Remember when I learned about the Old Testament wait, that the Lord knows no hurry? Let’s call that the Moses phase. Still I stand by that kind of belief. But sometimes—when you least expect it—he moves at Lightspeed. All of a sudden, He moves quick quick quick when you’ve been waiting slow and steady for six months going-on-forever. You study forty whole years of slow wilderness trek behind the ark of the covenant and the best servant God’s got, with the Promised Land a mere speck on the horizon. And then, nearing the place he’s longed for, He lays Moses to forever-Rest and shakes things up. He hands an Israelite army to second-string Joshua and they slay enemies and destroy whole people groups and conquer Canaan, like the Lord promised Jacob, Joseph, Isaac way back when. This is the Joshua phase. He tells me I’m on the edge of that.
I’ve spent most of this semester taking my story and lining it up neat with Moses’. I’ve been hiking his hike, training up my Joshuas. I’ve been readying for the finale, the send-off of the people I’ve walked beside or ahead of all these years. I’m trusting that my story doesn’t end atop my Mount Nebo, and I catch myself begging Him to just to say what’s next so I can go there already. I would’ve taken a whisper but He chose to be neon-lights loud. He’s a God of plot twists and surprises, and out of nowhere, I’m Joshua. Suddenly, I’m the benchwarmer called to big plays, the little guy called to armor up up-front, called to fit tiny feet into big shoes leftover. I’m no Moses. And all this while He’s been readying me for such a time as this.
Moses was able, renowned, favored, fruitful. His story’s worth ever-remembering, worth etching down across a few hundred pages of timeless Word. He’s tag-teamed with his Abba to ensure the Israelite pack is sustainable and going places and settled down like He made sure it would be. And Moses gets His place in the Promised Land that’s infinite. Regarding who’s next, the Lord looked low. He’s always been a noticer. He noticed Joshua, the only bearer of good news after scoping out the Promised Land. Joshua, sure Israel’s God would come through no matter what war’s coming. He noticed Joshua fighting frontlines, noticed potential and influence deep down in him, and let him serve as sidekick to Moses atop Sinai in his holiest moment. He called him by name—it means The Lord is My Savior—and He set him aside. Watch and learn, shadow. Here’s the best teacher I’ve got. He prepares him, steadies his shaky knees, and then He swears to him: “Today, I’ll show the Israelites that you matter, that I put you here. I was with Moses. They’ll know that I’m with you too.” (Joshua 3:7)
God’s a promise-keeper. He carries Joshua and company until they reach Canaan, and always fights beside Israel, for Israel. He swears they’ll win everywhere they go. He took the Israelites to Jordan shores, and stopped its rushing flow the second their feet hit the water. Turned wild water to dry ground—He’s done that trick before. At His trumpet-cue, the Canaan walls crumbled. He fights with and for His people. Joshua stands tall in obedience, in righteousness, yields his heart and the hearts of his people to the Lord in white-flag surrender. He fights by sword and by Spirit and knows He’s small but God Himself told him to man up, armor up, to please be strong and courageous. And like Moses, he spends his last up-front stage time pointing backwards and Upwards to their God and all He had done. To His rescuing, redeeming, protecting, providing. He assembles the Israelites, calls the tribes to a covenant-renewal. He reminds the Israelites of who and where they came from—and tells them to pick and choose their allegiance, either to the gods of gold and wood and silver, of to the God that got them here. He invites them to join him and his household, where they’ll forever serve the Lord.
Sanctify yourselves, make yourselves
holy and ready. For tomorrow, the
Lord will will do wonders among you.
| Joshua 3:5 |
Studying Joshua trains me to be okay with being small. The God that stills rushing rivers, splits seas, sends hail to take out who’s opposing His people notices me, names me capable and steadies my shaky knees. He stops the sun at Joshua’s request, crumbles Jericho walls in just seconds so His able Israelites can take what’s theirs. He’s almighty and the Master of all things, but still He spends time and thought and detail writing pretty things on my next pages. Yet no matter how He shakes up and switches the roles, He still lets me play a part in His big story. I’ve been called out and named excitable a time or two, since my heart races at turned-pages and new directions. But I’m hearing and trusting the Promise-keeper say this tomorrow offers God-wonders and a world of new territory we’ve yet to chart out. Better yet, He promises His goodness and mercy and provision have gone before me and chase after me, and that He won’t ever up and leave without me. Better still, He’s racing me there.
You stop rushing Jordan rivers when I put both feet in. You’re a promise-keeper and You swear You work for my good. I’m bracing myself, dusting myself off, all kinds of ready for tomorrow’s wonders. Abba, I’m way thankful You put me here!