Moses My servant is dead; now therefore arise, cross this Jordan, you and My people, Israel, to the land I am giving to them. No foe will be able to stand before you. Just as I have been with Moses I will be with you. I will not fail you or forsake you. Only be strong and very courageous; do not tremble or be afraid, but be careful to obey My law. (Joshua 1:2,5,7,9)
The greatest leader who ever lived has just died. His burial place is a secret known only to God. This is a good thing, for otherwise the people might waste precious time in pilgrimages to their captain’s grave, when God has another trip in mind – the claiming of the Promised Land. The time for mourning is over, the time for marching has come. Their general is out of the picture. Enter now his chief lieutenant, stepping forward, though shaking in his boots, to report for duty. As much as God values and honors every faithful servant of His, He never depends on just one. He has a whole army of servant-leaders in the making, each with his unique gifts, calling, task, and place and time of service. Woe to those who let tears of grief bind them to joys now dead, while blinding them to jobs dead ahead! Indeed, a new leader is waiting in the wings whom God has selected and prepared to take them forward on the next leg of the journey home. For the Israelites this journey would not be by way of pleasant “green pastures beside quiet waters,” but rather through “the valley of the shadow of death,” for there would be foreboding enemies to fight and conquer before they would reach the land flowing with milk and honey. Is not this the plight of every Christian of every age, including you and me today? “I beg your pardon,” says our Lord, “I never promised you a rose garden!” God’s marching orders do not mask the difficulties ahead: 1) You have a river to cross, representing an encroachment into enemy territory, marking an entering into the fray; 2) You will face real and present danger – evil foes with ugly faces, some outside the camp – others within. And, as if that were not enough, 3) There will always be that inner demon of fear to conquer: Just as I am, though tossed about with many a conflict, many a doubt; Fightings and fears within, without, O Lamb of God, I come, I come. But for those two dreadful foes God gives two promises far more precious than blue skies and rose gardens: 1) He will stand with us as faithfully as with those who have gone before us; and 2) He will never leave us alone with our enemy or fail to uphold us in our weakness. I can follow His marching orders, as long as I have the precious promises that go with them. How about you?
Bits & Pieces from Japan
8 years ago