I grew up in Hampton, VA, just 8 miles from the Chesapeake Bay. Hampton is located on a peninsula with water on 3 sides making it possible to hear the fog horns nearly every night. Moorings for all kinds of boats, ships and barges are everywhere up and down the shoreline. Moorings are the connection to safety for any water craft. They are rock solid, unmoving and nearly indestructible. From the smallest of row boats to the mighty carriers of the Atlantic Fleet...all vessels rely on a strong mooring. However, time and weather deteriorate even the most solid of moorings. Alongside the newer moorings made of steel and concrete are the remains of earlier, now abandoned, moorings of yesteryear. One is reminded that a mooring is reliable for just a span of time and eventually must be replaced. Around Hampton one can see several generations of moorings now little more than shadows of their former strength. Since the early 17th century the moorings of Hampton have seen ships go from wood to steel, from sail to nuclear and from the 120 ton Susan Constant of 1607 to the 106,000 ton modern day U.S.S. Harry Truman super carrier.
A mooring must be stronger than that what ties to it, always available and reliable at all times. It is no less true for our "spiritual moorings." Just as off Hampton, as we grow, older moorings are replaced by newer and stronger ones. Finally the time comes when we no longer are called to be tied to a mooring, we become a mooring for others who would "drift out to sea" otherwise. Such was the case with Joshua when Moses, the great mooring of the Exodus, died.
For the first time in his life, Joshua was alone. For 40 years he was the faithful servant of Moses. He was defined, not by leadership, but by servitude. Now it was all different. HE was now, not the servant, but the leader. He was no longer tied to a mooring, he WAS the mooring! Moorings do not come on line by themselves, there is a process of preparation.
God prepared Joshua to become a mooring for all Israel in Joshua 1. Those "mooring preps" are still valid today as God prepares each of us to moor others so that they can more still others in the future. Here they are: