Daily D – Deuteronomy 31:7-8
Then 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 their ancestors he would give them. You are the one who will divide it among them as their grants of land. Do not be afraid or discouraged, for the Lord will personally go ahead of you. He will be with you; he will neither fail you nor abandon you.” DEUTERONOMY 31:7-8 (NLT)
One aspect of Marine officer training I would enjoy observing is when candidates are given an impossible situation to manage with limited tools at their disposal. They are graded not on how they master the problem set before them, but on how they process the problem and attempt to use what they have in a creative manner to achieve their goals.
Have you ever faced an impossible problem? Some problems cannot be solved. This is a major challenge for those of us who enjoy solving problems and take great challenges as opportunities to demonstrate our competence and superiority.
A wise saying states not everything is a problem to be solved. Some things are issues to be managed.
What would you call what Joshua faced? He was going to take over leadership from the man all people for the rest of time would look back to as one of the top leaders of all time.
What would you call what Moses faced? The last third of his life was among the most productive lives ever lived. He had almost accomplished his ultimate mission given by God at the Burning Bush in Exod. 3. It was the Almost that burdened him. He pled with God. He begged God. He got on God’s nerves, apparently (Deut. 3:26-28).
God told Moses what he was to do to finish his path and to prepare Joshua for his:
Instead, commission Joshua and encourage and strengthen him, for he will lead the people across the Jordan. He will give them all the land you now see before you as their possession.
In Deut. 31, Moses spoke words to Joshua that he would hear again and again from both Moses and God: Be strong and courageous.
Then in vv. 14 and 15, “the LORD said to Moses, ‘The time has come for you to die. Call Joshua and present yourselves at the Tabernacle, so that I may commission him there.’ So Moses and Joshua went and presented themselves at the Tabernacle. And the LORD appeared to them in a pillar of cloud that stood at the entrance to the sacred tent.”
Moses elevated Joshua as he was bowing out.
Joshua would complete Moses’ original mission. Moses completed his secondary mission by commissioning, encouraging, and strengthening Joshua. Sometimes our secondary mission ultimately becomes more enduring, more vital than our primary.
Moses fell short of his primary mission. He succeeded in ensuring that the mission was accomplished in spite of his failure. Failure is not final if we plan for the success of the enterprise once we are gone.
Right now is a good time to raise up the next generation of leaders. The leadership challenges before us are too great for a handful of superstars to solve. It is time to go back to Exod. 18 and learn to equip people to lead at the lowest levels so that in the days to come we have the leaders we will need at the highest levels.
The days of mass public leadership have been placed on pause for most of us. It is time to lead leaders who will learn to lead other leaders. Our season demands it. Those who will emerge from this season as the most impactful leaders are those who fully invest themselves in others now rather than drawing attention to themselves. This season exposes the true value of our leadership paradigms.
Who is your Joshua? Who are the tribal leaders beyond him? How will you prepare them, commission them, encourage them, and strengthen them? We will never go back to The Way Things Used To Be. How will we begin again more intelligently?
I will help leaders learn how to elevate the next generation of leaders.
Our Father, thank you for this moment of clarity regarding proper focus for what is next. Make those of us in positions of authority more like Moses in investing ourselves in the generations coming up around us. Make us leaders who prepare, commission, encourage, and strengthen younger leaders. Refocus our paradigms that we may make this season one to grow on. Amen.
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Ruth 1:20, 21 “Don’t call me Naomi. Call me Mara,” she answered, “for the Almighty has made me very bitter. I went away full, but the LORD has brought me back empty. Why do you call me Naomi, since the LORD has opposed me, and the Almighty has afflicted me?” (CSB)