Deuteronomy 34 and Joshua 1 is a fascinating insight into a major transition in Israel’s history from Moses prophetic ministry to Joshua’s conqueror ministry. The contrast between Moses and Joshua is massively intriguing to say the least. They passed through each other’s lives for a significant period of time and yet had two very different callings.
Moses was called to be a Deliverer of God’s people out of the bondage of Egypt. A deliverer gives birth to a new move of God’s Spirit, rescues, preserves and positions a remnant for God’s sovereign purposes in the earth. Moses was foremost a prophet who knew God face to face and led Israel through 40 years of pruning, preparation and miraculous provision. God gave Moses a vision of the Promised Land but didn’t let him enter into it.
A vision isn’t always possessed by the person who carries it. Abraham carried God’s vision for a new land and a new people but it was his offspring that actually possessed and lived in the reality of the vision. Sometimes we think that because we can see something, that we are the one’s entrusted with the fulfilment of the vision. Not always so.
Moses saw the Promised Land but Joshua entered it. Moses passed the baton of leadership and faith to the Joshua generation. Even though Moses’ energy and spirit was not waning in any way, God was calling him home and required him to pass the baton to the next generation.
Joshua was called to be a Conqueror. Conqueror’s defeat and subdue their enemies. They gain ground and overcome obstacles and prevail over their adversaries. Joshua inherited a nation and led them into the Promised Land of God’s purpose and promise for them. However, Joshua grew mightily in his anointing and authority under the ministry of Moses. After Moses would leave the tent of meeting, Joshua would linger and soak in the presence of God. When Moses prayed, Joshua would fight on his behalf because God built Joshua for combat. Moses knew God face to face and Joshua benefited from Moses relationship with God. However, there came a time for Joshua to step out of Moses shadow and lead Israel into God’s promises for them. God has given us a great example of generational leadership in Moses and Joshua.
Someone has said that Christianity is only one generation away from extinction. For 2,000 years Christianity has continued because each generation has taken responsibility to train and tell the coming generation of the greatness of God, often at remarkable cost.
King David said, ‘One generation shall commend your works to another generation, and shall declare your mighty acts.’ (Ps 145:4)
Each generation has to take responsibility to equip, empower, train and tell the generation coming through of what God has done and what He’s wanting to do today. Sadly, Joshua didn’t follow the pattern shown to him through his mentor Moses and did not raise up a successor after him to carry on the legacy of God’s promises and God’s purposes. It says in Judges 2:10 ‘There arose another generation after them who did not know the Lord or the work that he had done for Israel.’
This tragedy occurs when the current generation becomes happy with what they have achieved and falls into a spirit of complacency about the generation to come. God has never called any of us to retire in our calling but to re-fire the next generation to carry the anointing of God’s Spirit to hearts who desperately need to hear and respond to the Gospel message.
Who are you passing the baton to? Just like a relay runner in a 4x100m race needs to run their leg well and pass the baton onto the next runner in order for the team to complete the race, You and I need to identify who God has called us to mentor and raise up in order to pass the baton on, so that God’s kingdom can continue to move forward in every successive generation.