Men Like Joshua
When the Lord told Joshua to prepare himself for the duties in front of him, the Lord knew well that Joshua could not appreciate the difficult task he had. Joshua, however, was in better position than any other person, but even with that being the case, there was (and is) something different between being by the side of a great leader and being the leader yourself. When you are by the side of a great leader (or any leader), decision consequences don’t fall on you, but on the one who made them. When the Lord told Joshua to prepare himself, He said, “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” (1:9, ESV). The Lord told Joshua to be courageous, but it was not in military matters He was speaking. What the Lord had in mind was for Joshua to be courageous in allegiance and obedience to the Lord’s Word and purpose. The Lord knew well that Joshua would face much resistance of one sort or another.
It takes a great deal of commitment and courage to stand firm in the Lord’s way when most of those around you are not doing so, or waffling in doing so. Joshua was leading a complex nation. No doubt there were many who loved the Lord as much as Joshua, but how many were confused in their loyalties. Perhaps many of them desired to hear and obey the Lord, but for one reason or another, they allowed distractions to get in the way. Some of those distractions could have been family issues, self-esteem, hardships and heartaches. Whatever it was, those so struggling, the Lord called upon them to set it aside and consider what was in front of them (cf. Hebrews 12:1-3).
Those called upon to lead either understand this already, or need to!
In Joshua 1:6-9, the Lord gave Joshua guidance as to how to stay courageous. First, he had a definite work to do; without an assigned task, one does not know what needs to be done, much less how to accomplish it. Second, to have a task at hand, means a directive must be in place to get the work completed. This complements the first point. At a practical level, a plan is most helpful to see where one needs to go; trying to “wing-it” brings confusion and directionless movements. As with the practical, so with the spiritual. Third, in Joshua’s case (as well as our own), divine help is a must; without the Lord, we can only hope to accomplish, but never really know whether we accomplished the task or arrived at the Lord’s destination. With the Lord’s plan in front of us, with the Lord’s plan faithfully executed, we will certainly accomplish the work required. Fourth, a determination to accomplish what is ahead means one must adopt courage, have a brave and determined heart to see it through to the end.
In the Lord’s church, godly men who serve as elders are crucial to the local congregation. Horror stories abound of men serving as elders who do not employ each the Lord’s principled guidelines given to Joshua. They are nice, courteous, financially astute, benevolent in spirit and means, but not very strong in the Lord; thus, mean/leaders like this are not godly from the Lord’s perspective, only from man’s. In fact, the Lord would not use them to lead His people. The Lord’s church need men like Joshua. RT