Daily D – Deuteronomy 34:9
Now Joshua son of Nun was full of the spirit of wisdom, for Moses had laid his hands on him. So the people of Israel obeyed him, doing just as the LORD had commanded Moses. DEUTERONOMY 34:9 (NLT)
Sometimes we do not appreciate how good we have it until we lose it.
A pastor of my acquaintance has made the transition from live Sunday services to online streaming with aplomb. Yesterday he was making sure everything was ready to go. This included restarting all the necessary computers. Somehow he managed to hit the one switch which killed everything moments before the livestream was to begin.
“Wanna get away?”
People in all kinds of jobs are learning to work from home. Some will carry these newfound practices beyond this season of pandemic. They will never go back to the way things used to be. Consider, however, what would happen during this season if we lost internet access. This is not a complaint about slow internet, or too many devices operating at the same time in one home for two people to get meaningful work done. We are talking about no internet at all. What then?
My maternal grandmother passed away when I was working on the Master of Divinity degree. Each of us grandchildren received a check for a thousand dollars from her estate. My bride and I used it to purchase our first computer, a Radio Shack model complete with two disk drives. The word processing program I used, PC Write, worked by using the first disk drive to run the basic program with the second disk drive holding the data. We could not afford the extravagance of a computer with a hard drive. That would have cost up to twice what we paid.
We kept our typewriter. As cool as the new computer was, sometimes it took as long to set up things to work as it did to type short papers the old fashioned way. I distinctly remember telling my bride, “We will always need a typewriter.” We finally disposed of that dust-covered relic a few years later.
Moses was no relic of days gone by. Here is how he is described at the time of his death: “Moses was 120 years old when he died, yet his eyesight was clear, and he was as strong as ever.” Replacing him was not a matter of waning commitment, competence, or character. This was God’s plan for reasons everyone knew well.
Moses had done what God told him to do regarding Joshua. He had commissioned him, encouraged him, and strengthened him. He had been raising him up before the people for some time now. People were confident in Joshua’s ability to lead and his readiness to succeed Moses. “So the people of Israel obeyed him, doing just as the LORD had commanded Moses.”
Moses was gone. Joshua took the lead. The one thing that did not change was who was really in charge. As amazing as Moses was, as competent as Joshua was, God was the one in charge. Many writers observe that Joshua succeeded early and often but failed to leave a successor. They blame the downward spiral of Israel to this reality.
Actually, Joshua left twelve leaders in charge along with the support systems God had given them during their wilderness wanderings and in final instructions before they entered the Promised Land. Everyone, including the leaders of each tribe, was to know and experience God, to obey him, to enjoy his goodness. What the people lost was not a mythic-level leader, but an abiding relationship with the God who sustained them without want for forty years of wilderness wanderings.
In this season of setback and loss, it is good to remember how we arrived at all the good things we enjoyed before everything shut down. Every good and perfect gift comes from our unchanging God. Leaders come and go. Systems of work come and go. Seasons come and go. The one unchanging thing across all generations is our Father in heaven.
“The LORD is my shepherd; I have all that I need,” (Ps. 23:1). The LORD — the Everlasting One, the Eternally Present One — is the same yesterday, today, and forever. The one thing we dare not lose is our relationship with him. He who delivered Israel from Egypt and Jesus from the grave will deliver us through whatever we face now and forever.
I will place ultimate trust in God alone.
Our Father, the many conveniences of life are gifts you made possible. You alone created this world full of resources. You alone gave us wisdom to make things from what you generously provide. Thank you that every time we grow confident in our abilities to lift ourselves up by our own bootstraps that we have to acknowledge you as the supplier of bootmaking material. We need your wisdom for this season. Show us the way through. Empower us to raise up a new generation that knows you as the one indispensable relationship above all others. Amen.
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Jeremiah 35:12-14 “This is what the Lord Almighty, the God of Israel, says: Go and tell the people of Judah and those living in Jerusalem, ‘Will you not learn a lesson and obey my words?’ declares the Lord. ‘Jehonadab son of Rekab ordered his descendants not to drink wine and this command has been kept. To this day they do not drink wine, because they obey their forefather’s command. But I have spoken to you again and again, yet you have not obeyed me.”
Psalm 78:70-72 He chose David his servant and took him from the sheep pens; from tending the sheep he brought him to be the shepherd of his people Jacob, of Israel his inheritance. And David shepherded them with integrity of heart; with skillful hands he led them.
Jeremiah 23:20-22 The anger of the Lord will not turn back until he fully accomplishes the purposes of his heart. In days to come you will understand it clearly. I did not send these prophets, yet they have run with their message; I did not speak to them, yet they have prophesied. But if they had stood in my council, they would have proclaimed my words to my people and would have turned them from their evil ways and from their evil deeds.