As we enter the study of Joshua as a leader please read the book of Joshua. A more detailed look at several passages will happen during the daily studies but we’ll start the study of Joshua’s leadership with a summary then move to a more detailed look at specific leadership principles over the next few days.
Joshua had been mentored by Moses but he was clearly a different kind of leader than Moses. Moses had a diplomatic and reform leadership style and Joshua was a military leader. We see the Lord lead Israel in a new and appropriate way through this new leader. The people were entering a season in which they needed to act as a military unit to conquer the land, so God raised up a different kind of leader and used Joshua’s personality and strengths to provide direction in a military style.
During Moses’ day, God took on the role of a father, waiting for a new generation to mature so He could lead them into the Promised Land. By the time Joshua takes over, God speaks in a straightforward manner to Israel’s commanding officer. He challenges Joshua not to swerve to the right or the left, but to do all that He commands. As a military leader, Joshua must compromise nothing, but fulfill everything.
We can learn a number of valuable leadership lessons from Joshua. Some of them are:
- Joshua waited for his time to lead. He did not usurp Moses authority or try to push Moses out even when Moses was old and could no longer physically do what Joshua could do. Even though Joshua himself was aging, he was obedient to God and waited for God’s timing. (We see a similar thing in David after he was anointed King, he waited on God’s timing rather than harming God’s anointed and the opposite when Sara was desperate to have the promised son in her time.) Effective leaders seek God’s timing rather than their own agenda.
- Joshua did not live in the shadow of Moses nor did he try to be Moses. From the day he assumed command Joshua was his own man with his own style. When God told Joshua that His servant Moses was dead and told Joshua to be strong and courageous and to lead the people, Joshua’s first action was to tell the officers to “Go through the camp and tell the people, ‘Get your supplies ready. Three days from now you will cross the Jordan here to go in and take possession of the land the Lord your God is giving you for your own.'” Effective leaders become their own person with their own God-given style and do not live on the coat tails of the leader they replaced.
- Joshua knew he was commissioned by God and with that knowledge he did whatever it took to get the job done. His no-nonsense leadership style drove him to pay whatever price seemed necessary. He courageously took risks. He often questioned the people, asking things like, “How long will you neglect to go and possess the land which the Lord God of your fathers has given you.” Effective leaders do whatever it takes to complete the assignment God has given them.
Write a single sentence concerning God’s timing in your leadership life. Are you where you should be? Are you your own person or are you imitating another leader’s style? Have your past actions shown you are willing to pay the price to complete assignments? If you answered no to any of the questions above ask God to show you why and ask God to give you direction for the future.