Month: January 2022

Joshua’ Life & Exploits (Part 9)


Leaders Don’t Allow Compromise to Dilute the Cause (Joshua 7:1-8:29) – Ai, a little City with a short Name, caused huge problems for the Israelites. Spies sent out to check out the village of Ai considered it an easy target; its defeat would not even require the Whole Army, they said. How wrong they were! The contingent dispatched against Ai quickly retreated after suffering frightening losses. What could have happened? Joshua soon discovered that sin in his camp had caused the debacle (disaster). One of his soldiers, Achan, had kept for himself some of the spoils against God’s warning in Joshua 6:17-19 – Joshua 7:21 “When I saw in the plunder a beautiful robe from Babylon, two hundred shekels of silver and a wedge of gold weighing fifty shekels, I coveted them and took them. They are hidden in the ground inside my tent, with the silver underneath,” despite God’s prohibition against doing so – Joshua 6:19 “But all the silver, and gold and vessels of brass and iron, are consecrated unto the LORD: they shall come into the treasury of the LORD.” After a short time of confusion, Joshua dealt decisively with Achan of the Tribe of Judah, executing him at the Command of God (Joshua 8:16-26). Joshua would not and could not allow compromise to derail the destiny of his People. Due to his courage and convictions, the next time Israel launched an attack on Ai, the tiny City with the short Name presented little problem (Joshua 8:1-29).

Earned Respect

A true Leader does not demand respect; he commands it by earning it. Joshua had authority; but it takes more than authority to lead others. It also takes stature, the kind of character and achievement that will make People look up to him and listen to him (Joshua 1:11-18). In this day of “media magic,” a Public Relations firm can “hype” a nobody into becoming an International Celebrity; but the Public Relations firm cannot give that Celebrity the kind of stature that can come only from proven work with sacrifice and service. The Church does not need Celebrity, but it needs the Person with “the Servant’s” heart – Matthew 23:11 “But he that is greatest among you shall be your Servant” (KJV):

  • The Leader does not use People to build his authority; he uses his authority to build People. Many of the Soldiers in the Jewish Army became the heroes because Joshua was in command. The Leader is the Person who leaves behind People who have achieved far more than they would have achieved had they not followed his Leadership.
  • The Leader does not make use of People for his own ends or manipulate People for his own gain. He lays down his life for the People and thus invokes such respect that they want to follow him – 1John 3:16 “This is how we know what love of God is: Jesus Christ laid down His life for us. And we ought to lay down our life for our brothers” (NIV).

Glorifies God

There was a time in Joshua’s life when he was jealous for the honour of his master, Moses (Numbers 11:24-30); but he learned that the most important thing is to give God the Glory:

  • When the Nation of Israel crossed the Jordan River, it was God who received the Glory: “By this you shall know that the living God is among you!” (Joshua 3:10, NKJV), Joshua told his People.
  • When that miracle march was over, Joshua put up a monument so that Israel and “all the peoples of the earth may know the hand of the LORD, that it is mighty” (Joshua 4:24, NKJV). A lesser man would have put up a monument glorifying himself, as King Saul did – 1Samuel 15:12b (NKJV) “Saul went to Carmel and indeed, he set up a monument for himself.”
  • King Saul self-exaltation – built a monument for himself (1Samuel 15:12), thus, not giving God the Glory – Also, King Saul was never associated in building God’s Altar for Worship, except once, in desperation (1Samuel 14:35). Abraham is associated with building Altar unto The LORD (Genesis 12:7, 8, Genesis 13:18; Genesis 22:1-18).

As we study the Book of Joshua, we see that he repeatedly gave God the Glory for all that happened (Joshua 6:18; 8:1; 10:14; 11:6-8; 13:6; 18:3; 21:43-45). It was the LORD who conquered the Enemies and gave the Land to the Israelites. It was the Name of the LORD that was to be magnified in all the earth. It has been said that the Leader is somebody who takes twice as much blames and half as much credit, and Joshua would qualify on both counts.

Joshua’ Life & Exploits (Part 8)

Joshua Balances Faith and Planning

(Joshua 8:1-29) – (The Conquest of Ai after the sin of Achan) – When does human planning get in the way of trusting God for results? Or conversely, when does faith become presumption, expecting God to do for us that we must do for ourselves?

All Christian Leaders must learn the proper balance between Divine Faith and Human preparation and responsibility. Joshua demonstrates the beautiful balance as he prepares a second attack on the city of Ai. He began by asking the LORD whether his Army should attack, and if so, when.

1st Example – Conquest of Ai

God ordered the attack, and instructed Joshua to set an ambush, but gave no further details. Joshua planned the campaign, each step under the inspirations of the Holy Spirit – he divided his troops into two divisions and told one to stage an attack on the City.  The other group was to wait in ambush until the men of Ai came out.  As the men of Ai chased their Attackers, the ambush could close in and allow the Israelites to set the City afire. 

The plan worked perfectly.  When the men of Ai saw the smoke rising above their homes, they lost heart and quickly fell in battle to Israel. There is the synthesis of Divine Guidance and human strategies.  Joshua places his Faith in God for the results but did not hesitate to lay wise plans and execute them.

2nd Example – Conquest of Canaan

(Joshua 5-21) – (Conquest and Distribution of the Land) – Joshua had a plan and goal to follow. The Conquest of Canaan was not a haphazard affair; it was carefully planned and skilfully executed:

  • First, Joshua cut straight across the Land and isolated the North from the South.
  • Second, he conquered the Cities in the South, followed by the invasion of the North.

Joshua moved quickly to subdue the Population Centres and take control of the Whole Land. More than once, Joshua led his men on an all-night march to catch the Enemy by surprise. It takes planning and strategy to do the work of the LORD successfully. The Leader who drifts with the tide and changes direction with every new wind is not the Leader at all. A Roman Proverb says: “When the pilot doesn’t know what port he is heading for, no wind is the right wind.” If the Leader knows where he is going, he can adjust the sails when the storm starts to blow and still arrive at the right port.

Making Mistakes

The Successful Leader is not the Person who is always right, because no such Person exists on the face of the earth! The Successful Leader is the Person who make the “best” decision he can and keep on going when he makes mistakes, but he learned from mistakes and knows how to snatch victory out of defeat:

  • When he was defeated at Ai, Joshua admitted failure, sought the face of the LORD, went back, and won the battle (Joshua 7 – 8:29).
  • When he (Joshua) foolishly made a league with the Gibeonites, he admitted his mistake and put the “mistake” to work for him (Joshua 9).

The American Humourist Elbert Hubbard said: “Experience is the name everyone gives his mistakes.” Someone has said that experience is a tough teacher because it always gives exam first and teaches the lesson afterward:

  • If the Leader turns his mistakes into mirrors, he sees only himself and this will make him miserable.
  • But if by Faith he turns his mistakes into windows, he sees the LORD and gets the strength he needs to try again.

To quote Elbert Hubbard again: “There is no failure except in no longer trying.”

To be continued….. Stay Tuned…..

Joshua’ Life & Exploits (Part 7)

Joshua’s Competence

Competence rarely happens overnight. Even Joshua had to be prepared over many years to handle the enormous task given him. In developing his competence, God took Joshua through the following experiences:

  • God used Joshua over two Generations (Exodus 3- Deuteronomy 34). This develops his faithfulness.
  • God allowed Joshua to experience hardship of bondage in Egypt (Exodus 3:7-9). While in Egypt Joshua saw all the Signs and Wonders that God (Jehovah) performed (Exodus 7-12), the victory of Jehovah over the gods of Egypt, the Crossing of the Red Sea, on dry ground of the Israelites and the destruction of the Egyptian army (Exodus chapters 14 &15). This develops his trust in God’s Power to deliver and to fulfil His Promises.
  • God allowed Joshua to lead the battle against the Amalekites in the battle at Rhephidim (Exodus 17:8-16). This develops his courage in preparation of the battles in the military campaigns in the Promised Land.
  • God allowed Joshua to accompany Moses up Mount Sinai to catch “the Vision of God” (Exodus 24:9-18). Joshua had to stay in the Mount alone, for a prolonged period. This develops his ability to handle loneliness. He experienced no glory, no cloud, no voice, and no presence, yet he remained faithful to the station that he has been assigned.  
  • God allowed Joshua to develop a personal heart- devotion to Him – Joshua did not depart from the Tabernacle of the Congregation (Exodus 33:11). This develops his spiritual passion for God.
  • God allowed Joshua to be corrected by Moses in not promoting Moses (Numbers 11:27-30), when he (Joshua) requested Moses to forbade Eldad and Medad to exercise the Prophetic, this develops Joshua’s character – Moses refused to let Joshua exalted him – had Joshua not been checked here, his “selfless jealousy” for Moses’ honour could eventually made him a narrow, petty man-unfit for Leadership.
  • God called Joshua to spy out the Promised Land, witnessing and experiencing the unbelief, disobedience, and rebellion of the Children of Israel (Numbers chapters 13 & 14). Moses changed his name from Hoshea (Salvation – Numbers 13:8) to Joshua (Jehovah is Salvation – Numbers 13:16). With this Name’s change comes a transformation in identity and character. Joshua became a man ready to delegate, organise, and lead the Nation of Israel.
  • God replaced Moses, at his (Moses’) death (Joshua 1:1-2), with Joshua and allowed him to lead the Children of Israel into the Promised Land to take hold of their Inheritance (Joshua 1:1-9). This involved military campaigns. Joshua has matured and is fulfilling his Calling (Romans 11:29).

Joshua’s Confidence & Decisiveness

Joshua Distributes the Land (Joshua 13:1-19:51) – The time came when Joshua finally felt ready to divide the Land God had promised to Abraham hundreds of years earlier (Genesis 12:7; Genesis 15:18-21). His leadership faced a crucial test when he saw that he needed to exhort the hesitant Jews to occupy their Land. “How long will you neglect to go and process the land which the Lord God of your fathers has given you?” (Joshua 18:3) he exhorted the faltering Tribes. Joshua’s courage left an unmistakable mark on the hearts of his Countrymen and reminded them that they were to fulfil the expectations of God.  Notice how Joshua led the people in his later years when decisiveness became especially crucial:

  • Evaluation (Joshua13:1-14:5) – Joshua developed a clear picture of the Promised Land remaining to be conquered.
  • Imitation (Joshua 14:6-15) – Joshua blessed Caleb and pointed to him as a model of attitude and determination in following the LORD and claiming the Inheritance.
  • Communication (Joshua 15:1-17:18) – Joshua clearly articulated the Boundaries of each Tribe’s Land and what they needed to do.
  • Exhortation (Joshua 18:1-4) – Joshua challenged the Tribes of Israel to take the Land God had promised them.
  • Investigation (Joshua 18:4-10) – Joshua appointed Teams to survey the Scope of the remaining Land and report back to him.
  • Determination (Joshua 18:11-19:51) – Once he received the Commissioned Report, Joshua determined who should get what Land.
  • Leader’s Heart (Joshua 19:49-51) – Joshua took his share of the allotted Land last after distributing the Inheritance to the other Tribes.

To be continued….. Stay Tuned…..

Joshua’ Life & Exploits (Part 6)

Leaders – Born or Made?

Is a Leader born or made? Probably both – God gives the Leader the genetic structure he needs and then develops his gifts and abilities in the “school of life.” Management Seminars promise to teach “Leadership;” but there must be “ingredients” of Leadership within the Person in order that the Leadership could be developed. Principles of Leadership may be taught, but what it means to be the Leader, can only be learned on the field of action. It must be “caught.” Seminars do not make the Person the Leader. It creates awareness. What are the characteristics of Joshua’s Leadership Style?

Joshua Walks with God

Like Moses, his Mentor, Joshua was a man of God. Joshua was called “the Servant of the Lord” (Joshua 24:29). God communicated His will to Joshua, and he obeyed:

  • Joshua meditates daily on the “Law of the LORD” (Joshua 1:8).
  • Joshua does what it said – Joshua 11:15 “As the LORD commanded Moses, His Servant, so did Moses commanded Joshua, and so did Joshua; he left nothing undone of all that the LORD commanded Moses.”
  • Joshua is a man of Prayer – Joshua 7:6-9 

Joshua is a Worshipper

Exodus 33:7-11 “And Moses took the tabernacle and pitched it outside the camp, afar off from the camp, and called it the tabernacle of the congregation. And it came to pass that every man who sought the LORD went out unto the tabernacle of the congregation, which is outside the camp. And it came to pass, when Moses went out unto the tabernacle that all the people rose up and stood every man at his tent door, and looked after Moses, until he was gone into the tabernacle. And it came to pass, as Moses entered into the tabernacle, that cloudy pillar descended and stood at the door of the tabernacle, and the LORD talked with Moses. And all the people saw the cloudy pillar stand at the tabernacle door: and all the people rose up and worshipped, every man in his tent door. And the LORD spoke unto Moses face to face, as a man speaketh unto his friend. And he turned again into the camp, but his Servant Joshua, the son of Nun, a young man departed not out of the tabernacle.” During the Wilderness Journey, Moses set up the Tabernacle of the Congregation outside the Camp where he (Moses) could meet with God (Exodus 33:7-11). It was Joshua’s responsibility to stay at the Tabernacle and guard it. Not only was Joshua a Warrior, but he was also the Worshipper and knows how-to live-in God’s Presence.

Joshua is Courageous

At the beginning of his ministry Joshua was told four times to “be courageous” (Joshua 1:6-7, 9, 18). It takes courage to be the Successful Leader, courage to stand for what he believes, and courage to do what he knows God wants him to do. Every Leader can learn from Martin Luther when he said: “Here I stand, I can do no other.”

General Omar Bradley defined bravery as “the capacity to perform properly even when scared half to death.” We have not been told whether Joshua was ever afraid as he faced the Enemies, but we do know that he did his job and won battle after battle. Most of us are not called to lead Armies, but any kind of leadership involves risks and demands moral courage. “He who love his life will lose it, and he who hates his life in this world will keep it for eternal life” (John 12:25, NIV). If the person is timid about life and ministry, he will never accomplish much for God. It was because the “unfaithful” Servant was afraid that he hid his Master’s wealth and did not take the risk of investing it (Matthew 25:24-30). Joshua’s courage involved much more than fighting the Enemies, as great as they were. He also had the courage to deal with sin in the Camp of Israel (Joshua 7) and to challenge the Tribes to “get with it” and claim their Inheritance (Joshua 17:14-18). Sometimes it takes more courage to face our own people at home or in the Congregation than it takes to face the Enemies in the spiritual realm.