now it was time to go into the land God had promised to give them.
It’s very likely Joshua was close to Moses during the wandering years. We know from Deuteronomy 33 Joshua was with Moses when Moses shared his song in front of the people. In Deuteronomy 34 Moses commissioned Joshua with the laying on of hands. What I see is Moses mentoring Joshua, teaching him to be a leader, introducing him to leadership by degrees. I think it’s a picture of discipleship at its finest.
I trust you who have walked with the Lord for a while are involved in discipleship, coming along side a new Christian, teaching and encouraging them, and helping to prepare them for leadership opportunities.
It was 40 years before Joshua was given the responsibility of leading God’s people. I think sometimes new Christians are eager to jump in and be teachers, youth workers, and take on leadership roles in the church. Who wants to dampen their enthusiasm? Not me. And, hey, if they want to do that stuff, why not? I’m tired.
Yet, it would appear that God places value on the growing years before a child of His takes on the important role of leader. Paul is an example of that. Even Jesus went into the wilderness before beginning his ministry. Often God tells us to be still, to wait on the Lord before we jump into battle.
If you are a seasoned Christian, I urge you to reach out to a new Christian. Be the Moses to him or her as you teach them, encourage then, and prepare them for what comes next.
And if you are a new Christian, let me suggest you find that seasoned Christian who will invest themselves in your growth.
I said I wonder what Joshua felt as he stood before the people as their new leader. I can only imagine he felt humbled, scared, yet prepared and determined. After all, he had had a pretty great example to follow, a mentor worthy of imitating. Joshua was ready for what came next because God had given him time to prepare.
I pray that we will all be working together, young Christian and old, to prepare for what comes next.