I am preparing to teach a Bible study this coming Sunday at Southern Calvert Baptist Church based on Joshua, chapter 1. This chapter sets the stage for Joshua’s ministry, a ministry that exemplifies leadership. Volumes and volumes have been written about leadership in our modern world. Many strive to be leaders. Leadership is a calling from the Lord. Answering that call and learning leadership based on the Word of God will lead to success. There is no magic bullet. There is no three-step plan. In order to understand leadership, we need to study the leaders of the Bible. That is what we are going to do in this Bible study. I cannot wait to teach it. We need leaders to answer the call the way that Joshua did.
I. Called to action
As I mentioned earlier, leadership is a calling. There is training involved and Joshua received some amazing training but, leadership is a calling. When a call goes out, someone has to answer it. Joshua answered the call to leadership.
Now it came about after the death of Moses the servant of the LORD, that the LORD spoke to Joshua the son of Nun, Moses’ servant, saying, (Joshua 1:1)
There are some things that I would like to point out about Joshua. First of all, his father’s name is Nun. Nun means to increase or to propagate. Nun taught Joshua how to have a relationship with God. He propagated who God is to his son. Nun also gave the name Hoshea to his son whom we know today as Joshua. Hoshea means “salvation”. Nun used his son’s name to teach him about God. Joshua was in a position to hear the voice of the Lord and answer the call. Moses played a vital role in Joshua’s rise to leadership. Joshua served under Moses’ leadership for many, many years learning how a leader is to lead others. Moses is the one who changed Hoshea’s name to Joshua. The name Joshua means “God is salvation“. This is important because Joshua was going to lead the people into the Promised Land and Moses wanted Joshua and the people always to remember that God delivers salvation, not man.
“Moses My servant is dead; now therefore arise, cross this Jordan, you and all this people, to the land which I am giving to them, to the sons of Israel. (Joshua 1:2)
God gives very specific directions to Joshua as the leader. As a servant leader, Joshua’s role was to hear from the Lord and obey fully. By doing this, he would become an example for the people to follow each and every day. Joshua is faithful to obey the Lord’s commands fully.
“No man will be able to stand before you all the days of your life. Just as I have been with Moses, I will be with you; I will not fail you or forsake you. (Joshua 1:5)
God encourages Joshua with the fact that He will be with Joshua. No one will be able to stand against Joshua, not because Joshua is so amazing. Instead, no one will be able to stand against him because he is following the Lord and the Lord will be with him. God will not fail Joshua and God will not forsake him. A servant leader needs encouragement from the Lord because leading people is very difficult and can become discouraging. Joshua knows that he is not there to tell the people what they want to hear. He is there to lead the people to accomplish God’s will. That will keep him focused, especially when some of the people whom he leads oppose him.
Have you answered the call to leadership? Who in your life, has taught you how to connect with God? Whose leadership have you sat under so that you could learn to be a servant leader and be ready to answer the call to leadership when it arises? Do you know how to hear from the Lord so that you can obey Him fully and encourage others to carry out the will of the Lord?
II. Key to success
As I mentioned earlier, many, many books have been written in our modern world about the topic of leadership. I am sure that many of them are very good. The ideas presented may or may not produce leaders. I do know that the ideas presented in Joshua, chapter 1 produce leaders. What was the key to Joshua’s successful leadership?
7 “Only be strong and very courageous; be careful to do according to all the law which Moses My servant commanded you; do not turn from it to the right or to the left, so that you may have success wherever you go.
8 “This book of the law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do according to all that is written in it; for then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have success. (Joshua 1)
In order for Joshua to be a successful leader, he must be careful to do according to the Law of Moses. Joshua was taught the Word of God directly from Moses. He watched Moses live out the Word and lead according to the Word daily. Now it is Joshua’s turn to lead and he must follow his mentor’s example. Joshua is not turn to the right or to the left and if so, he will be successful. The book of the Law is not depart from Joshua’s mouth. He was to meditate on the Law of the Lord night and day. He was to be careful to do according to all that is written in the Word of God. This was the key to success for Joshua. This is the key to success for leadership. To meditate means to study, ponder, and talk about. Joshua’s wisdom to lead the people was to come from the Word of God. As a leader, are you dependent on the Word of God? Do you study the Scriptures and ponder what you learn? Do you live out what you learn on a daily basis?
6 “Be strong and courageous, for you shall give this people possession of the land which I swore to their fathers to give them.
7 “Only be strong and very courageous;
9 “Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous! (Joshua 1)
A servant leader needs to be courageous. Others will be looking to him for advice and direction. He will have to be strong to make wise decisions. His courage comes from his relationship with the Lord. He knows how to act and lead based on his relationship with the Word of God.
III. Sacrificial living
All the leadership training in world is useless if a leader does not actually lead others. Joshua had to take his training and apply it.
10 Then Joshua commanded the officers of the people, saying,
11 “Pass through the midst of the camp and command the people, saying, ‘Prepare provisions for yourselves, for within three days you are to cross this Jordan, to go in to possess the land which the LORD your God is giving you, to possess it.’ ” (Joshua 1)
Joshua motivated other leaders to action. His leaders followed his example of leadership and led the people with him. He rallied other leaders to action. Joshua knew how to motivate.
12 To the Reubenites and to the Gadites and to the half-tribe of Manasseh, Joshua said,
13 “Remember the word which Moses the servant of the LORD commanded you, saying, ‘The LORD your God gives you rest and will give you this land.’
14 “Your wives, your little ones, and your cattle shall remain in the land which Moses gave you beyond the Jordan, but you shall cross before your brothers in battle array, all your valiant warriors, and shall help them,
15 until the LORD gives your brothers rest, as He gives you, and they also possess the land which the LORD your God is giving them. Then you shall return to your own land, and possess that which Moses the servant of the LORD gave you beyond the Jordan toward the sunrise.” (Joshua 1)
Joshua chose to live sacrificially. As a servant leader, he encouraged others to live sacrificially. The Reubenites, Gadites, Manasseh were called to be sacrificial and help their brothers attain their territory before settling in and enjoying their own territory.
They answered Joshua, saying, “All that you have commanded us we will do, and wherever you send us we will go. (Joshua 1:16)
Those men, encouraged by Joshua, rose to the challenge and chose to live sacrificially.
17 “Just as we obeyed Moses in all things, so we will obey you; only may the LORD your God be with you as He was with Moses.
18 “Anyone who rebels against your command and does not obey your words in all that you command him, shall be put to death; only be strong and courageous.” (Joshua 1)
These people choose to follow Joshua and submit to his leadership. He does not have to force them to follow him. They choose to do so. They also encourage him because they appreciate his leadership.
Are you living sacrificially? Do you challenge others to live sacrificially? The call to leadership is out there. God seeks to raise up new leaders. Are you ready to answer the call?