Today is the 38th day that we have been counting the omer.
As we moved through the end of Deuteronomy, we found that God designated a new leader to lead the Israelites across the Jordan River and to bring them to possess the land that God had promised to their forefathers. That leader was none other than Joshua, the son of Nun. God had used Moses to deliver the Torah and now He commissioned Joshua to take the land.
It took two different leaders to get the job completed. Moses was the teacher; Joshua was the commander of troops. Moses had learned as he went. He argued with God from time to time. He stood in the gap between God and the Israelites particularly when God was ready to destroy the nation and start all over. He told God not to order the people to go forward if He, God, was not going with them. He was loyal and compassionate toward the people. He put up with the grumbling and complaining and became frustrated but instead of giving up, he treated them much as a father would treat children – sometimes being the disciplinarian and sometimes showing mercy and giving grace. At times, he saw them as children and at other times, he saw them as adults. His last instructions to them reflected his understanding that he could tell them the right way to conduct themselves until his last breath, but they would still choose to do their own thing. His personality was critical to bring Israel from the mindset of slaves to a mindset of freedmen.
But his successor had a different personality and mindset. As a military commander, he realized that he had to accomplish his mission to take this multitude from Point A to Point B while at the same time securing all of Points C, D and E. His thought processes were not so much those of a father encouraging his children to grow up as they were of a commander who knew what had to be done to reach the objective. I’m not sure where he learned combat maneuvers, but he was gifted from the first battle while Moses was still in charge, to the last battle in the Promised Land. The whole book of Joshua has a different feel. It was still the same God, but He was working through different personalities.
Both these men were taken by God from lowly beginnings. Moses was a shepherd on the back side of the desert in Midian when God called to him from the burning bush. He had to be poked, prodded and then built up to start the long trek of leading the children of Israel. We don’t see such an obvious uncertainty in Joshua, but if we look carefully, we find that God told Joshua three times and Moses told Joshua once to “Be strong, be bold; for you will cause this people to inherit the land I swore to their fathers I would give them. Only be strong and very bold in taking care to follow all the Torah which Moses my servant ordered you to follow…Haven’t I ordered you, ‘Be strong, be bold’? So don’t be afraid or downhearted, because Yehovah your God is with you wherever you go.” (Joshua 1:6-9) Both men were uncertain that they were actually the ones who were called to do the work. They had to be reassured that they could do what God had called them to do. And they had to be reassured that God would be with them. But they chose to ask, listen, and follow the word of Yehovah. As a result, they were victorious.
The truth is, no matter the personality, victory is dependent upon courage or faith in God and obedience to His teachings. Our personalities are different, and God has called each of us to different pieces of His mission to expand His Kingdom. But there is one truth that does not change despite our differing personalities. We must know that the only way we can accomplish the task is by building up our faith in God and staying obedient to His teachings. The only way we can keep our faith and stay obedient is by intentionally choosing Him, His word, and developing intimacy daily with the Almighty.
May God help us to intentionally choose Him every minute of the day!
May 19, 2020