How do you follow Moses, a prophet unlike any other? Moses knew God so well that they spoke “face to face, as one speaks to a friend” (Exod. 33:11), and Moses had performed signs and miracles in front of all the people. Joshua may have felt woefully unequal to the gargantuan task ahead after Moses had led the Hebrew people to the border of the Promised Land.
It now becomes Joshua’s job to lead the Hebrews across the border to occupy the land promised them from the time of Abraham. One big obstacle remains. Other tribes and nations occupy the land God promised.
The forty years of wandering may have fostered an unrealistic expectation that taking possession of the land would be quick and easy. So Joshua will simply approach those already living there and explain God’s plan, and they will all agree to leave or live under Jewish authority! Joshua knows it won’t be that simple, however. He has already surveyed the land as one of twelve spies for Moses. Ten of those spies report that the occupants of the land are too strong for the Hebrew people to defeat. Only Joshua and one other tell Moses that with God’s help, the Hebrews can prove victorious over the people living in the Promised Land. He voiced his optimism even while remaining realistic.
Another factor works in Joshua’s favor as he takes the reins of leadership. He knows that he, like Moses, has been chosen by God to lead. Moses, in laying hands on Joshua, completes the transfer of authority. The Hebrew people recognize Joshua’s authority and agree to follow him as they had Moses. Filled with the spirit of wisdom, Joshua will know the right time for a military effort and when the time would require patience.
Mighty God, help us to recognize our calling and take our place among the people committed to following your path. Amen.
Deuteronomy 34 narrates Moses’ death and Joshua’s succession, both the end of Moses’ life and the continuation of his influence. Psalm 90 is ascribed to Moses, and the tone suits the setting portrayed in Deuteronomy 34. In First Thessalonians Paul continues his recollection of the relationship between himself and the Thessalonians. Paul and his coworkers acted out their love of neighbor, a love that is possible only because of their prior love of God. The Gospel places Jesus in a setting of controversy with the religious leaders of the day. The exchange about the greatest commandment demonstrates that the religious authorities in fact observe none of the commandments because of their inability to understand properly what Jesus calls the “ rst” and “second” commandments.
• Read Deuteronomy 34:1-12. How is God speaking to you about your life? What endings seem imminent? What new beginning is God forming you for?
• Read Psalm 90:1-6, 13-17. Notice all the references to time. How do you experience time when you perceive God’s work in your life? How do you measure time when God seems absent?
• Read 1 Thessalonians 2:1-8. What relationship is God using to form you spiritually? Who are you tenderly sharing the gospel and yourself with so that God is using you in someone else’s life?
• Read Matthew 22:34-46. The writer states, “It is impossible to love God without also loving those created in God’s image.” What are the implications of this statement on your life? the life of your church?
Respond by posting a prayer.
I join many of those who will pray for you as you seek to discern what you are called to be at this moment. May God grant you the courage to fulfill that calling. May we all open our eyes and see the misery, open our ears and hear the cries of God’s people, and, like God through the Lord Jesus Christ, be incarnate amongst them.”
View a growing list of resources for the spiritual work of overcoming racism.