I'm currently reading through the Bible; I just wrapped up Deuteronomy and embarked upon Joshua's journey into the Promised Land with the children of Israel. There have been numerous themes, but the most profound lesson thus far is the one I'm currently mulling over.
Before crossing over the Jordan, Moses commissioned his predecessor Joshua to take over as Israel's Prophet and Leader. Over and over again, in the chapters leading up to Joshua's commission, Moses warns Joshua that the people would disobey the Lord once settled in the Promised Land. The task loomed heavily before him as he walked up to Moses, in front of all the people of Israel, on the fateful day of his commission:
Then Moses went out and spoke these words to all Israel: “I am now a hundred and twenty years old and I am no longer able to lead you. The LORD has said to me, ‘You shall not cross the Jordan.’ The LORD your God himself will cross over ahead of you. He will destroy these nations before you, and you will take possession of their land. Joshua also will cross over ahead of you, as the LORD said... Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the LORD your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you.”
Then Moses summoned Joshua and said to him in the presence of all Israel, “Be strong and courageous, for you must go with this people into the land that the LORD swore to their ancestors to give them, and you must divide it among them as their inheritance. The LORD himself goes before you and will be with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged.”
Sisters, I tell you, we've been commissioned with the mighty, imposing task of leading a great multitude of stiff-necked children as well! That's parenting... Can I get an Amen? And so Joshua's commission has spoken directly to my own shepherding heart. Here are my main take-aways:
1) God warns us that our children will be disobedient.
Folly is bound up in the heart of a child (Proverbs 22:15)
All have sinned and fallen short of God's glory (Romans 3:23)
2) He promises to those He commissions that He will go ahead of us and never forsake us.
Fear not, for I am with you; Be not dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you, Yes, I will help you, I will uphold you with My righteous right hand. (Isaiah 41:10)
Do not be afraid, for I am with you; I will bring your children from the east and gather you from the west. (Isaiah 43:5)
3) Because of the above promise we can be strong and courageous.
I can do all things through Him who strengthens me. (Philippians 4:13)
With God all things are possible. (Matthew 19:26)
We've been commissioned by the Lord Himself to train up our stiff-necked, folly filled, disobedient and willful quivers full of testosterone charged arrows! But He has not sent us out to do this alone. He is with us, going before us, leading and instructing us with His Spirit and His Word. He is near and encouraging us, supporting and commanding us to remain strong and courageous as we lead this mighty people we've been entrusted with. And so let us pray together:
Give (us) the wisdom and knowledge to lead them properly, for who could possibly govern this great people of yours?"
(2 Chronicles 1:10)