Let's eavesdrop on a truth that Paul shares with the Roman church in the middle of the very first century:
"For whatever was previously written was written for our instruction, so that through perseverance and encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope" (Rom. 15:4, MEV).
Do you know what Paul is talking about in this verse? He is talking about the Old Testament! He is remembering the life stories of the heroes and heroines of faith who came before Jesus! He is referring to people like Moses, Abraham, Ruth, Esther and Joshua!
The lives of the ancients were never meant to be glossed over nor are they to be ignored; however, the Holy Spirit intends for every believer to learn a lesson or two from the exciting lives of all of those who walked before us.
Take Joshua for instance ...
Joshua had the awesome and overwhelming responsibility of leading over 2 million people into the promised land. Moses had just died and Joshua was appointed as the new leader of the people of God. What a grumbling, whining, difficult batch of parishioners Joshua inherited!
You think that your job is difficult? You don't like the people that you work with? Take heart ... you could have been given Joshua's lot in life!
In order to arrive at the promised land, Joshua had to cross the Jordan River in the spring of the year when its water was overflowing the banks of the river. Flood season was the very worst time in the natural for anyone to consider fording this awesome body of water. The Jordan was swollen from spring rains and posed a dangerous and daunting task for Joshua as the new and as yet untried leader of this impatient and cantankerous crowd.
I wonder if Joshua pictured babies drowning ... or old people losing their footing ... or watching all of their supplies become hopelessly lost in the current.
"Joshua said to the people, "Consecrate yourselves, for tomorrow the Lord will perform wondrous deeds among you." (Josh. 3:5, MEV).
I guess that I was wrong ... the fatal picture that I accused Joshua of thinking about was apparently not true at all. Joshua pictured a miracle! Even before it happened, Joshua was talking about the wonderful and unexplainable ways of God!
Father ... let the faith of Joshua fall upon me!
Joshua didn't have historic perspective like we do. We know what happens next but Joshua had no inside information as to what events were around the next and intimidating corner.
However ... Joshua did know the character and the nature of His God! Joshua had seen a thing or two in his middle-aged life.
He had seen the Red Sea part and had watched the Egyptian army be completely obliterated. He had seen quail fall down from the heavens and he had observed manna miraculously appear like dew on the morning grass. He had seen the radiance of Moses' face when he came down from the mountain.
Joshua didn't know what would happen next ... but he certainly knew Who would happen next!
As soon as the soles of the feet of the priests hit the water of the Jordan River, the river began to push back and make a way where there seemed to be no way.
The instant that those who carried the ark of the covenant into the river bed, the waters which were flowing rose up in one great heap and allowed the entire nation of Israel to cross on dry ground.
A miracle of epic proportions!
Do you want to know what I have learned from this story?
- A leader must lead the way!
- A leader must declare that a miracle is on its way!
- A leader must remind the people under his or her watch that we serve a God Who takes care of His children.
- A leader must believe when no one else does!
- A leader might possess all of the specific answers that are needful in a certain situation ... but a leader serves the God Who does indeed possess all of the answers and all of the necessary power!
- A leader leads in faith ... in action ... and in declaration.
- A leader leads.
Carol McLeod is an author and popular speaker at women's conferences and retreats, where she teaches the Word of God with great joy and enthusiasm. Carol encourages and empowers women with passionate and practical biblical messages mixed with her own special brand of hope and humor. She has written five books, including No More Ordinary, Holy Estrogen!, The Rooms of a Woman's Heart and Defiant Joy! Her most recent book, Refined: Finding Joy in the Midst of the Fire, was released last August. Her teaching DVD The Rooms of a Woman's Heart won the Telly Award, a prestigious industry award for excellence in religious programming. You can also listen to Carol's "A Jolt of Joy" program daily on the Charisma Podcast Network. Connect with Carol at justjoyministries.com.
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