Monday, October 10, 2011

Biblical Leadership

Leadership Lessons from Joshua 1

Written by Dr. Bill Bagents

Wise men don’t readily choose to succeed great leaders. Beloved leaders earn tremendous trust and respect. They engender tremendous loyalty. And when they die, their stature elevates astronomically! Some suggest that this is the reason God buried Moses in a secret place. He knew people’s tendency to enshrine dead leaders.

Joshua didn’t ask to succeed Moses. He effectively led God’s army (Exodus 17). He served as Moses’ assistant (Exodus 24:13). He fulfilled his duties with faithfulness and zeal (Numbers 14:6-10). God Himself elevated Joshua and chose him to step into Moses’ shoes (Numbers 27:15-23). God blessed Joshua with many opportunities to learn and with a gradual transition into leadership.

God blessed Joshua in another crucial way. In Joshua 1, God spoke His personal word of encouragement to Israel’s new leader. That encouragement contains so many lessons for us today.

  • Joshua 1:2, “Moses My servant is dead.” Human leaders don’t live forever. There is a time to lament and mourn losses, but life must go on.
  • Joshua 1:2-4, “I am giving” you and the nation this land. Faithful leaders and faithful followers are part of God’s ongoing work. We step up to that challenge.
  • Joshua 1:5, “As I was with Moses, so I will be with you.” There is no greater assurance than knowing that God is with us. Whether Matthew 28:20 or Romans 8, no promise is more precious than the assurance of God’s abiding presence.
  • Joshua 1:6-9, “Only be strong and very courageous, that you may observe to do according to all the law...” God’s abiding presence is conditional. He links His presence to our faithfulness. His will is to be our meditation and our guide. We don’t pick and choose; we respect God by respecting all His law.
  • Joshua 1:16-18, “Just as we heeded Moses in all things, so we will heed you.” Leaders who trust and obey God should be respected and followed. Following the leadership that God ordains shows respect for God. We all need to show that respect.

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