“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; now therefore arise, cross this Jordan, you and all this people, to the land which I am giving to them, to the sons of Israel.” – Joshua 1:1-2
Last week I turned a corner. It was the type of corner that I inevitably knew was part of my journey. And yet, it still came upon me rather unsuspectingly. I turned a corner that made it possible for me to see a different horizon. I turned a corner that cost me levels of relationship, access to resources and above all the voice I had become tethered to over the years.
This past Sunday I preached “The king Is Dead; Long Live the KING!”
Joshua was well into a turn of his life when these words were penned to record a significant and seminal moment. He had been developed my Moses. He learned what he knew about God because of the frequency and the unusual proximity he was privileged to have with Moses.
In this abrupt opening – unlike any other in the entire Cannon of Scripture – we are immediately immersed into the most intimate moment a creature may experience with its Creator. This particular moment reflected upon the life and service of God’s treasured servant Moses – who God takes the initiative to announce is now dead. A moment that affirms against any other hope, that those strong, taunt fingers – that once gripped upon Joshua’s forearm – distributing the weight of a man who carried a nation; were now clinched tightly in upon themselves.
No other successor of any leader – in all of human history – has such an experience ever been recorded for the sake of eternity. The moment when a son, a disciple, an apprentice and a friend enters that sacred space of mourning; yearning for the now eternal absence of a father’s voice. The voice he once longed to hear affirm his youthful choices. The voice that filled a smile with a cheeky grin – all the while – inviting Joshua to come closer and grow through him.
Adonai takes special care to usher in the relationship His newly chosen servant will hold with Him. We should not miss an important advancement embedded in these two verses. God waits to speak to Joshua because it is only after Moses’ voice is silent can Joshua embrace this new identity with his Creator.
Moses is silent. He must be. It is a pre-requisite to hear the announcement. The announcement cannot be made – nor heard – until there is silence. An all encompassing stillness. A silence that created the very vacuum that was once robust with the gravitas of a larger-than-life figure.
Every journey inherently holds turns. Sometimes those turns allow one to remain in the line-of-sight of key fellow journeyman. Sometimes those turns lead to dead stops: with no egress possible. These turns are designed to frustrate. They are divinely formed to invite despair; so that repentance may lead one to new life.
Then there are those turns which promote forward movement, but due to the sharpness of the corners, others who once walked slightly ahead or behind, are no longer visible. No longer present to bring direction or a sense of confidence. Last week was one of those turns for me.
Because of this corner, I preached out of a liberation, a pain and a never before beheld glory.
God uses Joshua as an object lesson to teach us what it means to be one of Jesus’ sheepfold. Joshua teaches us – from this initial intimate moment – that the corner we must all negotiate is one where all other voices fall silent to the voice of Christ, through Holy Spirit’s presence, actively speaking into our minds and hearts.
Like Moses, every leader has a shelf-life in the economy of God’s providence to serve God’s people. We, who are chosen and anointed to build up the Church are expected to always strive to equip every one of God’s sheep so that they develop the ability to discern His voice above all others.
We should equip them to anticipate and then lean into their divinely ordained corners as they are called to navigate life as mature[ing] Christians. To neglect this responsibility is to violate the present purpose of God’s gift – most high – Holy Spirit. May we hear what the Spirit is saying to the Church today and turn a corner for Gods will to be done before it’s too late.
Blessings; myriad & mighty be realized in your life today as you listen for His voice.
Reverend A. David Griffin, M.Div., Establishing apostle / teacher