Joshua 1:1-5 – Jeff Lynn
As we search for the next pastor to lead this church, we are in a time of transition. The early chapters of Joshua are a series about what you are to do during this waiting period.
We may think it means stand idly by until the day comes when a new leader is chosen. But that is not what we should do. Instead, we need to position ourselves spiritually, relationally, and in every aspect of ourselves to receive this next pastor and live the life Christ wants for us fully as a church family.
For example, wouldn’t it be great if the next pastor arrives and sees a church already prepared for its new season? Joshua shows us what that can look like.
Moses, the leader God raised to bring His people out of bondage in Egypt, is no longer allowed to go to the Promised Land. After 40 years of wandering the desert and Moses’s death, God uses Joshua to continue the mission.
God raises a new leader with a different skill set to lead.
“Now it came about after the death of Moses the servant of the Lord, that the Lord spoke to Joshua the son of Nun, Moses’ servant, saying, ‘Moses My servant is dead; so now arise, cross this Jordan, you and all this people, to the land which I am giving to them, to the sons of Israel. Every place on which the sole of your foot steps, I have given it to you, just as I spoke to Moses. From the wilderness and this Lebanon, even as far as the great river, the river Euphrates, all the land of the Hittites, and as far as the Great Sea toward the setting of the sun will be your territory. No one will be able to oppose you all the days of your life. Just as I have been with Moses, I will be with you; I will not desert you nor abandon you…’
“Then Joshua commanded the officers of the people, saying, ‘Pass through the midst of the camp and command the people, saying, ‘Prepare provisions for yourselves, for within three days you are going to cross this Jordan, to go in to take possession of the land which the Lord your God is giving you, to possess it.’” – Joshua 1:1-5, 10-11 [NASB]
God’s people prepare themselves to cross over into this new frontier, much like what we are going through today. It’s going to be exhilarating and exciting.
But again, I do believe there are things you can do during this transition period.
There may be some of you who’ve been here a long time. You’ve seen some pastor transitions, or you may have been a part of other churches. Still, each one is different, and each transition offers a new beginning filled with opportunities God has planned for this church and community.
God is doing great things, even before the arrival of your new pastor.
Going Through the Motions
Maybe you’ve been a follower of Christ, but you’ve lost your passion for Him. You are going through the motions, but something is missing from your spiritual life and walk of faith. It’s been a long time since you’ve been excited about what God is doing.
It’s usually because we are “thinking Christian,” or everything is automated. We forget to see each day as a new adventure and a new opportunity for God to impact our world and the lives around us. When we go through the motions, we miss out on what God has planned.
This could be a new frontier for you as a whole— a new beginning.
You’re only going to be fulfilled when you are fulfilling the purpose you were designed for, and that is to know, serve, and worship your creator.
God is stirring you up something new and exhilarating. It may be a call to ministry, a call to missions, or a way you can impact others in your daily life.
I believe that this is a new and exciting season for Tabernacle. In this new territory, you’re going to continue to experience life to the fullest for the Kingdom of Heaven.
The question we need to answer in this season is: Now what?
How do we prepare? What should we do? What should we pray for?
Can you imagine what it must have been like to take over the reins of leadership from Moses? To this day, Moses is considered one of the most outstanding leaders in all of history. First, imagine someone getting nervous stepping into someone’s shoes. Now picture it being Moses’.
Moses went before Pharaoh and demanded he let God’s people go. God used him to initiate the ten plagues in Egypt, part the Red Sea, and institute all the miracles we saw throughout the wilderness. God gave Moses the Ten Commandments and the entire law for the people of Israel.
And now here is Joshua leading God’s people into the land of promise.
God tells Joshua to be strong and courageous. The Lord continues to repeat these phrases to Joshua. I think Joshua may have tended to lack courage. I think he may have been a little intimidated. But Good reassures him. In our lives, we may face uncertainty, but God gives us the strength and courage we need to thrive under His will.
Courageous leadership has three traits:
Amid all of the things you want for your new pastor, we should pray for three critical things for courageous leadership.
- Led by the Spirit
In Deuteronomy 30, we learn that Joshua was full of wisdom. The Spirit empowered his wisdom. This was a special anointing and an endowment.
If they confess Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior and have been baptized, all believers have this through the Holy Spirit. You have been sealed forever. Everybody has the Holy Spirit, but not everybody is led by the Spirit of wisdom.
The Spirit of Wisdom is knowledge, experience, intelligence, insight, and judgment, which can only come from being continually filled by the Spirit, as the Apostle Paul writes in Ephesians.
Please pray for your new pastor— that he would be courageous as the Spirit of the Lord is leading him.
- A Student of the Word
God tells Joshua to be strong and courageous once more and emphasizes the importance of following the Word and what he has learned under Moses. He tells Joshua that the Word shall never depart from him.
If you look at the primary functions of a pastor or an elder in scripture, they are to feed and lead. It’s difficult to feed people consistently if you’re not growing through the word of God yourself.
You’d be surprised how many pastors confess that they don’t open the word of God unless it is in their study to study for a sermon. But some of my greatest AHA moments had come when I was not studying for a sermon. Instead, it was by a daily rhythm of Bible intake.
- Have the Support of the People
Joshua had the support of the people. In verses 16-18, we witness it when God’s people tell him that they will do whatever he commands, go wherever he sends them, no matter what, they will obey him just like they did for Moses.
Having been a pastor for twenty-five years, I am fully aware of what that means. There may be some disagreements and personality conflicts, but the Bible is clear that you are to support your pastor and his leadership.
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As you enter this new season, pray for the person who will become your pastor. Pray that God speaks to us and guides us. And pray that God strengthens your new pastor through these courageous leadership traits and more as he shepherds this great church.