As part of the vanguard of millennials, I’ve realized that we’re a generation on the rise. We’re a generation that after much delay is finding it’s feet. Israel went through a similar transition after their leader Moses passed away a new generation stepped up to the plate.
This is my command—be strong and courageous! Do not be afraid or discouraged. For the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.” Joshua 1:9 (NLT)
Here we have God encouraging a new young (compared to moses) leader. And lets remember who Joshua is leading. These are not gentle sheep, God himself calls them a stiff-necked people (Ex 32:9). A strong leader is required for a strong willed people. That’s what God is doing here building up a strong leader.
Joshua commands the people to get ready to cross the Jordan, and the people respond with:
16 They answered Joshua, “We will do whatever you command us, and we will go wherever you send us. 17 We will obey you just as we obeyed Moses. And may the Lord your God be with you as he was with Moses. 18 Anyone who rebels against your orders and does not obey your words and everything you command will be put to death. So be strong and courageous!” Joshua 1:16-18 (NLT)
Isn’t it interesting that even the people of Israel tell Joshua to be strong and courageous. There’s always a narrative with each generation that must be overcome. Will we break out and define ourselves or be defined?
Joshua goes on to carry out everything God asks him to do. He conquers Jericho, Ai and the rest of Canaan. And towards the end of Joshua’s life we get this moment.
22 Joshua said, “Open the mouth of the cave and bring those five kings out to me.” 23 So they brought the five kings out of the cave—the kings of Jerusalem, Hebron, Jarmuth, Lachish and Eglon. 24 When they had brought these kings to Joshua, he summoned all the men of Israel and said to the army commanders who had come with him, “Come here and put your feet on the necks of these kings.” So they came forward and placed their feet on their necks.
25 Joshua said to them, “Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged. Be strong and courageous. This is what the Lord will do to all the enemies you are going to fight.” Joshua 10:22-25
Joshua passed on the blessing/encouragement that he received. He raised up the next generation rather than holding them back or withholding from them. We need more strong leaders. And over the next decades we have an opportunity to make up for lost time. We may have been slow to start but we can still finish strong. Take time today (cause tomorrow isn’t promised) to learn from the older generations. Then take time to pass it on.