Joshua the son of Nun was full of the spirit of wisdom, for Moses had laid his hands on him. So the people of Israel obeyed him and did as the Lord had commanded Moses.

Deuteronomy 34: 9

 

It is here that the great story of Moses is drawn to a close. Yet, his ending does not alter in any way the on going course of God’s engagement and involvement in the lives of people. In fact there seems to be an important point in the way that God works in our lives to be recognized from this moment of culmination for the life of Moses. Notice the fact that Moses seems to have been actively engaged in the process of training and of commissioning the successor that God had selected for them.

 

It is my sense of things that when the text speaks of the fact that Moses “laid hands” on Joshua that there is more than one activity in view. Certainly there is some form of formal ceremony of commissioning in which Moses turns over the leadership of the Israelites to Joshua. However, I think that there is also much more. Joshua didn’t just suddenly have all of the knowledge, wisdom and understanding that he needed to undertake this enormous task. He surely had not grown on his own into a man who knew God well and who trusted the Lord completely. Joshua and Moses must have spent a great many hours together in which they shared in the joys and blessings that came from the Lord and in which they traveled together through the hardship and the pain that accompanied their trail.

 

There is a Godly mandate in this process. The Lord directs us to take what we have learned about living within His will and share it with those who will succeed us. Everyone has a legacy to leave behind. Each of us has a story of the ways that God has taken our life and has changed it. These personal accounts of God’s relationship with us are important, for they add tangible flesh to the story that God’s Word depicts. As we live and experience the highs and the lows of life, we need to take others along on that journey. In a bigger sense, this life-long process of relationship is how Moses laid hands on Joshua. This was how Joshua was prepared to be a leader who the Israelites followed along the road that God had laid out for them.

 

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