For a Christian, no decision is wise if made independently from God. Read Joshua 9:1-15
When the people of living in the land around the city of Jericho saw how God went before His chosen people and destroyed the city walls of Jericho, great fear nearly overwhelmed them. Many kings combined their armies and prepared for battle but the Gibeonites made a different plan. They sent emissaries to Joshua claiming to be from a far off land. They disguised themselves as weary travelers even down to the moldy bread in their saddlebags. They asked for a peace treaty claiming that they lived at such a great distance they would be of no danger to the Jewish people. In this instance, Joshua failed to consult God and made a bad decision. Once a decision was made, he was obligated to keep his word and his decision had long lasting consequences.
We live in a world where comic books, movies and cartoons about super heroes have glorified courage and risk taking. Unfortunately, the impression left is that only a few “specially qualified” individuals have what it takes to change the world. Leadership, whether in a family structure, the corporate or ministry world, the military, or in politics, requires courage and risk-taking. Leaders don’t have to be super heroes to demonstrate the courage to take risks if they understand who empowers leadership. Read Ezra 3:1-13.
In 538 BC, the Persian King Cyrus decreed that the exiled Jews could return to their homeland and rebuild the temple. Under the leadership of Jeshua, a priest, and Zerubbabel, from the lineage of David, approximately 50,000 of the one million exiled Jews responded to Cyrus’ offer. Those who did risked all they had to leave a relatively comfortable life in Babylon to endure a difficult journey and rebuild Jerusalem and the temple in a very hostile environment.
Leadership, by its very nature, inspires people to move in directions they would not otherwise have been willing to go. From time to time, good leaders inspire their team to be part of excursions into unexplored territory. This kind of risk taking will draw on a leader’s courage and can challenge their team to accomplish far beyond what they believed was possible.
The same source of courage that empowered Jeshua, Zerubbabel and the team they led from Babylon to Jerusalem in 538 BC is available today for any leader who is willing to look to the source of all power. When faced with a risky decision, the godly leader will look to God in prayer and to God’s revealed Word, the Bible, for the perspective and courage to make the right choice.
What situations are you facing that require courageous leadership and involve taking a risk? It serves a Christian leader well to remember God’s words found in Joshua 1:9, “Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be terrified; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.”
Joshua left no doubt about his commitment to the Lord. Joshua told the people that even if they chose not to serve the Lord, they would still not be exempt from service. If we do not serve the Creator, we will unavoidably serve some part of the creation. But the gods of success, position and possessions are cruel taskmasters and never deliver the satisfaction they promise. Read Joshua 24:14-27.
Joshua consistently told the Israelites that God alone was worthy of their total commitment. The same is true today; leaders who direct their highest commitment to anything else commit idolatry. We were designed to serve God and to find our deepest satisfaction in Him, but we will be half-hearted at best if we try to play by two sets of rules and serve two masters.
Joshua continued to lead the people way into his old age. One of his great leadership skills was exhortation. Read Joshua 23:1-24:33.
Joshua’s farewell to the leaders was filled with passion exhorting the leaders to “Be very strong; be careful to obey all that is written in the Book of the Law of Moses, without turning aside to the right or to the left. Do not associate with these nations that remain among you; do not invoke the names of their gods or swear by them. You must not serve them or bow down to them. But you are to hold fast to the Lord your God as you have until now.”
In these last few lessons on Joshua’s leadership it seems good to look at some leadership characteristics displayed by Joshua. Two areas where Joshua left an unmistakable mark on his countrymen were his courage and decisiveness. Read Joshua Chapters 13-19.
In Joshua chapter 1 when God commissioned Joshua he told him to be strong and courageous. Joshua’s courage and faith was immediately put to the test when three days after his commissioning he led the people into the Promised Land through the Jordan River at flood stage. For Joshua courage came out of faith. Because Joshua’s faith in God did not waiver he took action in the face of insurmountable odds.