New Year, Same Plan

After the death of Moses the servant of the Lord, it came to pass . . .”— Joshua 1:1 (NKJV) 

The Book of Joshua begins by announcing the death of Moses. This can seem like a matter-of-fact statement. Moses was an important historical figure in Israel’s past who eventually died. But try to put yourself in the position of the Hebrew people when this happened. This man’s death was a potentially cataclysmic event! 

In terms of human leadership and governance, for roughly four decades, Moses was all they had known who faithfully shepherded this nation through the wilderness. It’s estimated that about 2.5 million men, women, and children followed him to the edge of the Promised Land. 

So, imagine the state of mind (and heart) the Hebrew people were in as Moses is suddenly stripped from them, on the very brink of entering into the Promised Land. It could have frozen them in fear and uncertainty . . . but it didn’t.

To understand why, we need to notice the phrase that appears immediately after Moses’ death: It came to pass. This speaks to the reality that life doesn’t stand still. God won’t allow it. No matter what happens, regardless of how devastating it may seem, God’s agenda continues. In this case, look at what God’s agenda included: “It came to pass that the Lord spoke to Joshua the son of Nun, Moses’ assistant, saying: ‘Moses My servant is dead. Now therefore, arise, go over this Jordan, you and all this people, to the land which I am giving to them—the children of Israel. Every place that the sole of your foot will tread upon I have given you, as I said to Moses’” (Joshua 1:1-3 NKJV).

Moses’ earthly mission may have ended, but God’s eternal agenda had not. In fact, we see that Moses was but a link in the chain connecting God’s plan to His people—and He had sovereignly secured the next link in the form of Joshua!

God’s activities are greater than any single servant called to co-labor in them. When it comes to the advancement of God’s Kingdom, nobody is indispensable or irreplaceable. When one passes on, the Eternal One will see to it that another is raised up. Which is why there’s no better cause to devote oneself to than following and serving the Lord. In doing so, we’re connected to something that literally cannot fail or cease to be, because God will never cease from fulfilling His work. 

If your Moses has died, and you feel unable to take another step forward, remember that your God hasn’t—and that He’s calling you to keep moving ahead as you follow Him in His unfolding plan.  

DIG: Why was Moses’ death so momentous for Israel?

DISCOVER: What was God’s response to Moses’ death?

DO: Consider how this example can serve to encourage you.     

About the Author

Pastor Dan Hickling

Pastor Dan Hickling serves our online community, also known as the Calvary Chapel Online Campus. He and his wife Becky have been married for 22 years and have two children, Lauren and Danny. Both Dan and Becky have been part of the CCFL church family for 22 years and have served in full time ministry for 20 of those years.