firm, for you shall go with this people into the land which the Lord has sworn to their fathers to give them, and you shall cause them to possess it. 8 It is the Lord Who goes before you; He will [march] with you; He will not fail you or let you go or forsake you; [let there be no cowardice or flinching, but] fear not, neither become broken [in spirit – depressed, dismayed, and unnerved with alarm].
Deuteronomy 31:7-8 AMP

By the end of his life, Moses had brought the people as far as he could, and it was time for new leadership – the baton was being passed. Joshua was God’s choice to take over from Moses. God gave Joshua his mission: to finish what Moses started. Joshua wasn’t better or worse than Moses – but he was God’s choice for the task that remained to be done at that time. Before Moses died, he publicly installed Joshua as his successor at the Lord’s direction, so there could be a smooth transition, with no arguments from the people later. Most of the time, if people are given their own choice of leadership, they will choose by looking at their appearance – the way they look or the way they present themselves. God chooses based on the heart! God’s choice doesn’t always look to man like the best choice, but it IS! We should not be too quick to judge anyone after the flesh – from a human point of view – especially under the New Covenant. 2 Corinthians 5:16 AMP says, “Consequently, from now on we estimate and regard no one from a [purely] human point of view [in terms of natural standards of value]. [No] even though we once did estimate Christ from a human viewpoint and as a man, yet now [we have such knowledge of Him that] we know Him no longer [in terms of the flesh].” God does not call a person because of their ability alone, but He calls them because they make themselves available to Him, to obey and follow Him!

Joshua, not only had to face giants, but he also had to convince the Israelites to follow his leadership even as he followed God’s orders. The secret was in meditating in God’s word day and night and doing only what the Lord instructed him to do. God promised Joshua that if he implicitly obeyed Him, he would be successful in everything that he did! If God calls us to do something and if we worry too much about the opinion of other people, then we will choose our path based on what the people want rather than on what God wants. The Bible says that the fear of man is a trap of the enemy. If we choose to please people and do what we think will make them happy or what will cause the least amount of “waves”, then we cannot and will not please God!

Paul says this about when the Lord initially called Him: “But when it was the good pleasure of the One who set me apart before I was born and called me by His grace to give me an inward revelation of His Son in order that I might proclaim Him as glad tidings among the Gentiles, immediately I did not put myself in communication with flesh and blood for the purpose of consultation; neither did I go up to Jerusalem to those who were apostles before me, but I went away into Arabia, and again returned to Damascus.” (Galatians 1:15-17 Wuest). It is fine and right to have certain godly people who offer godly counsel for your life, but when God clearly speaks to you, then stop talking and go and do what He’s told you to do! Asking everyone else for their opinion is a distraction, and waiting for their approval is a time-waster. We must focus on the Lord and what He’s called us to do and just get on with it. Leave the rest to the Lord to take care of. God knows what He’s doing – just trust Him and do what He says. It takes courage to obey God and to do it in spite of other people’s opinions!

Again Paul says in 1 Corinthians 3:6-8 AMP, “I planted, Apollos watered, but God [all the while] was making it grow and [He] gave the increase. 7 So neither he who plants is anything nor he who waters, but [only] God Who makes it grow and become greater. 8 He who plants and he who waters are equal (one in aim, of the same importance and esteem), yet each shall receive his own reward (wages), according to his own labor.”  People are often tempted to compare their leaders with other leaders, either favorably or unfavorably; lifting one up even as they are putting the other down. It is human nature to compare and compete, but if you get hung up with comparisons and picking sides, then it will only result in strife and competition! This comparing and competing is a work of the flesh and betrays the carnality of those involved.

Romans 12:3 AMP says, “For by the grace (unmerited favor of God) given to me I warn everyone among you not to estimate and think of himself more highly than he ought [not to have an exaggerated opinion of his own importance], but to rate his ability with sober judgment, each according to the degree of faith apportioned by God to him.”  We must not have a too high estimation of ourselves OR a too low estimation of God and His ability in and through us! We are nothing without Him; but with and through Him, we can do all that He’s called us to do. We must appreciate each other for the gift that each of us is to the Body of Christ and also that we are each called to a different calling. If we will mind our own business, obey God for our own life, and get on with the task He has assigned to us, then God’s overall will shall be done in the end!

The Light of the World

Then Jesus spoke to them again, saying, “I am the light of the world. He who follows Me shall not walk in darkness, but have the light of life.”  John 8:12 NKJV

Jesus is the Light of the world. If we follow Him, we will walk in the light of life. The place Jesus preached this was in the Temple – specifically He was in the treasury. People brought their offerings there, but there were also some burning candles there that represented the Pillar of Fire that went before the children of Israel when God led them out of Egypt, kept them while they were in the desert and led them into the Promised Land. The Pillar of Fire represents God’s presence, protection, and guidance – which we also have in the person of Jesus Christ – if we follow, and continue to follow, Him.

For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.  17 For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved. 18 “He who believes in Him is not condemned; but he who does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.  19 And this is the condemnation, that the light has come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil.  20 For everyone practicing evil hates the light and does not come to the light, lest his deeds should be exposed.  21 But he who does the truth comes to the light, that his deeds may be clearly seen, that they have been done in God.” John 3:16-21 NKJV

God sent Jesus – the Light of the world – to save the world. We are not waiting for the light – light is already here – however, many people won’t come to know this wonderful light of freedom, because they love the darkness more than the light. Their deeds are evil and they refuse to come to the light because they want to sin and keep sinning. To come to experience God’s light, through Jesus, one must be prepared to come to the light, have sin exposed and cleansed and then to walk free from the power of sin.

People, who don’t have Jesus, like to talk about “enlightenment”. The dictionary says this about the word “enlightenment”: 1. The act or means of enlightening or the state of being enlightened. 2. Buddhism: the awakening to ultimate truth by which man is freed from the endless cycle of personal reincarnations to which all men are otherwise subject. 3. Hinduism: a state of transcendent divine experience represented by Vishnu: regarded as a goal of all religion. 4. The Enlightenment, a philosophical movement of the 18th century, characterized by belief in the power of human reason and by innovations in political, religious, and educational doctrine.

People seek “enlightenment” by human means and human knowledge and understanding, but if you don’t want Jesus’ light, then you will continue to walk in the darkness, striving in vain to attain some light of understanding with your natural mind that will ultimately get you nowhere. People are trying to BE gods, when they could have Him come live on the inside of them if they would only receive Jesus! It’s the devil, up to his old tricks, trying to usurp the throne of God; deceiving people into thinking they can be like God and know what He knows. On earth, even if it is night time, you have the moon and the stars, but if you die without Jesus, you will end up in a place of darkness where there is NO light at all, no matter how much “enlightenment you think you have attained.

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2 He was in the beginning with God. 3 All things were made through Him, and without Him nothing was made that was made. 4 In Him was life, and the life was the light of men. 5 And the light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not comprehend it.  6 There was a man sent from God, whose name was John. 7 This man came for a witness, to bear witness of the Light, that all through him might believe. 8 He was not that Light, but was sent to bear witness of that Light. 9 That was the true Light which gives light to every man coming into the world.  John 1:1-9 NKJV

John the Baptist was not the Light of the world, only the one who went before Jesus to bear witness that He was the true Light, who lights every man! Even as the sun shines upon every man – Jew or Gentile – so, every man was to be blessed by the Messiah (see also Isaiah 49:6). “The darkness did not comprehend the light” – this actually means that the darkness of evil could not extinguish the light – it never has and never will overcome God’s light! Darkness could not: “seize upon; keep down or under; stop; to catch up with in the sense of to discover or detect” the light. It means that the satanic powers of darkness did not overcome the Word/the Light, but that the Word/ the Light overcame and spoiled them on the cross!

In the light of God’s presence, we see ourselves as we really are – sinners in need of a Savior. When we follow Jesus, the true Light, He removes the darkness of sin from our lives; we can avoid walking blindly and falling into sin; He lights the path ahead of us so we can see how to live. We are not the source of God’s light, but, just like John the Baptist, we are reflections of it – pointing people always toward the Lord Jesus Christ!

Simeon dedicated the baby Jesus with these words from Luke 2:29-32 NKJV: “Lord, now You are letting Your servant depart in peace, According to Your word; For my eyes have seen Your salvation Which You have prepared before the face of all peoples, A light to bring revelation to the Gentiles, And the glory of Your people Israel.”  Then in Matthew 4:16 NKJV, Jesus quoted Isaiah 9:2, saying, “The people who sat in darkness have seen a great light, And upon those who sat in the region and shadow of death Light has dawned.”

As long as I am in the world, I am the light of the world.”  John 9:5 NKJV

Then Jesus said to them, “A little while longer the light is with you. Walk while you have the light, lest darkness overtake you; he who walks in darkness does not know where he is going.  36 While you have the light, believe in the light, that you may become sons of light.”  John 12:35-36a NKJV

For it is the God who commanded light to shine out of darkness, who has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.  2 Corinthians 4:6 NKJV