Passing the Baton

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Comparing the Discipleship of Joshua and Timothypassing-the-baton

Moses was Joshua’s spiritual father and Paul was Timothy’s.  These great men passed on the baton to their spiritual children so that God’s mission to lead the children of Israel to the Promised Land and spread the Gospel of salvation to the world would continue to be carried out.  Moses passed on the baton to Joshua in Deuteronomy 31:7 just before his death and Paul mentions his impending death as he gives instructions to Timothy in 1 Timothy 3:14-16.

As I read 2 Timothy this morning , Paul was instructing, reminding, and uplifting his spiritual son so that he would have the fortitude to continue the work of the ministry.  Paul tells his disciple to persevere as he does and stand [his] ground with patience and endure everything for the sake of the elect [God’s chosen] (2 Timothy 2:10). As I read this, I thought of a similar instance of a leader passing the baton to his disciple–Moses to Joshua not the same words were spoken but the same inference was made.

This was Paul’s second letter to Timothy reminding him of the work of the ministry in spreading the Gospel.  The ministry that Paul was now imprisoned for in Rome.  Paul’s letters were to help booster the spirit of his beloved pupil and to insure that the fires of enthusiasm were not quenched by hardship and struggle.

Moses’ was able to impart a spirit of wisdom to Joshua and God spoke to him after Moses’ death.  Telling him to be bold and courageous and to lead the people into the Promised Land.  Timothy received his ordinance from Paul and others.  At that time I feel he too received a boost of the spirit to strengthen him for the struggles ahead.

Both of these men followed great men of God taking the baton of leadership and moving forward in the face of opposition and struggles.  Carrying the Light of God into the darkness of unbelief.


While Joshua was definitely mentored by Moses to become his disciple, Joshua was also a skilled general and leader.  In Hebrews Joshua means Yahweh is salvation. With the Lord’s guidance, he showed potential during the Exodus and worked behind the scenes.  He lead the successful battle against the Amalekites (Exodus 17) and was one of the two original spies (Numbers 13-14) who encouraged the people of Israel to follow the Word of God and cross over the Jordan to possess the land the first time, and as such was one of the few who lived to cross over into the Promised Land after the generation had died out.  Moses  progressively groomed Joshua for leadership.

Joshua was a servant, helper, aide and stayed close to Moses from his youth.  There was an ongoing relationship between Moses and Joshua.  When God moved to change command of Israel after Moses’ death, Joshua was ready whether he realized it or not God and Moses knew.  Joshua rose to the command of God to lead His people into the Promised Land to take possession as God had decreed.


Timothy was half Greek and Jewish.  His name means honoring God or precious of God.  His faith emerged from his grandmother Lois and was passed to her daughter Timothy’s mother, Eunice. Paul’s first missionary travels opened the mind of Timothy, his mother, and grandmother to the truth of Jesus.  He was a good example and well-thought by the Christians in the area of Asia Minor.  Timothy eventually became the first Christian Bishop of Ephesus (Ephesians).

Although many centuries, kings judges and prophets pronouncing God’s word, ruled Israel and its people, Joshua and Timothy had several things in common:

  1. They were  both proteges of great men of God. (Joshua-Moses and Timothy-Paul).  Both Moses and Paul moved and carried God’s Word into new areas one for the Israelites and the other to the Gentiles.
  2. They worked from an early age to be shaped by their prophets.
  3. They were both gifted with great ability and a willingness to follow God’s word.
  4. They both worked behind the scenes as assistants and helpers for many years to prepare for the great tasks for which they were destined.

Each of these men had a burning need to learn and follow their prophets.  They sat at their feet and learned, participated in their trials and shaped their lives after their leadership examples.

Joshua had to be prophet (God’s spokesman) and military leader just as Moses.  Timothy was student and assistant following Paul bringing God’s word to the Gentile.  Paul described in 1 Timothy 1:2 Timothy as his spiritual son.  I believe that Moses looked upon Joshua just as endearingly because he was Moses closes assistant.

Both of these men although separated by centuries played essential roles in the introduction and growth of the Word of God among the people of the world.

Is this God’s destiny for you?    Are you ready to take the baton?

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