The Bible is a treasure trove of spiritual insights that can help us in making wise decisions. In fact, one could preach and teach through the majority of the Bible, never mention Jesus or the Gospel, yet still help people make wise decisions. I would say that these types of messages are what many people hear on a typical Sunday morning so the mere prevalence of this fact is a testimony to this truth.
You would probably agree with me that the ultimate aim of God’s word is to point back to Jesus, point toward Jesus, and describe Jesus and His work on the cross. The Bible is not a history book, a science book, or a poetry book. It’s a book about Jesus and His work. There is no debate from me on this subject.
However, the Bible is filled with instruction on how and why people make certain decisions in life, thus bringing glory to God and good to themselves and the people around them.
I enjoy reading about some of the leaders God chose to use and see how decisions they made affected them and the people around them. We can’t take a description of someone’s life and make it a prescription for ours. However, we can glean some principles that I believe God wants us to learn from and apply in our lives so that we may be more fruitful for His kingdom and our good.
The transition from the Pentateuch to the book of Joshua has always fascinated me. There are several transitions that take place at this point in time as the youngest Israelites (ages 20 and younger with the exception of Joshua and Caleb) get ready to settle the promised land. As I compare and contrast this time of transition from Old Israel to New Israel and Moses to Joshua, several things stick out to me:
(1) When God calls a leader, He calls him for a specific purpose(s)
Let’s contrast the callings of Moses and Joshua. Moses was called to be a deliverer. He was called to go into the most powerful country in the known world and essentially “steal” a few million slaves. After escaping Egypt, Moses led the Israelites as nomads for forty years. Moses was clearly called to be a deliverer. The sin of the people forced him to be a babysitter of sorts. However, God equipped him for that calling as well.
Joshua was a fighter. He was one of twelve men sent to spy out the promised land. Ten of the men were frightened. Two, Joshua and Caleb, were faithful. When God finally allowed Israel to cross over into the land, they were led by Joshua.
Joshua was called to be a fighter and conqueror. Being a fighter is much different than being a deliverer. God used Moses for a very specific season and He used Joshua for a very specific season. No doubt they had very different skill sets and personalities. But they also had very different callings from God. They had very different, but specific purposes.
(2) Being grounded in God’s Word is essential for “success”
What I’m defining as “success” is simply being faithful to God’s specific calling in your life. Your calling may be to pastor a church. It may be teach at a college or seminary. It may be to fold laundry every week. It may be to clean people’s houses. It may be to help people file their taxes. It might be exhilaration and exciting and it may be boring and monotonous. Additionally, your calling will change throughout your life and you will go through seasons where God requires different aspects of faithfulness.
In the book of Joshua, he receives the law and is instructed to meditate on it day and night. The story then records how he and the Israelites start to conquer the land.
Let’s not underestimate Joshua’s faithfulness to God’s word and his victories in battle. We will face “battles” all of our lives. When we face them we will either be filled with God’s word or we won’t. Those battles will be much easier to fight (even if God doesn’t give us immediate victory) if we are grounded in His word.
(3) The Faithfulness of God should motivate us to be faithful to him
Finally, when we see the faithfulness of God in our lives, despite our sin and failings, we should be motivated to be faithful to Him. He has given us a new heart in Christ. We have the possibility of loving him with our entire heart and mind. Reflecting on the faithfulness of God should lead us to be faithful to Him and the callings he has placed in our lives at the present moment.
Whatever season you are in today, know that is your calling for today. Be faithful to that calling, be faithful to today, and be faithful to your God who is faithful to you.