Once upon a time there was a man who was called into a meeting with his boss and mentor. They had been friends for years with a solid relationship of leader and follower, teacher and learner, commander and good soldier. The hero of our story liked, even loved, his boss – they had been through a lot together. Now this mysterious meeting. What could be happening?
The news hit our man like a ton of bricks… his friend, his boss, his leader and mentor was dying and very soon.
The next news hit him like a second ton of bricks, “God has told me that He wants you to take over and be the boss.” It must have been a heart-stopping, head-exploding kind of moment.
“Me? The boss? I’ve never been the boss – you’ve always been the boss. I was happy as your right-hand man. I never wanted your job. You did the leading. You took the heat. I just did what I was told and got on with it. My responsibility ended when I went home at night. Now, you want me to take over your position of worry, stress, resistance, and accountability? I don’t think I can do it.”
Can you put yourself in our hero’s shoes? What would you do? What would you need?
The above scenario is exactly what happened to Joshua. He had served his friend, Moses, for almost 40 years. All through Israel’s wilderness experience Joshua had been the “right hand man.” Moses told him that he was about to die and that he was going to have to take over the leadership of millions of his fellow Jews. Can’t you just hear Joshua’s exclamation, “Who, me?!”
God knew Joshua would face a number of unknowns. There would be stiff opposition to Israel capturing the land that God had promised. There would be danger. The people would even grumble about his leadership as they had Moses’. Yet, in spite of all that, Moses had a message for him, a message directly from God Himself. God told Moses to give Joshua a charge. That charge jolted Joshua into the action of strong leadership. It is a message to each of us.
“But charge Joshua and encourage him and strengthen him…” Deuteronomy 3:28
Then Moses called to Joshua and said to him in the sight of all Israel, “Be strong and courageous, for you shall go with this people into the land which the Lord has sworn to their fathers to give them, and you shall give it to them as an inheritance. “The Lord is the one who goes ahead of you; He will be with you. He will not fail you or forsake you. Do not fear or be dismayed.” Deuteronomy 31:7–8
God wants to encourage us as we go about our business. The encouragement He whispers into our hearts is, “Be strong, take courage and don’t despair, I’m right here.”
The Bible calls this “encouragement.” We are blessed. We are indeed encouraged. Like Joshua, who went on to be a great leader of his people, we’re strengthened. Isn’t that great? Wow! What a jolt to get up every morning knowing God is right there to give me strength and courage to face whatever comes my way!
Now stop and look past our hero, Joshua. Look at the smiling face of a dying Moses. Look at the blessing God gave him in allowing him to pass on the Lord’s strengthening and encouragement to his friend Joshua.
I’ve been thinking. Do we do that? Are we going through our lives looking for others to strengthen and encourage? It seems to be a pattern God desires and even commands.
“… and let us consider how to stimulate one another to love and good deeds, not forsaking our own assembling together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another; and all the more as you see the day drawing near.” Hebrews 10:24–25
Therefore encourage one another and build up one another, just as you also are doing. 1 Thessalonians 5:11
“… that is, that I may be encouraged together with you while among you, each of us by the other’s faith, both yours and mine.” Romans 1:12
God’s plan is such a marvel. He uses our own tests and trials to give us strength and courage. Then, He uses us, even in the midst of those tests and trials to “give strength and courage” to others. He doesn’t want us to wait to encourage others. The Lord desires for us to be helping others during the same period He is helping us. That is why Satan would love for those of us who are struggling to just “hole up,” stay in some cave somewhere and never spend any time in fellowship with others. The devil does not want us to go to church, small groups, or get any kind of encouragement. He does not want us to be strengthened, nor does he want us to encourage others. If we do none of these things, the Devil wins another battle.
“These things I have spoken to you, so that in Me you may have peace. In the world you have tribulation, but take courage; I have overcome the world.” John 16:33
Thank God for His strength. Thank God for His provision of courage. Thank God we never have to despair. If we listen closely we can hear Him whispering into our hearts, “My child, be strong, be courageous, do not despair. I’m right here.”
Our response should be, “Thank you Lord. Thank you so much for your strength and encouragement. Now, point me to someone I can strengthen and encourage… I’ll give him a jolt for you.”
Think about it…