Saturday, December 8, 2012

It All Depends On Who's In Charge

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Soon. Too soon. I know you told me that you’d be with us, that we should be courageous and strong. I can hear your words ringing in my ears, reverberating through every sinew and muscle, sticking like Jordan’s muddy banks to my every sense. Nevertheless, it still feels like it’s too soon.

You took Moses too soon. I know, I know — he blew it at the rock, but I’d rather follow him than be the leader. After all, he was your friend, got closer to you than any man ever has. I hear that voice again reminding me about what you said: you’ll be with me just like you were with Moses.

I just feel that I will never be as close to you as he was, obey you as well as he did — the rock notwithstanding! I’ve never had that intimacy with you that he did. That’s my fault, I know. I’m sure not blaming you. I try to meditate day and night on your word, just like you said. It’s not easy to find the time or the energy with all these people at my heels.

When I think of all the things that could go wrong, I get a bad feeling. I told the people what you said, and they promised to do everything they were instructed to do. But, as soon as they said that they would obey me just as well as they obeyed Moses, I could feel the hair rising on the back of my neck. They think they are better than their fathers. You and I both know they aren’t. I know I’m not.

Then there’s the business with the prostitute in Jericho. I hope I didn’t make a mistake there. You told me not to spare anyone and now I have to live up to the promise that Micah and Judah made to that woman — and to whoever ends up sheltered in her house. She did take a lot of risks for them, and showed some strong faith in you. Still, I feel as though I’m already breaking the rules you made. How can you bless me, or these people, if I don’t do exactly what you tell me? I hope there are exceptions.

I’m a military man, not a diplomat, so who knows how many toes I trampled on issuing the orders to get us across the river. That WAS pretty amazing though. I remember the Red Sea parting, but not too many others do. Crossing the Jordan with the waters piled up before us was like déjà-vu for me. I still haven’t gotten over the big hoopla once we crossed. For the first time, I really felt that the people saw me as their leader, not just as a Moses stand-in. Now that I’ve reached that plateau, I’m not sure I want to be here.

I suspect your latest command brought me down a couple of rungs on the leadership ladder. That business with the circumcision took the stuffing out of most of the male population — quite literally! Boy, you sure do ask us to do some scary things. While the men were healing we could have been wiped out, easy pickings for any ten-year-old armed with a pick handle.

Well, here we are, facing Jericho. I sound confident, but my innards are churning. You told me to be strong and take the land you promised, and here I am thinking that the desert is beginning to look pretty good!

Wait, someone’s coming from the Jericho side.

“Who goes there? My men know better than to draw a sword in the presence of their commander, so you’re either suffering a lapse in judgment or, you are an enemy. Which is it?"

“It’s a good thing YOU don’t have your sword drawn then, isn’t it. I’m not one of your men, nor am I one of your enemies. Give your brain and your innards a break, Joshua, I have come as the commander of the Lord’s army.”

Get down, man! Get down. This is a Moses moment.

“My Lord, give me your orders.”

“Moses took his shoes off in my presence once; you do the same. I touched the ground you are standing on and it is now holy."

Forgive me; here I was thinking I was in charge of all this. It’s you; it always has been. Just as I was Moses’ servant, I am more than happy to be yours. Issue your orders, Lord: I’m ready now, whenever you are.

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