One of the most difficult things in life is to have to fill the shoes of a predecessor that wasn’t only greatly successful, but was deeply loved as well.
This was the case with Joshua taking Moses’ place.
God, understanding Joshua’s struggle, came to him and encouraged him to be courageous. Thus, a new leader who turned out to be great, too, was born.
Do you find yourself in a similar position as Joshua? Are you a new leader taking over from someone considered an icon or legend in your field or organization?
In studying God’s Word to Joshua, there are a couple of wonderful lessons to glean:
- “As I was with Moses, so I will be with you; I will never leave you nor forsake you (Joshua 1:5b).” As God was with your predecessor and enabled them to achieve great things, so God will be with you and help you achieve great things too, if you put your trust in Him.
- “Be strong and courageous…Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be terrified; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go (Joshua 1:6a,9).” Courage is not the absence of fear, and neither is strength the absence of weakness. In fact, it is when you are weak, that in Christ, you’re strongest (2 Corinthians 12:9-10), and because you’ve admitted this weakness to Him (and to yourself) and surrendered to Him, He will supply you with His own strength and lead you to victory if you let Him. Take up the shield of faith (Ephesians 6:16) and gain strength and courage from it, because it is with faith that the impossible is achieved; whatsoever is impossible with man, is possible with God (Matthew 19:25-26). So do not be terrified; do not be discouraged because God will be with you wherever you go, every step of the way. Faith, after all, is being sure of what you’ve hoped for, and being certain of what you haven’t seen happen or manifest yet (Hebrews 11:1).
- “…Because you will lead these people to inherit the land that I swore to their forefathers to give them” (Joshua 1:6b). The biggest mistake you’ll ever make as a successor is to try to be exactly like your predecessor. Your destinies are different. What success was to your predecessor may be misery to you because your callings are not the same. While the final destination was the Promised Land, Moses was only able to lead the people out of Egypt and into the desert, performing many great wonders and miracles that kept them alive and taught them about the God that had saved them. Joshua, on the other hand, was called to lead them out of the desert and into the Promised Land. It would have been grossly inappropriate if Joshua had tried to be exactly like Moses and tried to redo the things that Moses had done. Joshua’s destiny required him to operate differently and with a very different set of tools; his destiny required him to be a warrior while Moses was called to be a prophet. As Apostle Paul said, “I planted the seed, Apollos watered it, but it was God who made it grow” (1 Corinthians 3:6). Apollos’ destiny would have gone wrong if he attempted to plant like Paul, instead of water as God had called him to. In like manner, discover your calling, and follow the path that God has placed you on. Don’t try to be like anyone else—not even your predecessor.
- “…Be careful to obey all the Law…do not turn from it to the right or to the left, that you may be successful wherever you go. Do not let this Book of Law depart from your mouth; meditate on it day and night, so that you will be careful to do everything written in it. Then you will be prosperous and successful” (Joshua 1:7b-8): As a child of God, the final authority in your life is God’s Word—not any traditional culture, societal norm, or popular belief/opinion. God Himself proved this to be true when He abolished the culture of circumcision of Israel’s males when the New Covenant with Jesus was born, making it clear that Jesus, His Word, trumps all else. God once spoke to His people through angels, but now He does so through the Son, Jesus Christ (Hebrews 1:2), and this same Jesus is God’s Word (John 1:1). And what did the Word, Jesus Christ, say to us? He said that if we love Him, we will obey His commands (John 14:15), which is His Word.
Secondly, remember that everything hangs on love, which extends grace. It is not wise to turn to the right and become over-righteous and legalistic, or turn to the left and become overly liberal and complacent (Ecclesiastes 7:15-18). These two extremes are sin; one makes irrelevant the work of Jesus on the cross by insisting that we are saved by our own works, and therefore insults the power of grace, while the other takes grace for granted and leads one to continue to sin that grace may abide (Romans 6:1-4). This is also what hinders a lot of Christians from having victory over besetting sin (Hebrews 12:1).
Like David, what you’ve been called to do may require you to lay a new foundation, which will mean taking a completely different path from the one your predecessor took. This is okay. There may be no existing manual for it. Just follow what God has laid on your heart, doing things His way, and you will be fine, because as Jesus promised, the Holy Spirit will guide you, teach you all things, and lead you into all truth (John 14:26; 16:13).
About the Editor
Miranda A. Uyeh is the founder and editor of To Be A Person (TBAP), the author of Christian Romance/Suspense fiction, To Die Once: Child of Grace #1, a Mogul Global Ambassador, and a copywriter. She was a one-time shortlisted judge for the Inspy Awards in 2014 in the Contemporary Romance & Romance/Suspense Category.
When Miranda isn’t reviewing books/entertainment or hosting interviews on TBAP, she’s writing, reading for fun or relaxing with a good movie! When she gets bored with the world, she talks to God about it! To learn more about her book, To Die Once, her journey as an author and her other activities, you can follow her personal website. You can also connect with her on Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, and Google+.
*The article, I Am Joshua (Part 1), was first published on To Be A Person (TBAP), and is part of the I Am Series.