Old Testament reading: Joshua 1-3
With the passing of Moses begins the leadership of Joshua, Moses’ Divinely chosen successor. Joshua’s birth name was Hoshea, meaning “salvation” (Num 13:8), but Moses (certainly by Divine instruction) changed it to Joshua, meaning “Jehovah is salvation” (Num 13:16). The Greek equivalent of Joshua’s name is Yeshua, or Jesus (cf Heb 4:8 KJV). Joshua had giant shoes to fill, and God gave him an early promise that his presence would always be with him as it was with Moses so long as he obeyed the voice of the Lord (Josh 1:5-8). Joshua also had a “holy ground” incident like Moses (Josh 5:13-15). While Moses came face to face with the Angel of the Lord, Joshua met the Commander of the Lord’s Army. I believe both of these refer to the same personality, namely, the One who would become Jesus of Nazareth.
New Testament reading: 2 Timothy
This is the last letter of the Divine record ever penned or dictated by the apostle Paul. The personal nature of this book is quite touching when one considers to old soldier of the cross contemplating his own departure and passing the torch on to Timothy and others (2:2). In chapter one we see Paul’s statement of remembrance and words of encouragement to his former apprentice (vv 3-7). As a young preacher, I well remember many of the encouraging comments I have received from men whom I believe to be giants of the faith. As I approached the mic as I prepared to deliver my very first lecture at a university lectureship, I looked down on the front row and saw men who had been preaching longer than my parents had been alive! It was a daunting sight! I did my best, and after the conclusion I’ll never forget the first words spoken to me. Flavil Nichols walked up and gave me what I believe to be the greatest compliment a preacher can ever receive. Brother Nichols shook my hand and said in his own inimitable way, “I like the way you told us what the Bible said.” Nothing more. But I tell you, I don’t remember anything else that was said to me after that. Friends, I was on cloud nine! Paul gave Timothy these words of encouragement ahead of his more lengthy exhortation beginning in verse 8. Never underestimate the power of a few brief, sincere words of encouragement!