The book of Joshua opens with God announcing the death of Moses. The beginning of the first chapter reads like this, “The Lord spoke to Joshua son of Nun, Moses’ assistant. He said, Moses my servant is dead. Therefore, the time has come for you to lead these people, the Israelites, across the Jordan River into the land I am giving them. I promise you what I promised Moses; ‘Wherever you set your foot, you will be on land I have given you-from the Negev wilderness in the south to the Lebanon mountains in the north, from the Euphrates River in the east, to the Mediterranean Sea in the west, including all the land of the Hittites.’No one will be able to stand against you as long as you live. For I will be with you as I was with Moses. I will not fail you or abandon you.” (NLT)
For many years, Joshua served as Moses’ assistant. He was used to carrying out directions given to him by God through Moses. However, a new time had come for Joshua. All of a sudden, he was no longer receiving instructions from God through an individual; he was receiving instructions directly from God Himself. A change had taken place in the life of Joshua: Moses was dead. When Moses died, so did a whole way life. To put it another way, under the leadership of Moses, Joshua’s perception of life, including that of his personal identity had been specific to his life in that context. He was used to a particular way of living and carrying out tasks as “Moses’ assistant”.
However, the death of Moses brought about a new definition of life for Joshua, a new reality of personal identity, of purpose, even ability and capacity. God created Joshua to lead. It was part of his DNA, included in his life mission, yet it was only in light of the death of Moses that he was fully able to step into who he was, toward the fulfillment of the plan of God had for him. While I am sure there was a natural period of mourning for Moses, for what life had been under his leadership, there also certainly came a time when Joshua had to move beyond mourning over what was in his past, to embrace what now defined his present. Joshua did not receive the gift of leadership because Moses died; he had always possessed it. The only difference was, the circumstances of his life now presented the opportunity where he could fully step into that leadership.
Many times, when we experience a serious life change, there is the tendency to stay in a place of mourning, looking back at what life was, rather than seeing forward to what life can become, grieving over who we were, instead of celebrating the individual we are becoming. The plan God has for our lives does not change, even when the circumstances of our lives do. God knows the details of our lives from beginning to end. And the events of our lives, no matter how tumultuous they may be, do not overwhelm or confuse Him. It is God who created you and me. He alone established your purpose and mine. We don’t know everything, but we serve a God who does.
What has died in your life? What is God trying to reveal to you about who you are as a result? When we are forced into a new definition of life as a result of some major life event like separation or divorce, there also comes the opportunity for a deeper realization of identity, of life purpose. You may only know yourself based on your ideal of who you were in the past. Nonetheless, take some time this week to re-consider your potential in life, who you are as well as who you can become. What new positive, life-filled beliefs can you embrace about yourself, your abilities and what you can accomplish presently that you may not have previously considered?
I am facing divorce. Though this life experience has not been completely easy for me, there are realizations I have come to that continue to change my life. I like to declare, “I can because I am”. I can do all that God has put in my heart, because I am completely the individual He has created me to be. I am beautiful. I am capable. I am talented. I am loved by God. And I am more than able to experience the fullness of His plan for my life because He has wired me for success.
Do something else this week: take some time to celebrate who you are as well as who you are becoming. You are a beautiful, capable, intelligent woman. That is God’s declaration about you, to you. You are loved exceedingly by God. His plans for you are great, and absolutely no life circumstance can change that.
This week’s readings:
- Joshua chapters 1-5
- Jeremiah 29:11