Let’s prepare our hearts … pray with me.
Lord, I pray that you meet me in this moment and speak to me. I confess my sinful nature to you and ask for forgiveness for whatever I have done against you. I need you, Lord. Help me to focus my full attention on seeking what you have to impress on my heart today. Open my ears to hear your voice and my mind to remember your grace for me. Amen.
How did you feel when the Lord called you to lead?
Did you feel inadequate?
Did you feel nervous? Scared? Excited?
Did you feel confused? Did you feel equipped?
Did you feel fearful of what people would say?
We can’t know for sure, but I’d place my bet on the idea that Joshua probably felt ALL of those emotions and even more. He had been asked to succeed Moses, the Israelites’ greatest and most well-respected leader. The weight of leading so many people weighed on his shoulders, and yet Joshua did not hesitate to listen to the Lord’s voice.
As we dive into Joshua, it’s important to know that the Lord had given the Israelites the opportunity to enter the Promised Land 39 years earlier, but they refused to trust Him. As a result, they had to wander for 40 years until that generation had passed away completely (including Moses). Now, the time had come for the new generation of Israelites to go forward into the Promised Land, led by Joshua.
In Joshua chapter 1, God is already on the move and sharing the next steps of His plan with Joshua. “After the death of Moses the servant of the Lord, the Lord said to Joshua son of Nun, Moses’ aide: “Moses my servant is dead. Now then, you and all these people, get ready to cross the Jordan River into the land I am about to give to them—to the Israelites. I will give you every place where you set your foot, as I promised Moses.” (Joshua 1:1-3 – NIV)
It was finally time to cross the Jordan River!! After years of wandering and struggling, God’s children would finally enter the Promised Land and call it their own. But, not only does God tell Joshua what is coming, He gives him instructions on how he should equip himself too!!
However, before we dive into these instructions, it’s interesting to note that Joshua’s leadership was unique to begin with. Joshua had learned from Moses as an aide, and Moses had trusted him with various tasks throughout the years. When Moses learned that he would not be entering the Promised Land, he prayed for the Lord to make known a leader who could take his place. Joshua was the answer. Yet, years later, perhaps the most interesting part of how Joshua stepped into leadership is that he did not push for it, nor did he shy away from it. After the passing of Moses, Joshua waited quietly until the Lord told him that it was time to lead Israel into the Promised Land.
How often do you wait on the Lord to speak first?
I think for most of us, we sometimes forget to invite God into all aspects of our lives. From our decisions to our jobs to the songs we choose to lead, how often do we really wait until we hear the voice of the Lord?
Joshua waited, and his obedience is such a testament as to why he was chosen by God to lead.
In verse 7-9, the Lord begins to give Joshua a clearer picture as to what he is asking from him during this time. “Be strong and very courageous. Be careful to obey all the law my servant Moses gave you; do not turn from it to the right or to the left, that you may be successful wherever you go. Keep this Book of the Law always on your lips; 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. Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.” (Joshua 1:7-9 – NIV).
Within these three, simple verses, the Lord teaches Joshua so much about successful leadership. We, too, can learn so much from what the Lord says to him and apply it into our own leadership today!
The first and perhaps most quoted direction of the Lord is “being strong and very courageous”. Strength and courage are the marks of all of our favorite heroes in movies and literature and day to day life. We often think of them as completely out of reach, but with God, we have the ability to pull from His strength and courage. The road ahead would not be easy, but the Lord knew that with strength and courage, Joshua could endure. It must have been so encouraging to Joshua to hear those words from the Lord.
But our Father always gives us far beyond anything we could ask for, so with that reminder, God gives Joshua the key to being strong & courageous.
The key lies in being sure to “obey all the law”. The Lord knew what was best for Joshua and the Israelites back then, and he says the same for us today! We are called to obey His law and recognize that He knows better than us. When we surrender to who He is as our Father, that is when we can find strength & courage to continue, regardless of the road ahead.
The last instruction that God gives Joshua is to “Keep this Book of the Law always on your lips; meditate on it day and night.” We may not directly read the “book of the law today”, but we can be consistently studying the word of God within the pages of our Bibles. When we are equipped with God’s word, it’s easy to fend off the lies of the enemy and recognize what God would want us to do!!
Let God’s words to Joshua be a renewing sense of encouragement as to how you can lead effectively this week.
- Wait on the voice of the Lord
- Be strong & courageous
- Obey Him & His law
- Study His word & meditate on it throughout your day!!
- Read through Joshua Chapter 1 & listen to our Essential Weekly playlist below for more encouragement