Joshua 1: 1-9
Bible Studies for Life, June 7
Gary Bulley, pastor
Living Stone Community Church Cumming
Imagine: the man who led your people has died and is now laid to rest. The Lord himself declared there will be none like him. He knew the Lord face-to-face and was used for great signs, wonders, displays of power, and deeds of terror in opposition to the Egyptians.
In fact, the work performed by Moses began as a promise to Abram that his offspring would be sojourners and servants for 400 years before they would be delivered. God used Moses to deliver them and fulfill this incredible promise. The next man called to lead would be emerging from the shadows of a great leader whom no one could replace.
It was no surprise God called Joshua to succeed Moses in leading Israel. Joshua had been Moses’ assistant since a young age. Moses chose Joshua to accompany him in the fight against Amalek. Joshua traveled with Moses up Mount Sinai. Finally, Moses commissioned Joshua to lead once he died.
He was recognized for his integrity, applauded for his bravery, and set apart by the Lord for his own purposes. Still, he needed to hear the words, that defining command, to be strong and courageous. Words first given to him by Moses before all of Israel and reiterated by God once his leadership was formalized.
Somewhere, you’re a leader
It is with great certainty that we can rest in the knowledge that most of us will not be called to lead a nation; however, we cannot overlook the fact that most of us will be called to lead. This call to lead may appear to us differently: some will lead in the workplace, others within the church, most of us within families; some of us may be called to leadership in more than one area. So, what does Scripture have for us, specifically the first chapter of Joshua, which can help cultivate a biblically principled form of leadership?
We must first recognize that God calls us to lead. However, we are not called to lead to boost our own egos or to build our own brand. We are called to lead in order to express God’s love and glory to a world precious to Him. Whether it is professional, ecclesiastical, or familial leadership, Christians learn leadership from Jesus’ example, which is leadership through humility and service.
Joshua was called to continue to do the work performed by Moses: to inherit the land promised by God. Being placed in a role of leadership is not based on our successes or talents alone, but our willingness to submit to the authority of God; for we should know that those entrusted to leadership of God’s people will be held to a greater accountability. This is a serious issue and must not be overlooked or taken for granted; it is a privilege to serve people on behalf of the Lord.
Be a student of Scripture
Secondly, we must recognize that God equips us for leadership with his Word. In other words, our dedication to reading and meditating on Scripture will influence how we lead. If we seek to understand and emulate the example provided by Jesus, we must be students of Scripture; allow ourselves to be conformed to its teachings, reproofed by its warnings, and humbled by its beauty.
Joshua feared God. As an assistant to Moses, Joshua was the first to know how God was leading Moses. Words spoken by God to Moses were to be recited in the ears of Joshua. There was an intimacy of Joshua’s knowledge of God that was not abused, but words to which he adhered. Let us practice the same resolve and be students of Scripture so that we may serve God well and, through our roles in leadership, serve his people faithfully.
… Christians learn leadership from Jesus’ example, which is leadership through humility and service.
Finally, let us recognize that God equips us with his presence. Through Christian leadership, we must acknowledge that we are not serving our own self-interests. Our focus is on doing the work of God’s kingdom, and all honor and glory belong to God. The world’s ways should be foreign to us, for we practice leadership with an eternal perspective and not temporal goals.
God will not leave us nor forsake us, for He promises to be with us. In the time of Joshua, that meant His spirit dwelled among the people of Israel within the construct of the Tabernacle. Today, through the victory of the cross and over the grave, we take comfort in the blessings provided by the presence of God through his Holy Spirit. Through this presence He equips us for good works.
Be Strong and Courageous. These four words were delivered to Joshua at his commissioning and reiterated by God when he finally succeeded Moses. It was a refrain given three times in the expanse of nine verses. It is reiterated frequently because Joshua needed to hear those words. We need to hear those words. Be strong and courageous.
When the world cries out in anger from it’s own ignorance, know that the Lord has made a way for reconciliation and be strong and courageous.
When the church’s effectiveness begins to falter and you wonder if you’re in over your head, know that our work is the Lord’s work, and be strong and courageous.
And when your family goes through tough times and you are called to wait patiently for the Lord, be strong and courageous.
Joshua was given the mantle of leadership and the enemies he would face would come at him with sword and shield. They would be the servants of false gods dedicated to the destruction of Joshua and the nation of Israel. God proved faithful to Joshua, just as He will for us.