Friday, April 22, 2011

Deuteronomy 31: 1-15

1When Moses had finished saying these things to all the people of Israel, 2he said, "I am now 120 years old and am no longer able to lead you. The LORD has told me that I will not cross the Jordan River. 3But the LORD your God himself will cross over ahead of you. He will destroy the nations living there, and you will take possession of their land. Joshua is your new leader, and he will go with you, just as the LORD promised. 4The LORD will destroy the nations living in the land, just as he destroyed Sihon and Og, the kings of the Amorites. 5The LORD will hand over to you the people who live there, and you will deal with them as I have commanded you. 6Be strong and courageous! Do not be afraid of them! The LORD your God will go ahead of you. He will neither fail you nor forsake you."

7Then Moses called for Joshua, and as all Israel watched he said to him, "Be strong and courageous! For you will lead these people into the land that the LORD swore to give their ancestors. You are the one who will deliver it to them as their inheritance. 8Do not be afraid or discouraged, for the LORD is the one who goes before you. He will be with you; he will neither fail you nor forsake you."

9So Moses wrote down this law and gave it to the priests, who carried the Ark of the LORD's covenant, and to the leaders of Israel. 10Then Moses gave them this command: "At the end of every seventh year, the Year of Release, during the Festival of Shelters, 11you must read this law to all the people of Israel when they assemble before the LORD your God at the place he chooses. 12Call them all together--men, women, children, and the foreigners living in your towns--so they may listen and learn to fear the LORD your God and carefully obey all the terms of this law. 13Do this so that your children who have not known these laws will hear them and will learn to fear the LORD your God. Do this as long as you live in the land you are crossing the Jordan to occupy."

14Then the LORD said to Moses, "The time has come for you to die. Call Joshua and take him with you to the Tabernacle, and I will commission him there." So Moses and Joshua went and presented themselves at the Tabernacle. 15And the LORD appeared to them in a pillar of cloud at the entrance to the sacred tent.

Points of Interest:

· the LORD your God himself will cross over ahead of you’—just because Moses is leaving does not mean God is leaving as well. They have no need to worry. They’re in very good hands.

· just as he destroyed Sihon and Og’—they’ve already seen how God can defeat their enemies. They will not be facing anything as they enter the land that they have not already faced in the wilderness. They have been tested in the desert, and they are ready for the big event.

· Do not be afraid or discouraged, for the LORD is the one who goes before you’—this must be an unsettling moment for Joshua. For almost 40 years now, he has served as an assistant to Moses. Now, he is becoming the leader. He could be afraid that he will not be able to succeed without Moses to guide him. He could be discouraged because he doubts that he will be able to pull off what even Moses could not. But Moses focuses his attention back on God. Joshua need not be afraid, because he will have the exact same source of guidance and empowerment as Moses had: God himself.

· Do not be afraid of them!’—Moses is echoing Joshua’s own words, which he and Caleb said while trying to encourage the people not to be dismayed by the Canaanites. Moses is not trying to pump Joshua up into someone he is not. He is encouraging the faith that he knows Joshua truly has.

Taking it home:

· For you: Has God recently been calling you into a new level of leadership? How do you feel about the prospect? Who have been your mentors and sponsors? How would you like to follow their example?
What have you learned and experienced that encourage you that you might indeed be ready to respond to a call into greater authority or responsibility?

· For your six: When Joshua responds to God’s call to take up the adventure of being the leader of the people, it doesn’t mean that Joshua has to become a completely different person. Rather, Joshua becomes an even better version of the person he already was. Pray that your six would have the opportunity to be absolutely shining examples of the person they were meant to be.

· For our church: Pray for our church that we would have a legacy like Moses. Moses led quite an incredible life himself; then, he blessed the next generation to do what he could not. Pray that God would work through our current leadership amazingly, and then do even greater things through the new leaders we raise up.