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 (Manna 68: Succession: Generation Next)
An Admirable Faith
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An Admirable Faith

Hain-Lee Hsueh—East Bay, California, USA

After Moses died, Joshua led the Israelites into the land of Canaan, and won victory upon victory over many of the nations inhabiting the land at the time. Joshua 12 lists thirty-one kings that the Israelites conquered under Joshua’s leadership, with an army that had never seen war prior to entering Canaan. Sometimes we take this for granted because we have heard the stories many times, but if we really think about it, that’s simply amazing. Joshua was the man!

And what did God have to say about Joshua’s victories?

Now Joshua was old, advanced in years. And the LORD said to him: “You are old, advanced in years, and there remains very much land yet to be possessed.”

(Josh 13:1)

If we were Joshua, how would we feel? In this society, we are taught to develop our potential, to be the best that we can be, to do something impactful, so we can be acknowledged for our achievements and endeavors. How would we feel, if at the end of a prosperous career, our boss doesn’t say, “Good job,” but instead says, “You’re already old, man, and look how much there’s left to do”? Wouldn’t we want to burst out and say, “Look at all I’ve done! Don’t I deserve some commendation and recognition?”

From Joshua there was no such outburst, and it is from this that we can learn something about true faith. To us, God’s words may seem discouraging, but Joshua continued to obey God as he had before. And before he died, he even earnestly urged the Israelites to continue to serve God and no one else. There is something that Joshua understood about faith that we often subconsciously forget—God’s plan is bigger than us.

We often think of faith in a self-centered, personal sense, always wondering, “What is God’s plan for me? How can I please God?” But do we have faith in God’s plan beyond how it relates to ourselves? How concerned are we about the part of God’s work that is still to be done after us?

Many of God’s workers in the Bible, such as Joshua, have set the example for us. They were not out to show the world that with God they could do great things and live glorious lives. They understood that they were merely vessels, pilgrims carrying out God’s plan and passing it down to those who followed. They understood that they were just unprofitable servants (Lk 17:10). Joshua’s silent and continual submission proves that he understood that.

Hebrews 11 mentions many such workers, all of them playing just a small part in God’s plan and many of them concerned with the future. Think Abraham, who obeyed God without seeing his descendants become as numerous as the sand. Isaac, who blessed Jacob and Esau “concerning things to come” (Heb 11:20). Joseph, who “made mention of the departure of the children of Israel” (Heb 11:22) from Egypt. Moses, who “suffered affliction with the people of God” (Heb 11:25), leading them to a promised land that he himself could not enter and enjoy. All these people acted by faith—a faith that had vision.

God’s plan extends much further past our own lives, but sometimes we live as if it didn’t. We may even have this attitude of serving God to accumulate enough brownie points to go to heaven. But at the end of our lives, we should not glory in all the labor we have done for God, but work to ensure that the service continues after us.

From the Bible we know the goal of God’s plan is salvation. May our faith cover not just our own salvation, but the salvation of those who follow us. May we add to our faith, vision.

These all died in faith, not having received the promises, but having seen them afar off were assured of them, embraced them and confessed that they were strangers and pilgrims on the earth.

(Heb 11:13)

 

 

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Author: Hain-Lee Hsueh
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