WHO ME? A LEADER?
Week of September 3, 2006
Bible Passage:† Joshua 1:1-15.
Biblical Truth: When God gives a person an opportunity to lead, He also encourages and empowers the person to lead.
Background: Joshua was born in the
Step Up: Joshua 1:1-5.
 Now it came about after the death of Moses the servant of the Lord, that the Lord spoke to Joshua the son of Nun, Mosesí servant, saying,  ďMoses 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.  Every place on which the sole of your foot treads, I have given it to you, just as I spoke to Moses.  From the wilderness and this Lebanon, even as far as the great river, the river Euphrates, all the land of the Hittites, and as far as the Great Sea toward the setting of the sun will be your territory.  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.Ē† †[NASU]
The book opens with a contrast between Moses as the servant
of Yahweh and Joshua as the servant of Moses. Central to the thought of the
book of Joshua is the land given by God, inherited by
These verses provide a model of Israelite leadership with
five major components. The first is the context of leadership. All leadership
 The removal of Moses from their head was a heavy
[2-4] The appointed time had
now arrived for God to make good the promises which He had made to Abraham and
his children long centuries before. All that had been accomplished through
Moses was only preliminary. Here again the Lord emphasized the fact that Canaan
was a sovereign and free gift which He made to
 Here God includes the promise of His presence with Joshua which will enable him to carry out Godís command for him to lead His people into the promised land. Thus God prepared Joshua for the work that He had called him to do. In this verse God gave Joshua a threefold assurance. (1) No man will be able to stand before you all the days of your life. (2) Just as I have been with Moses, I will be with you. (3) †I will not fail you or forsake you.
Stand Firm: Joshua 1:6-9.
 ďBe strong and courageous, for you shall give this people possession of the land which I swore to their fathers to give them. 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.  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.  Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous! Do not tremble or be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.Ē †[NASU]
[6-7] The Divine assurance received by Joshua was therefore intended as a spur unto energy, as an incentive to the performance of duty. Godís promises are not meant to set aside His commands, but rather are given to encourage us to do with all our hearts and might whatever He has commanded. Assurance of Divine assistance must never be regarded as nullifying our accountability or as rendering needless the putting forth of our utmost endeavors, but instead, are to be taken as so many guarantees that if we be always abounding in the work of the Lord then we may know that your toil is not in vain in the Lord [1 Cor. 15:58]. If our response to Godís promises be that of sloth and carelessness, that is proof we have received them carnally and not spiritually. The use or misuse we make of the Divine promises affords a good index of the state of our hearts. In view of these Divine assurances God told Joshua to be strong and very courageous; be careful to do according to all the law which Moses My servant commanded you. There is an inseparable connection between receiving the Divine assurances and the need to be obedient to Godís commands. Joshua was not to be regulated by his own inclinations nor lean on his own understanding. He was not to be governed by seeking to please those under him. Instead all of his actions were to be in obedience to Godís law. If we do not desire and earnestly endeavor to keep all of Godís commandments we are totally lacking in the spirit of genuine obedience. He who picks and chooses between them is a self-pleaser and not a God-pleaser. Finally, let us notice that the path of obedience is the path of success: do not turn from it to the right or to the left, so that you may have success wherever you go.†
 Joshua was to be guided and governed wholly by the written Word, which was something unprecedented. No man before Joshua had received orders from God to regulate his conduct by the words of a Book. This Book of the law comprised the entire Pentateuch. If Joshua was to complete the work which Moses began, then he must maintain the Law which Moses had established. Meditation upon the Word of God is one of the most important of all the means of grace and growth in spirituality. There can be no true progress in vital and practical godliness without it. We cannot expect the God of Truth to be with us if we neglect the Truth of God. Nor is reading it and hearing it preached sufficient. They produce but a transient effect upon us, but meditating on some portion of the Word, going over it again and again in our minds, deepens the impression, fastens the truth on our memory, and sets our hearts and hands to work. Meditation was not enjoined upon Joshua in a general way, but with a specific design: so that. His mind was to be exercised upon Godís Word with a specific purpose and practical end: in order to be regulated by its precepts, through a serious repetition of them upon his heart. Meditation was not to be an occasional luxury, but the regular discharge of a constant duty: day and night. God requires an intelligent, voluntary, and joyous obedience, and if we are really desirous of pleasing and glorifying Him we shall not only familiarize ourselves with His Word, but habitually ponder how its holy precepts may best regulate all the details of our daily lives. Walking in the path of Godís commandments alone ensures success in the spiritual warfare.
 For the third time Joshua was bidden to be courageous. In verse 6 the call for courage was in view of the task before him. In verse 7, it was a call for personal and moral courage to be obedient to Godís law. Here in verse 9, the reason for Joshua being courageous is given: for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go. Godís presence would enable Joshua to be strong and courageous in the work that God had called him to complete.
Give Clear Direction: Joshua 1:10-11.
 Then Joshua commanded the officers of the people, saying,  ďPass 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.Ē †[NASU]
Once a duty is discovered, it should be discharged. After receiving the command of God, Joshua acted by commanding the officers of the people to prepare to enter into the promise land. The exercise of Divinely-given authority and the requirement of implicit obedience was essential if success was to be theirs. Joshua was fully assured that if he and those under him rendered obedience to the Divine Will they could count upon Godís help.
Establish Accountability: Joshua 1:12-15.
 To the Reubenites and to the Gadites and to the half-tribe of Manasseh, Joshua said,
 ďRemember 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.  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,  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
Repetition of key terms continues to demonstrate the
emphasis of the text. Themes repeated in verses 1-9 reappear: Moses
[13,14,15,17], give [13,14,15], land [12,14,15]. Each section then has its own
emphasis. Verse 13 introduces the new theme of rest. Verse 14 uses repeated
references to military preparations. Verse 15 speaks of possessing the land. Verses 16-17a underline the obedience of the people, while 18a
speaks of the consequences of disobedience. The word remember is a call to obedience.
Rest is the new word of promise in
this section. The text shifts abruptly from preparations to march to an
admonition to fulfill a former pledge to fight. Despite geographical
Questions for Discussion:
1.††† What are the five major components of Israelite leadership? Note how Joshua fulfilled each of the five components.
2.††† What do these verses teach about the relationship between Divine Promises and human responsibility?
3.††† What role did the
Word of God play in the success of Joshua as
Joshua, Trent Butler, Nelson Publishers.
Gleanings in Joshua, Arthur Pink, Moody Press.