January 15, 2012
The following blog was written by our good friend Joy Haines.
Grace and peace, Patty and Ray
Every day we make decisions based on life experiences, past and present, good or bad. We also learn behavior patterns, attitudes, and beliefs, by observing the people in our lives. Not all of them provide us with good examples to follow, but those who do often give us the hope we need to get through the trials of life. I’d like you to consider an example of how the hopes of one person were eventually fulfilled, largely because of what he observed and learned through his relationship with another person. I’d like you to consider the Biblical story of Moses and Joshua.
In the Book of Exodus, we read how the Israelites, through the providence of God and the leadership of Moses, had escaped a long period of captivity in Egypt. They then spent 40 years wandering in the wilderness before they finally were ready to enter the promised land. During those years they were led by Moses, who would see the promised land from a distance, but would not live to enter it. Knowing that his death was immanent, Moses obeyed God’s direction to commission Joshua to lead the Israelites in the conquest of the promised land.
Joshua, under God’s direction, was a very effective and successful leader. While we have very little information about Joshua during the years in the wilderness, we do know that he was a “helper” to Moses. We can also safely assume that he was a much younger man than Moses, who served as a role model and mentor for him. Therefore, Joshua was no doubt watching and learning about leadership from Moses. Joshua must have noticed that Moses never wavered from his faith in God. In the midst of the whining and complaining of the Israelites during those years, Moses never said “oh no, we are doomed”. He walked in faith by the God he knew as his provider. Because of his faith his hope for a place where the Israelites could live in freedom was fulfilled.
The time came, after the 40 years in the wilderness, that Moses died and Joshua was given the responsibility of leading the Israelites into the promised land and organizing them as a new nation. The first problem he faced was the crossing of an obstacle – the Jordan River. Possibly Joshua remembered that the Israelites had faced another obstacle – the Red Sea – on their way out of Egypt 40 years before. He might have remembered how Moses had faith that God would provide a way out. He might have remembered how Moses’ faith was justified, as God miraculously parted the waters and gave them a dry path to the other side. Now it was time for Joshua to exercise his faith – which he did. And his faith was justified as God performed another miracle, parting the waters of the Jordan river to provide a dry path into the promised land. Joshua’s faith in God assured that his hope of being an effective leader would be fulfilled.
When Moses led the people out of Egypt, through the wilderness, and to the Jordan River, Joshua was watching him. What Joshua saw in Moses was his faith, his strength, and his character. He saw a devotion to the one and only true God. He saw that faith justified, as God provided the Ten Commandments, manna from heaven, the water from the rock. Joshua was inspired by Moses’ faith based words and actions. As a result of all those years of observing and learning from Moses how to be an effective leader, God chose him to be the new leader of the Israelites. Both Moses and Joshua were inspired and chosen by God to be leaders. They both said “yes” to God. Each did their part in teaching and learning about God-inspired leadership.
So what does all this have to do with us today? It might inspire us to ask some questions. For example – Who have you been watching and learning from to help you decide how to live your life? Who in your past has made a difference in the way you now live your life? Who has given you the ability to see the hope that God offers? Then ask, who might be watching you? How can you be a good role model for those who might be watching you? There are probably a good number of people who have affected your life. And there are no doubt those whose lives you have been and are now affecting. As you think of those people, past and present, I ask that you take time to thank and praise God for placing them in your life. And for placing you in their lives.
Thanks for your attention. We look forward to hearing your comments about our web-site. We also invite you to send us stories of your experiences and observations of present hopes and hope fulfilled, so we can spread them around the world via this web-site. This is one way we can all join together to help keep hope alive.