On the commemoration of Joshua today, we consider how Joshua was prepared for leadership by Moses. Our devotion comes from Mentoring: A Tool for Ministry.
Does 40 years seem like a very long time to be “leader in waiting”? We might think so, but we don’t know if Joshua chafed at growing into an old man before he could assume leadership. His task as a leader of God’s people would be second in difficulty only to what Moses, his mentor, faced. Moses was called by God to lead the people out of slavery in Egypt, through the Red Sea and the wilderness, to the Promised Land. It would be Joshua’s job to conquer the heathen inhabitants of his people’s inheritance, divide the land between the 12 tribes, and oversee the settling of a nomadic people into a country of farmers and herders.
You could call Joshua the best-prepared leader ever to serve as judge for the Israelites. Moses was up to the task of mentoring Joshua to prepare for the leadership. We see this mentoring again and again in the first five books of the Bible. The fourth to last verse in Deuteronomy records: “And Joshua the son of Nun was full of the spirit of wisdom, for Moses had laid his hands on him. So the people of Israel obeyed him and did as the Lord had commanded Moses” (Deut. 34:9).
Joshua went on to lead the Israelites into Canaan. He won victories with God’s help and lived up to the meaning of his name, “The Lord saves.” Centuries later, this name would be given to the son of Mary who also was the Son of God, the Christ. In modern Hebrew, it is Yeshua; in English, Jesus. He would be a leader greater than the first Joshua, and greater even than Moses. As the angel said, Jesus would “save His people from their sins” (Matt. 1:21).
Devotional reading is adapted from Mentoring: A Tool for Ministry, pages 27–28 © 2001 Henry A. Simon. Published by Concordia Publishing House.
Scripture quotations from the ESV® Bible (The Holy Bible, English Standard Version®), copyright © 2001 by Crossway, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved.
Lord Jesus Christ, Your servant Joshua led the children of Israel through the waters of the Jordan River into a land flowing with milk and honey. As our Joshua, lead us, we pray, through the waters of our Baptism into the promised land of our eternal home, where You live and reign with the Father and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen.
Prayer is from Treasury of Daily Prayer, page 680 © 2008 Concordia Publishing House. All rights reserved.