As I was with Moses, so I will be with you. (Joshua 1:5)
God’s power is not bound to the times and titles of men, but it is grasped by faith. Moses is dead, but God does not say, “Alas! Now no one can do the works that he did.” Joshua would move forward and perform even greater works. When Joshua faced the Jordan, he did not say, “But Moses is not here to lift his staff.” No, he said, “Take up the ark of the covenant” (3:6), and the river parted. When he battled the Amorites, he did not say, “But Moses is not here to raise his hand.” No, he said, “O sun, stand still over Gibeon, O moon, over the Valley of Aijalon,” and the heavens paused until he attained victory.
Compare this to the heathen spirituality that thinks the giant orbs dictate our lives. Worthless men and women follow after this counterfeit wisdom, this teaching of superstition and surrender. But the Lord said by Jeremiah, “Do not learn the ways of the nations or be terrified by signs in the sky, though the nations are terrified by them” (Jeremiah 10:2). Behold the overwhelming superiority of the religion of Jesus Christ, where faith in God can move mountains and command the planets. This is our wisdom. This is our spirituality.
You say, “But that was Joshua!” This is loser talk. People did not say, “But that was Moses!” when the old man first started. For years afterward they continued to confront him and complained about him to his face. God had made him a great man, but those who were out of touch with God were slow to catch on. Joshua followed Moses so that he could be like him. And when Moses passed, he did not have to say, “But that was Moses!” Your preachers and theologians want you to say, “But that was Jesus! But that was Peter! But that was Paul!” And this is why they are nothing like them. Faith teaches us to say, “Yes, I will be like Jesus. Yes, I will be like Peter. Yes, I will be like Paul.”
When God had received Elijah into heaven in a whirlwind, the little prophets said, “Where is Elijah? Let us look for Elijah!” But Elisha said, “Where now is the LORD, the God of Elijah?” He picked up the mantle and struck the water, and Jordan parted for him as it parted for Elijah. Those who looked for Elijah after he was gone could not continue his work, and the one who followed Elijah most closely was in fact after the Lord, the God of Elijah. He was the true successor. He was the one who inherited the power and the ministry.
Life is too important to be molded by those who have no spiritual power and keep making excuses. The death of the apostles did not mark an end to any era, because they did not define any era. But Jesus Christ does, and he is still alive. Peter did not say, “It is by our apostleship that this man has been made whole.” But he said, “Why do you stare at us as if by our own power or godliness we had made this man walk?…By faith in the name of Jesus, this man whom you see and know was made strong. It is Jesus’ name and the faith that comes through him that has given this complete healing to him, as you can all see” (Acts 3:12, 16). If it was all about faith in the name of Jesus in his day, how come it is all about apostleship in our day? Later, Peter did not walk in to a man’s room and scream, “I am an apostle!!!” But he said, “Jesus Christ heals you” (Acts 9:34). If it was never about Peter when he was alive, why would it be all about Peter when he has died? Peter is dead, but what difference does it make?
Where is Jesus, the Christ of the apostles? I do not need Moses to be with me. I do not need Elijah to return from heaven. And I do not need the apostles to come back from the dead. God is with me as he was with Moses and Elijah. Jesus Christ is present with his grace and power as he was with Peter and Paul. God has always commended the boldness of faith when men approach him, not on the basis of confidence in themselves, but of confidence in Jesus Christ. He is displeased with those who hold back because of their unbelief, tradition, and false humility.