Tuesday, January 01, 2008

Getting Ready for Moses in 2008

“Just as I was with Moses, so I will be with you.” (Joshua 1:5b)

A lazy start to the New Year. Staying up late to welcome 2008 meant sleeping later than usual. Marnie warmed-up a tray of Mrs. Schubert’s cinnamon rolls – like having a Cinnabon right in your own house. Seems like the fragrance of breakfast had barely dissipated before we were off to my in-laws for a family dinner that included black-eyed peas and collard greens (is that a Southern thing?). Throw in some time in front of a few bowl games, and 2008 is off to a decent start.

I don’t make resolutions. I can understand why Eugene Peterson has said that making resolutions is bad spirituality, but my own practice in this matter isn’t theologically grounded. Basically, the things I want to do don’t change that much from year to year. I want to be a better Dad and a better pastor, I want to read more, I want to write better, I want to teach with more power and passion, I want to lose about 10 more pounds and that will mean better eating habits and a little more discipline in the gym.

What looms large for me at the start of 2008 is Moses. Specifically, the upcoming series of daily devotionals that I’ll be writing to accompany our Senior Pastor’s sermon series. My intent is to post those daily reflections here. The first one will be sent out on January 7th. I had hoped to have most of the first week’s reflections written by the end of this week. I’m nowhere near reaching that goal.

What I do have so far is a thought about how to begin. I’ll likely post it later in its final form, but the heart of the idea is to begin the Moses series with Joshua. What was it like to assume leadership after the death of Moses? Moses threw a long shadow; he had always been there. Every defining moment in the life of God’s people since leaving Egypt had involved Moses. God was always at the center, but Moses wasn’t too far from center. But like all mortal leaders, Moses died. Now it’s Joshua’s turn, and God speaks this sentence, these staggering words of promise. “As I was with Moses, so I will be with you.”

The focus shifts. Suddenly we’re less aware of Moses and more aware of God. It was God all along, using Moses and working through Moses. What we need to be convinced of is that God might want to use us too. As with Moses, so with you. Let that sink in and it’ll do something to the way you think about a New Year.

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