December 4, 2012 by Chris French
Moses has just died and Joshua is about to undertake something that not even Moses did: lead Israel into the heavily fortified Promised Land. Joshua’s new at this whole leadership thing, and it’s about to be very important that the people follow his commands to the letter or things will go…poorly for everyone, poorly as in mass genocide of the entire race. Joshua must be scared that Israel won’t follow him like they did his impressive predecessor Moses. There were even times when the great leader Moses couldn’t corral this stubborn, bitter nation. Certainly Joshua’s status as the new guy will hurt his influence, right? God tells Joshua that he doesn’t have to worry about this. God is going to exalt Joshua. He’s not going to have to worry about the people not following. By the time God is done there’s not going to be a doubt in anyone’s mind that God is with Joshua just like He was with Moses.
God exalting Moses is what made his shoes so tough to fill. There wasn’t anything special about Moses. I’m not being hard on him. It’s what he said about himself (Exodus 4). The power wasn’t with Moses. He wasn’t a great speaker with the power to move men’s hearts into action, he wasn’t a physical giant with the stature to make men follow him into battle, he wasn’t particularly charismatic, handsome, wealthy, smart or popular. Moses was none of the things that we usually acquaint with exaltation. What he was, was God’s.
I think it’s interesting that Joshua didn’t have to exalt himself. We spend a lot of time trying to do that, don’t we? We go in debt to pay for a nice car so people will think higher of us. You keep up with the current fashion trends so people won’t think you’re that weird girl wearing last summer’s shoes. I point out the nice things I do so people will think better of me. I spend a lot of time trying to exalt myself. God said He was going to take care of that for Joshua, but He also promised He’d take care of that for you too! In Matthew 23.12 Jesus says that whoever tries to exalt himself will fail miserably, but that God will exalt the person who is humble. It’s interesting that Joshua’s exaltation was dependant on his actions just as ours is. He had to follow God’s commands or he would be humbled. Humility isn’t a specific set of actions. It’s a mindset. A worldview. When you start thinking of other people as more important than yourself you’ve arrived at humility. When you begin to realize that you can’t do a single thing on your own and that you are dependant on God like a beggar is dependant on others you’ve reached humility. Let God lift you up. He’s better at it than you.