“All that you have commanded us we will do, and wherever you send us we will go.” Joshua 1:16b
When we prepare for a family vacation, getting ready becomes a major project. Then once we drive off we spend part of the trip asking ourselves, “Are we ready?” “Did we forget anything?” It haunts us most of the trip. Often it’s not until we arrive at our vacation destination and unpack that we discover we left something behind.
That question, “Are we ready?” is an important one to ask when we face challenges or opportunities in our calling and our walk with Christ. We know the degree of readiness we claim is directly proportionate to the amount of our preparation. If we’re ready, our chances of success are far greater than if we’re ill-prepared.
God has a calling on all our lives. The call might be for a career of service to the Lord, or it might be for a brief assignment like a mission trip. Whatever the calling we must be prepared. How do we respond to God’s call? We’re designed to hear His call. Unfortunately, sometimes we’re not ready to receive it. If we’re living in obedience and walking in the Spirit, we’re much more likely to hear the call and respond. If we’re living in disobedience and walking in the flesh, we’re apt to miss the call, or hear it and ignore it. That will cause us to struggle just like His people did in the wilderness.
God provided everything His people needed to get to the Promised Land in 14 days. Because they disobeyed and complained and didn’t trust Moses, it took them 40 years to make the trip. God allowed that unbelieving generation to die in the desert and miss the blessings of His calling on their lives.
Joshua had a calling on his life–to take Moses’ place as leader of God’s people and to settle the Promised Land. On a calling scale from 1 to 10, that’s about a 17. God would not have called Joshua unless He had equipped him for the assignment and prepared the way.
How do we get ready for our calling? We follow the example of Joshua. First we must believe that God has called us and prepared us for His plan. Joshua was well prepared and equipped for God’s calling. More than a dozen times we read in the Old Testament where God and Moses prepared Joshua for the role he would assume as Israel’s leader. For example, in Exodus 17:9 Moses put Joshua in a leadership role. “Choose men for us and go out, fight against Amalek. Tomorrow I will station myself on the top of the hill with the staff of God in my hand.” In Exodus 24:12 we read clear instructions from God when He commanded Moses to take Joshua with him up Mount Sinai for the giving of the Ten Commandments. In fact, Joshua was almost a constant companion of Moses where he learned the leadership skills God taught him. We read in other Scriptures as well how Joshua’s life experiences prepared him for his call to leadership.
When we reflect on our own life experiences we can discern how God mentored us, guided us, led us, protected us and equipped us for our calling, whatever that might be.
In addition to Joshua’s life experiences, God’s call instilled passion and confidence in the new leader. “Every place on which the sole of your foot treads, I have given it to you, just as I spoke to Moses.” v.3; “No man will be able to stand before you all the days of your life. Just as I have been with Moses, I will be with you. I will not fail you or forsake you.” v.5.
Then in verse 7, God says, “Only be strong and very courageous; for you shall give this people possession of the land which I swore to their fathers to give them.” And probably the most important instruction God gave Joshua we find in verse 8: “This book of the law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do according to all that is written in it; for then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have success.”
God promised Joshua success in his calling if Joshua meditated on God’s Word day and night and followed the instructions God gave him. The same goes for us in our calling.
Are you ready for your calling? Are you are serving where God has called you? For some that might be teaching. For some ushering. For some a mission team. For some singing or playing an instrument. For some praying. For some giving. The list of callings goes on and on.
To be ready we must be careful to follow God’s instructions. Joshua and the Jews came to the place of obedience and willingness to follow Joshua and God’s instructions. They told Joshua, “All that you have commanded us we will do, and wherever you send us we will go. Just as we obeyed Moses in all things, so we will obey you, only may the Lord your God be with you as He was with Moses.” Joshua 1:16-17. They were ready to cross the Jordan River and take the land. And they were successful.
To prepare to follow God’s calling we must begin precise Biblical application. We must remember God’s word (We remember it by not just reading it, but studying it every day), live out the word and apply it to our lives, then put into practice the principles we learn from God’s word. Just as Joshua and God’s people came to the place of wisdom and obedience, we must yield ourselves to the place where God wants us to go.
The qualifier for all we do in life comes from our willingness to follow the instructions of God.