Have you noticed how much of life is a rollercoaster? Seems like we go in cycles. We climb the mountain, one step at a time, we peak, then we have some event that causes us to take several steps backwards. Sometimes, it’s simply a quick stumble. Sometimes, it’s a catapult up, followed by a nosedive down. Either way, there’s something about the cycles of life.
Life is not lived on a mountaintop circumstantially – I think that ended when sin entered the world. But as I’m going through the Old Testament, the cycle of obedience to disobedience is something I desperately want to avoid. As I look at the life and leadership of Moses and then Joshua, I can’t help but want to learn. They stand in stark contrast to so many of the kings and their subsequent leaders (sometimes their own sons) who had a season of great obedience and blessing… only to be followed by a season of disobedience and pain.
What can we learn for ourselves?
What can we learn as we think about our own sons and daughters?
Here are 3 things that stood out to me as I looked at Moses and Joshua:
- Shadows are important.
If you follow the journey of the Israelites through the wilderness, you’ll notice that Joshua was like a shadow to Moses. He was right there in Moses’ space. He saw things firsthand. He had to have had so many conversations with Moses as Moses led the people through so much adversity. Joshua wasn’t just brought in as a convenient replacement when God announced Moses’ retirement (aka death); he had been exposed over and over again to God’s faithfulness and the adversity of disobedience.
- Humility is irreplaceable.
As God moved and accomplished His purposes through Moses, Moses showed a wide variety of emotions. Sure, he was frustrated and desperate on many occasions, but He could definitely be characterized as a humble man, as Numbers 12:3 affirms. “Now the man Moses was very humble, more than any man who was on the face of the earth.” He kept coming to the Lord. He kept asking for God’s direction and favor. And even when he learned that he wouldn’t go to the Promised Land, he blessed Joshua.
- Direct connect is an individual decision.
Moses modeled the most intimate of relationships with God. That’s huge. But for someone to watch someone else pursue God is not enough. Even from the very beginning, we see that Joshua had his own connection with the Lord. Check out Exodus 33:11…
Thus the Lord used to speak to Moses face to face, just as a man speaks to his friend. When Moses returned to the camp, his servant Joshua, the son of Nun, a young man, would not depart from the tent.
What does this mean for us? It means that if you’re in a position to influence the next generation, I encourage you to ask yourself:
- What’s keeping me from bringing younger leaders into my circle to live and model Christ to?
- If someone were to follow me, where would they see humility? Where would they see pride?
- Do those closest to me see something in my pursuit of God worth imitating?
If you’re part of the next generation, I encourage you to ask yourself:
- Who is a person of obedience and faithfulness that I need to seek out to learn from and be in their space?
- How am I living out humility in my life? Where is pride my danger?
- What is one thing I can do to make sure my faith is my own?
May we each learn from Scripture in such a way that we follow the path of obedience and have generations of faithfulness.