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).
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).
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.