Friday, February 23, 2018

Joshua the Leader

Be strong and courageous, because you will lead these people to inherit the land I swore to their forefathers to give them” (Joshua 1:6).

After Moses’ death, Joshua ascended to be supreme judge and military commander in Israel. The Lord gave him a series of commands in Joshua 1:6–9. First God said, “Be strong and courageous” (v. 6). Next God said, “Be strong and very courageous” (v. 7). Finally God said, “Be strong and courageous. Do not be terrified” (v. 9).

It takes tremendous strength to lead men, especially in God’s work. How would Joshua find this strength? In the midst of these commands, God gave him one other order: “Do not let this Book of the Law depart from your mouth; meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do everything written in it. Then you will be prosperous and successful” (v. 8). This is the secret of inner strength.

So Joshua told the people to get ready for the conquest of Canaan. How did they respond? They said that they would do whatever he commanded, and told him: “Only be strong and courageous!”

My favorite story about Joshua begins in Joshua 5:13. Joshua was out taking a look at Jericho, and he encountered an armed man he did not recognize. This was a very impressive soldier, and Joshua asked him, “Are you for us or for our enemies?” The man replied, “Neither.”

What an answer! But the man went on to say, “Rather, as Commander of the army of the Lord I have now come.” This “man” was the Angel of the Lord, the Captain of the Lord’s host. “No Joshua, it’s not a matter of whether I’m for you or for your adversaries. The question is: Who are you for? Because I’m the new Commander in Chief.”

How did Joshua respond? “Then Joshua fell face down to the ground in reverence, and asked him, ‘What message does my Lord have for this servant?’ ” What does it take to be strong and courageous? It takes meditation on God’s Word, and total submission to God Himself in worship.

Do you need strength to do your job? Do you find your job difficult, frightening, disagreeable, or depressing? Consider for a few minutes the two things we see about Joshua here. Meditation and worship were the strengths behind his strength. Make them your secrets as well.