“When you are going to be the man, be the man.” This is a pretty common phrase regarding rising to the occasion and being the necessary person for the role. On the flip side is another statement about not being the man that follows the man.
We often see this play out in business and sports. When there has been a successful player, coach, or businessman, the person that replaces that person when they leave had a challenging job. Most people expect them to perform just like the person they replaced, which is impossible because everyone is different. Even if you do an excellent job in replacement of the other person, there will be differences.
Joshua, in the book of the same name, Joshua 1: 1-9 is given command of Israel after the death of Moses. If there was ever “the man,” Moses would be him. How can you replace Moses? Moses led Israel as God’s chosen out of bondage and through the Wilderness, all the way to the verge of crossing the Jordan, with miracle after miracle happening under his watch.
I have to say, Joshua does not come out of nowhere to lead Israel. When Moses is banned from entering the Promised Land in Deut 3: 23-25, God informs Moses to lift up Joshua for he will lead Israel. Moses is to charge Joshua in verse 26, encouraging an strengthening him for the role as leader.
We see God ordained Joshua to lead Israel. We see this frequently with God. God ordains leaders and empowers them and they accept the role given them by God.
In the first chapter of Joshua we see the Lord commission Joshua. Joshua is to arise and lead Israel across the Jordan. God does not say Joshua is going to do this alone, God affirms he will be with Joshua through the whole thing. God encourages Joshua to be strong and courageous and to do all in the Law, not turning to the left or the right.
God continues informing Joshua how he is hand-picked. God trusts him and is empowering him and encouraging him and strengthening him, but Joshua needs to stay on the straight and narrow path outlined by Moses.
Joshua more than ably becomes the leader of Israel. The mantle passed from Moses to Joshua and God stayed true to his word.
We often buck at the mantle of leadership or we seek leadership when it is not our role. God ordains those he will ordain for the role of leading. It is up to us to see what God has laid before us and to walk as a disciple of Jesus without sinking the ship. We either lead or follow on earth, but we must remember we are all followers of Jesus first.