Pass the baton. When we hear that phrase, it can bring up a couple different images in our minds. One of the first is of a track relay race. The runners are going around the track and passing the baton on to their teammate. Each runner takes a leg of the race and together the foursome finishes the race. The first runner sets the tone and all the other runners contribute to the final outcome.
Another common image of passing the baton, that really is inspired by the track image, is that of passing the baton on to the next generation. This means that one generation has carried the “baton” for a distance, whether a business or a church or a government position, and their “leg of the race” is coming to an end. The baton must be passed on to the next “runner.” This kind of talk commonly refers to the generation below you. I happen to be in the Millenial generation, the largest generation in the workforce right now. Many batons are being passed down to our generation as we take up leadership roles and positions all over the world.
The image I want to use for the purpose of this blog post is the image of passing on what we have learned. The previous post in this two-part blog referred to the reality that even though God is with us, we still have to walk through the battle. God told Joshua he would win the battle, but Joshua still had to go fight the battle in order to win the battle. We will have battles in life, and we will have to walk through them. But we can walk through them with the beautiful understanding that God is walking through them with us.
Joshua 10:25 continues the story after Joshua 10:8. Joshua fought the battle, prayed a crazy bold prayer that God answered (the sun stood still in the sky so they could keep fighting! but that is a story for a different day…!), and the five kings Joshua went to battle against have been captured. Right before the kings are executed, Joshua says to the people:
“Do not be afraid or dismayed; be strong and courageous. For thus the LORD will do to all your enemies against whom you fight” (Joshua 10:25)
The first part of this verse may sound familiar… God said the exact same thing to Joshua multiple times through the book of Joshua. In fact, between verses six and nine of the first chapter of Joshua, God tells him three different times to be strong and courageous. God tells him “Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be frightened, and do not be dismayed, for the LORD your God is with you wherever you go” (Joshua 1:9, ESV).
In the passage above from chapter ten of Joshua, he is passing on what he has learned. Not only has God told him that he does not need to be afraid, but he has experienced the fulfillment of God’s promise. God helped him win the battle, God kept him safe, and God kept His promise. Joshua is now sharing that promise with others, he is passing the baton of his faith down to the next generation, that they might know and follow and trust in God.
This is a wonderful responsibility that we have, too. When we go through a battle, we will most certainly be stretched. We will grow and we will learn, though maybe not in the way we would have liked. What we learn in the battle becomes the baton of wisdom we can hand down.
Joshua passed the baton after he went through the battle because God was faithful to His promise. Joshua had seen God come through and wanted to pass that on so others would be encouraged and follow God. The encouragement is to pass what God has faithfully done in our lives.
What are some things God has done in your life? Who in your life might benefit from your story?